(K. Brent Tomer),
HOLLYWOOD makes more films about senior citizens than ever before. Notable octogenarians like Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Robert Redford, Maggie Smith and Christopher Plummer all seem to be able to find work whenever they want it. But most actors more than 70 years old should be wary when cast in a film: the character is likely to die—or at least get very close to death—and its senior moments will be mocked and ridiculed. Among the many social groups that the movie industry marginalises, the plight of the elderly seems to get the least attention.
A USC Annenberg Film Study from 2016 found that seniors are both underrepresented and stereotyped on screen. Analysing the 100 highest-grossing films of 2015, the authors found that only 11% of characters were aged 60 and over—off-screen seniors represent 18.5% of the general population—and 30 of the 57 films that featured a senior character used ageist comments. Senior characters that died on-screen often did so at the hands of physical violence rather than from chronic illness, the most probable cause of death of an ageing…Continue reading