In which we explore the filmic concerns of a given theme, and find new and novel ways of putting together yet another Internet-based list of movies. The wrinkle here, is our fifth pick will actually serve to prove as the counter argument, the best representation of the direct opposite of our theme.
1. Amour (2012)
Director: Michael Haneke
Essential Characters: Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), Anne (Emmanuelle Riva)
Gist: An elderly husband lovingly cares for his wife after a stroke leaves her increasingly deranged and enfeebled, and leaves him largely alone.
Generational Conflict: The couple have a daughter, but — in a terribly French manner — largely ignore her in order to better concentrate upon themselves. As a result, Georges refuses to lean on her for support when his wife turns ill.
Important Life Lesson: True love can extend throughout any circumstance, no matter how grievous. Also, enjoy your time with your partner as much as you can while you have it, as you never know when it might be stripped away from you.
2. Harold and Maude (1971)
Director: Hal Ashby
Essential Characters: Harold (Bud Cort), Maude (Ruth Gordon)
Gist: A comically suicidal young man’s spirit is renewed when he meets an elderly women brimming with life and engagement. The two embark upon an unlikely whirlwind romance, even as she is planning the next phase of her existence.
Generational Conflict: None to speak of between the couple, though outsiders, including Harold’s appalled mother, very much want him to seek out someone more “appropriate.”
Important Life Lesson: Let’s allow Cat Stevens, who performs most of the soundtrack, to explain: “Well, if you want to sing out, sing out/And if you want to be free, be free/’Cause there’s a million things to be/You know that there are.”
3. The Debt (2010)
Director: John Madden
Essential Characters: Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren), Stephan Gold (Tom Wilkinson), David Peretz (Ciarán Hinds), Doktor Bernhardt (Jesper Christensen)
Gist: Back in the ’60s, an elite, young trio of Mossad agents were tasked with tracking down and capturing a Nazi war criminal in East Berlin, whom they inadvertently let escape. Some 30 years later, Rachel Singer, now of a grandmotherly age, attempts to complete the botched mission.
Generational Conflict: The film is split into two parts, the time in the ’60s when the agents are young and beautiful, and then again in 1997, after they’ve all aged and grown wildly successful, despite their secret shame. Fortunately, the evil Nazi — already elderly in the ’60s and absolutely ancient in ‘97 — has also aged considerably.
Important Life Lesson: As long as you’re a Nazi criminal, you can still somehow defend yourself against a trained Mossad agent — even if you are in your 90s. Also, mistakes from the past will always come back to haunt us unless we do what we can to make them right.
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4. Gloria (2013)
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Essential Characters: Gloria (Paulina García), Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández)
Gist: An older, middle-aged woman, divorced and alone, remains open to new experiences and potential heartbreaks, against all odds.
Generational Conflict: Gloria still enjoys clubs and dancing and challenging herself with new ideas and activities; her older boyfriend is weighed down by his familial responsibilities and his own impending mortality.
Important Life Lesson: In order to age gracefully, never give in to complacency; be comfortable in your skin and circumstance and you will never despair.
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And the antithesis:
5. Spring Breakers (2012)
Director: Harmony Korine
Essential Characters: Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine), Alien (James Franco)
Gist: Four beautiful co-eds go on a mini crime spree in order to get enough dough to travel to Florida for a raucous vacation. But when they arrive, they meet a drug-dealing thug who appeals to their worst instincts
Generational Conflict: I don’t believe there’s anybody of note in the film over 30, unless you count the police and maybe a judge. Mr. Korine, himself now a stately 41-year-old, still has the thrill-blood of youth pounding in his veins.
Important Life Lesson: “Spring break! Spring break forever, bitches.”
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