Best Inspiring Movies About Middle-Age/Midlife Crisis/50 and Now What?
November 17, 2017 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Discovering that I'm not exactly dealing with turning 50 in April in the most harmonious fashion. Looking for movies featuring characters facing midlife with lingering doubts/questions, but are inspired to move ahead anyway. Nothing major here - just a hideous combination of political despair, existential angst, and I'm in need of a cinematic pat on the back as 2018 approaches.

Big fan of ensemble cast films, indies, with great dialogue and a minimum of Hollywood tinsel.
posted by Lipstick Thespian to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Life as a House does this, but the character also has a terminal disease (I'm not giving much away, he finds out pretty early in the movie). On the one hand, this might be a little heavier than you wanted; on the other hand, it might give you an excellent "and I thought I had problems!" moment.
posted by ubiquity at 11:11 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sounds like "While We're Young" might fit the bill.
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 11:32 AM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

The Big Chill was sort of made for this, though it's more 30's-issues than 50's-issues.
posted by Mchelly at 11:42 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fried Green Tomatoes
posted by tuesdayschild at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's Complicated made me laugh really hard. It might not be exactly what you're looking at but it's about facing up to ageing and has a fantastic ensemble cast. And First Wives Club is a great ensemble cast looking at the different way ageing is seen for men and women.
posted by lettezilla at 12:42 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am also turning 50 around then, and "About Schmidt" tickles my midlife bone, though it's not completely on point.

I think this is probably an underserved genre without involving divorce, drugs, job troubles, coming out, or whatever age-irrelevant change provides the vehicle for protagonists being midlife.
posted by rhizome at 12:43 PM on November 17, 2017

I'm 48 and I wish there were more films in this genre. Maybe youngsters don't want to see our sagging bodies on screen lol. The closest thing I can think to what you are looking for that I genuinely loved was Enough Said with James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. About midlife, not so much about neurotic midlife crises, more about dealing with what life has given you.
posted by AuroraSky at 12:53 PM on November 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Boyhood was principally concerned with, well, boyhood, but I found it equally moving following Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as they navigated their respective midlives.
posted by mannequito at 1:03 PM on November 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Middle Aged Crazy is a great one although the protagonist is freaking out at turning 40. Stars Bruce Dern.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 1:14 PM on November 17, 2017

This isn't about midlife, but it's a movie that definitely dealt with some of the same issues. After Life is a Japanese movie about how when people die they get a week to choose the memory of their life that they keep forever. I haven't watched it recently, but in my 30s I certainly found it inspiring, and something about your post tells me you might like it.
posted by ldthomps at 1:42 PM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don't know if it's "best" but Brad's Status came out a couple of months ago.

Shirley Valentine, Under the Tuscan Sun, City Slickers, How Stella Got Her Groove Back -- same caveat.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:40 PM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I now know two things:

1. I'm a Mefite, and
2. I've seen 99 percent of these rec's.

Please keep 'em coming. Loving this thread, and YES, there needs more representation of midlife confusion that doesn't center around Big Sexuality Switcheroo, Job Loss, Drugs Are Destroying My Fading Youth, etc.

I need a movie that doesn't give big drama to major life changes, but instead is about the disconnect I'm feeling about leaving my youth and not feeling like the world makes any more sense now than it did 30 years ago. I'm not Will Ferrell in Old School, but more like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, only everyone is still speaking English and it's 21st century NYC.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:46 PM on November 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

maybe a longshot, but the protagonist in 'stranger than fiction' discovers he may die A Lot sooner than he expected. there is an accounting, and he starts living his life authentically. not a specifically 'midlife' film.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:59 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids are All Right does this, and on a deeper note, so does her earlier film High Art..
Come to think of it, so does her mini-series Olive Kitteridge. Huh!
posted by flourpot at 5:14 PM on November 17, 2017

I really liked the German movie Schultze Gets the Blues. The title character retires and ends up basically abandoning polka for zydeco and Cajun music and then traveling in the US on a sort of musical quest.

Great idea for a thread!
posted by FencingGal at 5:31 PM on November 17, 2017

Oh! You have to watch (or re-watch) the 1950 film All About Eve. Bette Davis's mood is exactly right, 67 years later...
posted by flourpot at 5:43 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Emphatic seconding of Fried Green Tomatoes-SERIOUSLY.

It's not a mid-life crisis movie per se, but I really enjoyed the Mike Leigh movie Happy Go Lucky as a very different movie experience that just gave me a very low key but good feeling about life.
posted by Kemma80 at 6:40 PM on November 17, 2017

Rohmer’s Autumn Tale. (Also, not a movie, but the philosophy podcast Hi-Phi Nation had an interesting episode on mid-life perspectives.)
posted by progosk at 12:07 AM on November 18, 2017

Maybe also Educating Rita
posted by Mchelly at 8:14 PM on November 18, 2017

The character is younger, but: Marty
posted by rhizome at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2017

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