Vote: The “Aging With Attitude” Film Awards

Just in time for the 87th Academy Awards, we’re relaunching our own “Aging With Attitude” awards to focus attention on films that offer a view of growing older too seldom seen on the big screen.

We’ve nominated this year’s top “aging with attitude” films – dramas and documentaries whose themes, characters, subjects or stars best defy senior stereotypes. (We define a “2014 film” as one that had its first non-festival screening last year.)

Now it’s your turn.

Take a look at our nominations, watch the films – we’ve provided live-stream links where available-  and in the poll below, pick the film that most strongly represents aging with strength, style, resilience, resolve, humor, and a readiness to learn and try new things.

Make sure to scroll all the way down and hit the Vote button after you’ve made your selection in the poll. Voting closes at noon ET on Monday, February 23; we’ll announce the winners on Facebook.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

U.S. Directed by Chiemi Karasawa. With Elaine Stritch, Rob Bowman, George C. Wolfe, Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini, John Turturro. 82 min.

Special Award Aging With Attitude Lifetime Achievement Award

Why We Nominated It

Shortly after this moving documentary was released last spring, Broadway diva Elaine Stritch passed away at age 89. Director Chiemi Karasawa’s film caught up with the Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actress in all her long-legged, arsenic-tongued glory as she was preparing what would be her final one-woman show at age 87. Stritch, a recovered alcoholic who later in life contented herself with one drink a day, seems to have no qualms about privacy. Karasawa’s camera crew captures her at home, backstage as well as in the hospital, as diabetes began to rob Stritch of her memory, but not her moxie or sanity. One couldn’t ask for a better epitaph to a performer who worked hard, played hard, spoke her mind and was determined not to leave showbiz without a fight. —K. Leander Williams

Where to watch it Streaming on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Gloria

Chile. Directed by Sebastian Lelio. With Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez. 110 min, subtitles.

Special award  The “We Just Can’t Wait Till She’s Officially A Senior” Award

Why we nominated it

We’re never told the age of Gloria, the aging divorcée at the center of this fantastic film from South America; it has been suggested that she’s about 59. No matter – we know she’ll keep aging with attitude. Gloria is a measured, capable soon-to-be grandma who loves to dance, dates senior dudes and isn’t the least bit fazed, catty or bitter when she meets her former spouse’s new (and younger) wife for the first time. Gloria is comfortable being the age she is – she’s also not above giving in to impulses that may lead to trouble. We absolutely loved it when she plays finder’s keepers with the weed her crazy upstairs neighbor mistakenly leaves on her doorstep; and she’s pitch perfect when she tells the insecure ex-naval officer she’s dating to “grow a pair” – and, later on, when she puts his paintball guns to good use. —K. Leander Williams

Where to watch it Streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

My Old Lady

U.S. Written and directed by Israel Horovitz. With Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas. 107 minutes.

Special award The “Don’t You Wish You’d Said That” Award

Why we nominated it

The grande dame of British theater and film Maggie Smith is wickedly wry and tart-tongued as a feisty 92-year-old Englishwoman in this film by 75-year-old playwright Israel Horowitz, making his debut as a big-screen director. Smith’s character refuses to vacate a Paris apartment that has been inherited by an alcoholic failed New York novelist played brilliantly by Kevin Kline. He’s counting on selling this multimillion dollar piece of real estate to turn his life around, not knowing about France’s “viager” law, which allows an owner to sell a property for a reduced rate in exchange for the right to stay in their home for the rest of their life. Smith’s character, despite her advanced age, has no intention of dying anytime soon. Watching Smith best Kline in verbal sparring matches is a delight. —Erica Manfred

Where to watch it Streaming on Amazon and iTunes.

The Age of Love

U.S. Directed by Steven Loring. With everyday residents of Rochester, NY ages 70-90. 79 min.

Special award Bravest Senior Daters Award

Why we nominated it

Filmmaker Steven Loring wondered what changes about love as we age? To find out, he followed a group of seniors, ages 70 to 90, through a speed-dating event and the resulting dates. The speed daters, several of them widows and widowers, are new to this game, and their honesty is remarkable – they talk about their nervousness, feelings of vulnerability and incredulity over the fact that they’re looking to date again at this stage in their lives – sagging skin, oxygen tanks and all. They wonder how it will feel to meet someone new. Yet in the face of doubt, they’re determined not to give up and in the face of rejection, they’re resilient. The result is a powerful film showing that as seniors, our need for love is as intense as it ever was. —Linda Abbit

Where to watch it View a complete list of local screenings on The Age of Love website.

St.Vincent

U.S. Directed by Theodore Melfi. With Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts. 102 min.

Special award Character with the Strongest Survivor Attitude

Why we nominated it 

Played by Oscar-winning actor Bill Murray, Vincent McKenna is an old, angry, alcoholic gambler with major financial woes. To pay off some debt, he agrees begrudgingly to babysit his 11-year-old neighbor, Oliver, who’s moved next door after his parents’ divorce. Vincent takes him to the racetrack and bars, teaches him how to fight and introduces him to his Russian prostitute girlfriend. But it’s not until we watch him take Oliver on mysterious weekly visits to a memory care facility and fight his way back from a health crisis that we see the full depth of Vincent. In a funny and touching performance, Bill Murray creates a senior character who’s a strong, determined survivor with a hidden past and a caring heart – not at all the bawdy loser he initially portrays.

Where to watch it Streaming on Amazon Instant Video

Love Is Strange

U.S. Directed by Ira Sachs. With John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei. 95 min.

Special Award The “Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Say ‘F-ck It’ And Let The Chips Fall” Award

Why we nominated it

When does something as innocuous as tying the knot become a living Hell? In Ira Sachs’ tender, understated little drama, the answer seems to be when you’re an elderly same-sex couple. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are brilliant as Ben and George, a loving pair who wed after 39 years of living together openly. Unfortunately, George’s employers aren’t ready for it. After he’s fired from his job, the couple is forced to live apart itinerantly with friends and family members, in situations that at times are trying. Yet they never question their decision to marry, even as the consequences of their act of defiance unfold. For this couple, attitude turns out to be measured dignity, poise and continued closeness. Here in the real world, however, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has some questions to answer about why it gave an “R” rating to a movie with no sex or nudity and very little profanity. Might it be because the newlyweds are same-sex?  —K. Leander Williams

Where to watch it Streaming on Amazon for $5.99 and  iTunes for $5.99

On My Way

France. Written and directed by Emmanuelle Bercot. With Catherine Deneuve, Nemo Schiffman and Gérard Garouste. 96 min, subtitles.

Special award Best aging with attitude in a foreign film

Why we nominated it

The luminously beautiful 70-year-old screen goddess Catherine Deneuve plays a fading beauty who’s been trapped in an unrewarding life, trying to keep a failing restaurant afloat with her controlling mother. But after learning that the restaurant they own is failing and her married longtime lover has left his wife for a 25-year-old, she sets out in search of a pack of cigarettes and winds up on a road trip – which turns into a later-life journey of self-discovery and rebellion against a lifetime of fulfilling other’s expectations. On the way, she picks up her grandson, a hyperactive, temperamental 10-year-old who is a perfect foil for the preternaturally poised, even when frazzled, Deneuve. She also has a one night stand with a 30-year-old, participates in a photo shoot for aging Miss France contestants and in the end, winds up falling for a hottie her own age.  —Erica Manfred

Where to watch it Streaming on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.

 

Your Vote Counts

Featured photo: Thinkstock | by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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