September 6, 2019
  • For many years, Jim Vanden Bosch, founder and Executive Director of Terra Nova Films, and Rick Scheidt, Professor, School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University, have been reviewing films for The Gerontologist, a journal of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Under the editorship of Helen Kivnick, Professor of Social Work, University of Minnesota, these film reviews of both documentaries and feature films have been ap.. read more

  • September 6, 2019

    For many years, Jim Vanden Bosch, founder and Executive Director of Terra Nova Films, and Rick Scheidt, Professor, School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University, have been reviewing films for The Gerontologist, a journal of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Under the editorship of Helen Kivnick, Professor of Socia.. read more

  • September 6, 2019

    Film: What They Had (98 min) Written and Directed by: Elizabeth Chomko Available on Amazon and other streaming platforms Release Date: January 2018 In the opening scenes of this captivating film, an older woman gets out of bed in the dark, gets partially dressed, and walks out of the house in a light jacket into a snowy night. The shot holds on he.. read more

  • September 6, 2019

    Allow me to start this review on a personal note. In reviewing films for this journal, I have tried to find those films that present aspects of elderhood in an insightful or credible way, and that are often not well known. Such films, I’m finding, are harder and harder to come by. So, for this review, I decided to dip into the pool of more mains.. read more

  • September 6, 2019

    What happens when close-up pictures of human faces are enlarged and displayed in public spaces? Faces Places is a film that invites viewers along on a road trip to see the answer to this question. Agnes Varda, a well-known French filmmaker, who at 89 is still making films, teams up with a prolific and anonymous (but internationally known) 33-year-.. read more

  • April 2, 2017

    Beginners opens with two silent shots—a close up of a vase of semi-fresh daisies and then a vacant living room with several boxes stacked to one side. In the next scene, also mostly silent, a young man removes some shirts from a closet, folds them, and places them in a box. He empties the contents of several medication containers into a toilet.. read more

  • December 3, 2016

    In the last issue of this journal, I reviewed a few films that portrayed new love relationships experienced in older age. Romance has always been a common theme in movies. Given the growing demographic of older adults, new and freshly romantic love experienced by elders is now increasingly a theme in mainstream movies. By contrast, films explori.. read more

  • October 3, 2016

    Film portrayals of love in later life are becoming more commonplace in our aging society, but what these films present is often limited to the common cultural understanding of, and preference for, love in its early romantic stage. Late-life love in the movies then, is most often presented in the context of a new relationship after divorce or the d.. read more

  • August 3, 2016

      Based on the verbal descriptions I had seen, I was ready to not like this film. My assumption: another film on the woes of dating and attaching in late life. While that is part of this film’s content, there is more, much more.  And it is the more that slowly develops, and envelops, until the very last frames of this well-made fi.. read more

  • June 4, 2016

    Not often does a film as entertainingly watchable as The Intern carry within it a positive regard for the multigenerational nature of human life in the 21st century. Generational chasms may still exist in big sectors of our culture, but films like The Intern may help reduce their size. Not that The Intern is a didacti.. read more

  • April 4, 2016

    Early in this film, a remark from one of its characters laments the fact that he has become known as an actor mostly for playing the role of a robot in one particular film. This remark turns out to be a reflection of the very nature of the film, Youth. Throughout much of its 2 hours, the film feels like it could have been made by a robot. The sto.. read more

  • December 4, 2015

    Angel’s Perch opens with a close-up shot of a young woman sleepily protesting having a cell phone camera recording her. The person with the camera responds “We’re going to want to remember these things someday.” Then, taking out a family heirloom ring, he proposes to the suddenly wide awake woman. This wonderfully played opening scene sym.. read more

  • October 8, 2015

    Said Ismael Otruk is an 83 year-old Palestinian man born in the town of Acre in the 1930s. Now part of Israel, Acre is approximately 4,000 years old—“one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world” ( Said and his family were forced to move from Acre during the Palestinian resettlement of 1948.. read more

  • October 4, 2015

    Life in a long-term care facility is rarely explored in narrative films. A couple of exceptions to this, Quartet and Assisted Living , were recently reviewed in this journal ( Vanden Bosch, 2013 ). This topic remains one of the frontiers we do not enjoy visiting in our culture. The recent film, Wrinkles , however, dares to delve deeply int.. read more

  • August 4, 2015

    Too often, perhaps, as educators we take aging and hold it up for clinical examination out of the context of life-wholeness. This can also happen when watching and reflecting on the role of older adults in movies. Now that portraying the experience of living in one’s older years has become much more common in mainstream cinema, I am enjoying see.. read more

  • February 8, 2015

    A growing number of feature length films are now portraying the experiences of older adulthood. A recent article in The Guardian reported: “It is estimated that around a third of forthcoming Hollywood productions are being made with an eye on older audiences.” (Cox, 2012) Indeed, well over 70 major motion pictures portraying something of aging.. read more

  • February 4, 2015

    Move back historically to the formal birth and popularization of Rowe and Kahn’s paradigm for successful aging (Rowe & Kahn, 1998). Move back still farther to the 1970 and 1980 decades where gestational studies show how environmental experiences and lifestyle account for physical and psychological changes once thought due solely to primary a.. read more

  • December 6, 2014

    Of all the stories we enjoy hearing and seeing in films, stories about love—or the lack of it—seem to be at the top of the list. Try to think for a moment of a film that tells a story without any love-related component. Love, of course, exists in many forms besides the one we most often associate with that emotion—romantic love. Familial lov.. read more

  • December 4, 2014

    Old timers in gerontology will remember the challenge of its early days as we tried to convince a doubtful public as well as our skeptical students that human aging had any “up-side” at all. Successful aging was not yet a common part of our vocabulary. We often fell back upon a few standard “go to” examples to battle the then-prevailing fo.. read more

  • October 4, 2014

    When I first heard about this feature length documentary, I was prepared to see the same kind of story that has been filmed again and again—the usual angst that is so often presented in documentaries about this painful journey of families dealing with the loss of cognition and then recognition. But after just a few minutes into this family’s s.. read more

  • October 2, 2014

     There is much that is novel about Josef’s Daughter. However, the viewer must be willing to move beyond its now-familiar message that middle aged adults are often confronted with a fresh awareness that aging and death are inexorably linked, that this linkage has undeniable personal relevance for them, and that some of them may have a difficult .. read more