Monday, April 1, 2013

Movies about Love & Sex for People 50 Plus

Photo by Amy Loves Yah. 
It's sometimes difficult for young people to imagine, but older adults need love and sexual contact.  Yes, sometimes age-related issues interfere with their abilities to pursue emotional and physical relationships.

Nevertheless, most people seek to clear these roadblocks.  Grappling with these conflicts makes for good movie material.

Hollywood love stories often focus on romance for those 15 to 35, but a growing  number of comedies and dramas are focusing on love and sex concerns for those middle aged (45 to 65) and older.

Here is a list of some of these films--organized by reverse chronology.

Finding Your Feet (2017). Imelda Staunton plays a woman who takes stock of her life after her husband of 40 years has an affair. The film is primarily about being your authentic self, but the main character (Sandra) does have a flirtatious relationship with a man supportive of her new identity.  Review

Our Souls at Night (2017). Addie (Jane Fonda) and Louis (Robert Redford) play neighbors who have rarely spoken until Addie proposes that they start a platonic relationship that includes sleeping (and just sleeping) together.  Over time, they share their life stories, their heartbreaks, their goals, and touch beyond cuddling.  Review.

The Rewrite (2015). Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei star in a rom-com about two midlife adults looking for second chances. He wrote one successful screen play, but she's working on her first at midlife.  Can he teach her anything about writing? Can she teach him anything about life?
I'll See You in My Dreams (2015).  Blythe Danner stars as a widow of 20 years who has recently lost her canine companion. This serves as a catalyst for her to evaluate all of her relationships--past, present, and potential. Over the span of the film, she forms new connections with a couple of men--a pool boy years her junior and a gruff-and-handsome agemate. Review

Love Is Strange (2014). John Lithgow and Alfred Molina play a couple in a long-term relationship who finally marry only to be hit with several hardships. Friends and family step in to help, but living in close quarters with others puts a strain on those relationships and adds to their hardships.

On My Way (2014). Catherine Deneuve stars as an aging beauty queen in her early 60s still struggling to make a meaningful connection with men.  And her connections with her female relatives are also something to be desired.  She takes a road trip as a way to examine her life.

St. Vincent (2014).  The film focuses more on a midlife man's relationship with a neighbor boy, but important subplots involve Vincent's romantic / sexual relationships with two women.

And So It Goes (2014)Michael Douglass and Diane Keaton play feuding neighbors who come to some agreement when his previously unknown granddaughter comes to live with him.

Just a Sigh (2013) French/English. Gabrielle Byrne and Emmanuelle Deves portray strangers who meet on a train between Calais and Paris.  Later that day they reconnect and embark on a passionate affair.

Love Is All You Need (2012). When a group of midlife adults and young adults from Denmark gather in Italy for a wedding, all kinds of chaos unleashes while people grapple to understand who they love and how to love them.  Midlife issues depicted include infidelity, illness, social status, emotional scars and dreams deferred.  The film is partially in English, partially in Danish with subtitles.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) deals with a number of age-related issues for a group of Britons who decide to retire in India. A couple of the plot lines deal with relationship troubles for mature adults: old love, new love, lost love, etc. The cast includes a number of great actors including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson.

Hope Springs (2012). Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as a couple married decades who have drifted apart emotionally and sexually.  The husband is happy with the status quo, but the wife demands a change--one way or another.  A painfully realistic portrayal of the complexities of long-term relationships.
All Together (2011).  This French film has an ensemble cast that included Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin as two of six older adults living together under one roof. They have to work out conflicts, some of which have emerged with age, some of which have been ongoing.

Cloudburst (2011).  Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Flicker star as lesbians in a three decades' long relationship who are prevented from being together by family.   They go on a road trip in a quest for greater independence in their relationship.

The Last Station (2009). This film is based on the last year of Tolstoy's life where his increasingly radical ideas contrast sharply with the lifestyle and values that his wife Sophya holds dear.  Having been married for decades, this gulf creates quite a strain on both of them.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons (2008). Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt star in a film where the man is born old and grows young.  This gives the film a chance to consider various age-related conflicts for couples such as age differences as well as long-term relationship conflicts.

Last Chance Harvey (2008). Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman star as two mature adults who meet while the man is in town for his daughter's wedding. Because of their age, they have a little baggage to manage on the road to love.

Mama Mia! (2008). A single, midlife woman preparing for her daughter's wedding--while also trying to manage a hotel--reunites with three of her old flames from two decades prior.

Play the Game (2008). Andy Griffith plays an older man trying to date again after his wife dies. His grandson offers him tips on how to romance women.  As a comedy, some age-related issues are distorted, but there are still some realistic elements portrayed.

Cloud 9 (2008). This German film focuses on Inge, a sixtysomething woman, who begins an affair with Karl, a man in his seventies, betraying her husband, Werner, of 30 years.  The film contains quite a bit of full-frontal nudity and graphic sex scenes in the first 42 minutes. The film shows that mature love can contain, romance, sexual desire, sexual intercourse and complicated relationships.

Boynton Beach Club (2005). This dramedy shows how six older adults transition to single life after years of marriage. Dating again can present some challenges, and the film handles this with a mixture of humor and seriousness.  An ensemble cast featuring Dyan Cannon, Lou Cariou, Sally Kellerman, Joseph Balogna, Brenda Vaccaro, & Michael Nouri.
Elsa y Fred (2005).  This Spanish-language original (remade in 2014) shows the impulsive Elsa trying to loosen up her newly widowed neighbor, Fred. Their adult children interfere from time to time, but this mismatched couple still manages to pursue a relationship.  (The trailer doesn't have English subtitles, but you can rent a DVD that does.)

The Notebook (2004)Based on the novel of the same name, this film uses a frame tale of a mature couple trying to establish the nature of their relationship through reminiscing. The older man dismisses the admonitions of medical doctors in an attempt to rekindle an older woman's memory as she struggles with dementia.

Ladies in Lavender (2004).  Judi Dench and Maggie Smith play sisters in late adulthood who discover a handsome, young musician washed ashore near their house.  This film shows how older women are subject to the fantasies of being in a relationship with a younger person.  The connection is more nurturing and emotional than a raw sexual fantasy more typical of older men's fantasies, but there are several scenes where Dench's character imagines that she's young again.

Tortilla Soup (2001).  A Mexican-American widower, played by Hector Elizondo, supports his grown daughters in their adventures with love. But can they support him when he decides that it's time for him to find love again?  (This film is a remake/adaptation of the 1994 Taiwanese film Eat Drink Man Woman, which I really need to see.)

Innocence (2000).  A woman in a long-term marriage starts to question her marital satisfaction when a former lover looks her up after his wife dies.  A painful love triangle forms when this woman, her former lover and her husband start to examine their long-neglected emotional and physical needs.

Shadowlands (1993) starring Anthony Hopkins as middle-aged bachelor C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy Grishem. She's a poet/writer and an American who is divorced with two children.  After corresponding with one another, Lewis and Grishem court and marry.  Their marriage is cut short when she gets cancer. Her son is affected by her dying, but the film actually focuses more on the marriage. 

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974). This Cannes Film Award winner from Germany exposes various forms of prejudice in the story of a young immigrant from Morocco who marries an older German woman.  Their friends, neighbors and family have trouble accepting this couple from different countries, cultures and life stages. Contains some graphic nudity scenes.

If you have recommendations, please add a comment. Thanks!


  • Letters to Juliet (2010)
  • It's Complicated (2009)
  • Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
  • Shall We Dance (2004)
  • Something's Gotta Give (2003) 
  • As Good As It Gets (1997)
  • Mrs. Brown (1997)
  • The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

  • Harold and Maude (1971)
  • Related:

    Films about Aging A-L
    May-December Romances: Why Is This Joke Funny?
    James Bond & Other Heroes Preserving Power 
    Movies about Mature Artists 


    1. Thanks for the recommendations. I will have to update my Netflix list. :)

    2. Despite its hackneyed conceit and sometimes hackneyed plotting, Last Chance Harvey is a brilliant and moving little story, a truly charming and heartfelt and mature romantic fantasy. It's trailer doesn't do it any kind of justice--I'd recommend it to anyone.

      1. Yes, I thought it was lovely. I can't wait to see Quartet, directed by Hoffman (but I don't think it's about late life love; it's more about being a mature artist). Anyway, thanks for nudging the readers towards LCH.

      2. It is about late life love; and friendship; and aging gracefully and with zest! You will adore it!

    3. I LOVE "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks - it goes back and forth between the days when the couple was young and when they are older. But have a tissue box handy! Such a touching love story...

      1. Yes, that would fit here! I have it with my list of films about dementia, but the love story is more prominent than her illness.

    4. Women on the 6th Floor-French. Main character is an older French man... cute and a little quirky.
      Mrs. Brown with Judi Dench.

      1. Walker: I just watched the preview. Oh, it looks like the social order gets challenged in that one (at least for the wife). Looks fun. Yes, Mrs. Brown! I saw that years ago. I added it to my big list of 60 plus films for sure. There is a friendship (perhaps with benefits?) between Victoria and Brown. Oh, if only the diary had not been destroyed.

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    6. True love does blossom after 50 . .and 60 . . . met and married my wonderful lover at 62! I love your film selections . . Saw Marigold Hotel just after our trip to India and the hotel manager is brilliant. I heard there was to be a sequel soon. One of my all time favorite films is Harold and Maude . . a real classic. Thanks for providing some new title for my "must watch list!"

    7. Katie: I didn't know about "Marigold's" forthcoming sequel. Good news.

    8. Evening. And watch the discussion of the making of the film . Some of the exceptional actresses have their daughters in the film . It is beautiful.

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    10. Curious case of benjamin button was a very very good film i've watched for the last 10 years. :) And i'm willing to be more inlove with my wife.

    11. its not play on youtube....any solution plzzz