Arts and Aging: The Silvering Screen

The-Intern-new-posterIt appears that Hollywood is continuing to devote more screen time to portraying older adults and their unique life experiences.

A popular new film starring Robert De Niro (age 72) entitled The Intern explores a widower’s entry back into the business world as an intern at an online fashion site run by a young entrepreneur. The movie explores the emerging trend of older adults reentering the workplace after retirement.

Another recent movie entitled Ricki and the Flash stars Meryl Streep (age 66) as an aging musician who gave up family life to follow her dream of rock and roll stardom. As an article in Senior Planet suggests, the plot “might have put its finger on a predicament that’s fairly unique to aging Boomers; we were the first generation to claim self-fulfillment as our birthright, and many of us chose to put duty and responsibility aside to follow our dreams”.

Coming out later this month, Bill Murray’s (age 65) character joins the world of aging rock and roll personalities in the movie Rock the Kasbah. Loosely based on a true story, Murray’s character is thrown into current politics when he decides to represent an emerging female singer in Afghanistan.

Continuing on the aging rocker theme, Al Pacino (age 75) stars in the movie Danny Collins. The film is based on a true story about “an aging rock star that decides to change his life when he discovers a 40-year-old letter written to him by John Lennon”. This movie is explores the ups and downs of creating your own second act in later life.

Speaking of second acts, many older adults in the United States are reaping the benefits of actively engaging in the arts by joining local theatre groups. According to an article in the Star Tribune, “theater groups for seniors have popped up all over the country over the past two decades. In 1997, there were 79; now there are more than 800”.

It appears that both professional and aspiring actors will increasingly continue to find ways to engage in the performing arts as the population ages. See you at the theatre!


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