Hollywood sees you, older moviegoers.
In case you haven't noticed, there have been a slew of films in recent years catering to older viewers on issues ranging from love and sex (or lack thereof) after 50 to more somber subjects like coping with loss.
Why? Well, post 50s are heading to the movies more and more and the industry can't deny the numbers. Viewers over 50 account for a quarter of all moviegoers and that number keeps on growing. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of post 50s going to the movies rose by 1.6 million, a 25 percent increase from 2009, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
"There's been a realization that the boomer generation still really likes to go to theaters and see movies on the big screen -- and they actually have the money to buy the tickets. Some of the younger generation doesn't," says AARP West Coast editor, Meg Grant.
"I think it was sort of a no brainer on the part of the studios, to say 'this is a unique audience'," Grant says.
For a decade, AARP has been publishing a list of films that appeal to its readers. This year the organization is launching its first Movies for Grownups Film Festival, kicking off this week in Los Angeles, to screen nine of the best films of the year. Stars and directors including Julia Louis Dreyfus, Chris Cooper, and Bradley Whitford will be on hand after screenings for Q&A sessions.
But Grant says older moviegoers shouldn't be pigeonholed when it comes to movie interests; it's not only love and divorce stories that appeal to this age group. "It's hard to explain what a movie for grownups is. When you see it you know it," Grant says. "It's not just limited to movies with old people in them or about old people. It's way wider than that."
Here are some of our favorite flicks for your movie night:
It's Complicated, 2009
Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin have terrific chemistry in this film about a divorced couple that find themselves lusting over each other once again, now that they're both attached to others. The film fared well at the box office, earning over $110 million and garnered several award nominations. Film critic Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer
called it a "spectacle of middle-aged people making spectacles of themselves."
Opening November 15th, Nebraska is a father-son road trip story, starring Bruce Dern as a dementia patient
. The black and white film "captures the mood of what American ennui has done to both old and young men on their way to becoming losers, lending a look and feel that seems like the Great Depression," said the New York Observer's Rex Reed
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2012
Starring Billy Nighy, Judi Dench, and Maggie Smith, the comedy-drama about a group of British retirees heading out of their comfort zones and into India scored over $45 million at the box office
. Time's Mary Pols
wrote, "There are brutal truths about the declining years in Best Exotic, from loneliness to financial woes that can’t be solved by getting a new job, but they are amply padded with comedy and cheery messages about acceptance; this is no bitter pill to swallow."
Enough Said, 2013
Released in September, this film stars Julia Louis Dreyfus and is the late James Gandolfini's last film role
. Dreyfus plays a divorced single-parent and Gandolfini, a nearly empty-nester. The two face the complicated issues of dating at middle-age as their romance blossoms. Slate's Dana Stevens
called it "a wonderful movie, observant and hilarious and full of sad and beautiful truths."
Hope Springs, 2012
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones were a dream duo in this touching, drama about a couple that has become romantically complacent after decades of marriage. Bringing in $65 million at the box office, the movie opened to mixed reviews, but undeniably resonated with older married couples."The movie business, ever more focused on youth, usually shrinks from the subject of sex in later life...this film, obviously made for an older audience, embraces the subject explicitly, and sometimes hilariously, or quite clumsily, with equal emphasis on feelings, and on helping its repressed, inarticulate couple find the words to express what they feel," said Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal.
Nominated for several Academy Awards including best picture
, Amour is the tale of a couple in their 80s as they deal with the wife's severe health issues. As the late Roger Ebert said, "Old age isn't for sissies, and neither is this film."
Last Vegas, 2013
Like "The Hangover" for the older crowd, the comedy has done well at the box office since opening earlier this month. Starring Hollywood greats, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline, the plot centers around what else-- an older boys trip to Sin City. A genial "Hangover" for the AARP set, "Last Vegas" is roughly what you'd expect, or fear, but a little better," said Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune