Guidelines for Viewing the Movie

  1. Select any film listed on one of the following web sites: Aging and the Cinema by the American Psychological Association, Films with Aging Themes from, and Intergenerational Relationships in Feature Films: 1970-1995.  Some specific films you might consider are (a) On Golden Pond, (b) Driving Miss Daisy, (c) Fried Green Tomatoes, (d) Grumpy Old Men, (e) Grumpier Old Men, (f) Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, (g) Evening Star, (h) Marvin's Room, (i) Cocoon, (j) Tuesdays with Maury, (k) Dad, (l) Out to Sea, (m) Guarding Tess, (n) Harold and Maud, (o) About Schmidt, (p) The Odd Couple II, (q) Space Cowboys (r) I'm Not Rappaport, (s) The Sunshine Boys, (t) Hanging Up, (u) Folks, (v) Second Hand Lions, (w) Calendar Girls, (x) The Notebook, and (y) The Joy Luck Club. You may choose a film not on these lists if a central character is elderly or if aging and old age are central themes. Any film not listed must be approved by the instructor. I encourage you to select a film you have not viewed previously.
  2. Rent and view the film. I recommend viewing the film alone or with others who will allow you to concentrate on the movie. You may also consider watching the movie more than once. I advise watching it twice, once without taking notes and once while taking notes.
  3. While viewing the movie, note the images, stereotypes, attitudes, and perceptions of the elderly portrayed by the film. Are the elderly presented as sick, lonely, poor, mentally incompetent, senile, childlike, slow, incapable, etc.? Or are they presented as competent, capable, secure, human beings? Are they seen as radically different from younger people or much the same? Is old age seen as humorous or sad? A good time or bad? Is it something to be savored or avoided? In general, make note of both the positive and negative images of aging and the elderly the film portrays. Pay special attention to the use of stereotypes or direct efforts to combat stereotypes. Don't forget that compassionate stereotypes are still stereotypes.
  4. After viewing the film, write a brief summary of the film, including a discussion of the main characters, the setting and plot, the climax and resolution. Follow this with a discussion of the view of aging the film presents. Indicate whether the film generally presents old age and aging in a positive or negative light, then provide some specific examples of the films portrayal of aging an old age. You should also indicate whether this portrayal is deliberate and intentional or incidental and secondary to the main themes of the film. Finally, conclude with your personal opinion and evaluation of the film. Did you like it? Was it entertaining? Would you recommend it to others? The write up should be 2-3 pages long.