Most of us go to the movies to escape reality, but if you’re a caregiver, it helps to have some company so you don’t feel so isolated.
Not caring for an aged or sick loved one has been Hollywood’s most recent source of inspiration. Many great movies have been made about the trials and joys of this stage of life, as well.
Some of them are as heartfelt as they are hilarious, so have a look at these eight.
1. Make Way For Tomorrow
When The Awful Truth was released in 1937, director Leo McCarey made a star out of Cary Grant, who stars as a couple preparing to divorce who discover that they may just be with the right people after all.
However, McCarey also released Make Way for Tomorrow, a somber depiction of the financial hardships of eldercare in the same year. If a big Hollywood director were to make a film like this now, it would be hard to fathom. After losing their home during the Great Depression, Beulah Bondi and Victor Moore are forced to live apart because neither of their children can afford to care for them. We don’t see a villain here; instead, we witness two generations struggling to keep their humanity in the face of economic disaster..
Sadly, it’s another horrible truth that this notion becomes more and more applicable with each passing decade: Ira Sachs’s 2014 film Love Is Strange, starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a married couple forced to live apart due to financial constraints, is a fantastic example of this.
2. Whatever happened to Baby Jane?
In a list of noteworthy films about caring for others, did you really think this 1962 kitsch classic would be left out of consideration?
They play Baby Jane and Blanche Hudson, two middle-aged ex-movie stars who live in a derelict mansion that was owned by Valentino before it was demolished.
Despite her sister Jane’s brief fame as a child vaudeville star, Blanche had a more successful on-screen career before to her tragic vehicle tragedy. Jane, despite being responsible for Blanche’s well-being, is now scheming a comeback.
Whether you want to laugh or cry over the stress of caregiving, this melodrama has it all: bright lipstick, spine-tingling turns.
3. Nothing in Common
He appeared in a number of 1980s “fluff-o-tainment” before to becoming Mr. Academy Award-winning Tom Hanks. Nothing in Common (1986), in which he plays a slick Chicago ad exec whose parents split up, forcing him to take primary care for his diabetic father, isn’t lost in the shuffle (Jackie Gleason).
Due to his terminal illness, perhaps Gleason brought an unexpected vulnerability to the portrayal of a showbiz veteran who was otherwise known for his pompous demeanor. When it comes to nurturing our loved ones, traditional masculinity has its limits, and this dramedy by Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall is a smart study of the limitations of traditional masculinity.
4. Hanging Up
Walter Matthau portrays the father of Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow, two of three sisters who are dealing with their father’s deteriorating health.
In 2000, Columbia Pictures released the film.
A trio of sisters (Keaton, Kudrow, and Ryan) whose father (Walter Matheau) is in the early stages of dementia are the subject of this film, which was directed by Diane Keaton and written by Nora and Delia Ephron.
When it was released in theaters in the year 2000, it went down like a lead balloon.
Ephron sisters, who had to deal with their own father’s Alzheimer’s and the pressure that it had on their relationship, had a lot to say about the burden of caregiving on sibling relationships in this pleasant comedy, despite its ill-conceived clichés.
5. Away From Her
With Gorden Pinsent as her spouse, Julie Christie portrays the wife of a lifelong Alzheimer’s sufferer in this heartfelt picture.
In the case of Michael Gibson/Lionsgate,
Sarah Polley’s intelligent debut film stunned everyone at the tender age of 27. An Alice Munro short story about an elderly couple whose marriage is destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease when the wife forgets her still-adoring husband and falls in love with someone else in her long-term care facility was the inspiration for her feature film directorial debut instead of the typical coming-of-age story (see: Jodie Foster in “Little Man Tate,” Jonah Hill in “Mid90s”).
Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent starred in one of the best films of 2006, a hard, brilliantly contained examination of how long-buried hatred may impair the longevity of memory and romantic connections.
Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of a father and kid in this father-son story earned him an Oscar nomination.
This year’s Focus Features
Christopher Plummer’s portrayal of Hal, a 70-year-old gay man who is diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after coming out of the closet, earned him an Oscar nomination. Ewan McGregor’s performance as Oliver, a forty-year-old graphic designer striving to make ends meet, is equally nuanced.
Mike Mills based this 2010 independent on his now-deceased father, and the film’s visual whimsy—all brilliantly stylized collages and nonlinear montages—is grounded in that first-hand experience. It’s never too late to improve your life or, at the very least, your connection with your parents, so be prepared for some eye-opening revelations.
7. The Savages
Come to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, and stay for the tragicomic story of two siblings struggling with their father. His younger sister, Laura Linney, is played by the actress.
Films produced by Fox Searchlight in 2007
He depicted a string of forlorn and damaging lost souls until his untimely 2014 demise. He is unforgettable as a self-pitying theater professor who, with his flailing playwright sister (Laura Linney), must figure out what to do with their 85-year-old father in this 2007 tale of fortysomething New York creatives.
When it comes to taking care of those who neglected us, how do we muster the courage to do so? Is there a way to take care of ourselves at the same time? The film doesn’t claim to have any definitive solutions, but its wry, rueful humor makes it enjoyable to watch.
Actress Emmanuelle Riva was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of a woman whose husband feels overwhelmed when she has a stroke.
The 2012 Losange Film Festival
An elegantly appointed, self contained bubble of retired married musicians George and Anne (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) is shattered when Anne has a crippling stroke and their daughter (the fiery Isabel Huppert) unwillingly supports an overwhelmed George.
Aside from the fact that Riva deserved her Oscar for this role, the main reason to watch this film for carers who are tired of sugar-coating their pain and frustration is the uncompromising perspective it offers. Michael Haneke has long been known for his morally ambiguous psychological thrillers, but this 2012 French import’s shocking concluding minutes are a testament to the filmmaker’s skill.