31Mar

“Going in Style” Gives Insight into Getting Older

goinginstyle

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Warner Bros.

By 2060, there will be about 98 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2014, so it’s becoming increasingly apparent and even more important to get a grasp on this important segment of our population. Movies and TV shows have a great role in educating the public on these types of issues and the new film “Going in Style” is a great example. It gets a lot of things right about getting older and is a great perspective on ageism.

The movie is an updated remake of the 1979 film starring George Burns, Lee Strasberg, and Art Carney. Its story follows three aging friends who get cheated out of their pension plans. Desperate to pay bills and support their families, they stage a heist on the very bank that stole their money. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin star. Ann-Margret leads the supporting cast, along side Keenan Thompson, John Ortiz, Christopher Lloyd and Joey King.

Here’s a short list of what the movie has to say about aging in today’s society.

The elderly are capable of a lot more than they are given credit for.

Society assumes that the elderly have greatly reduced physical or mental capacities that have resulted in the need to live in nursing homes, assisted living situations or with family members. The three central characters, who are in old age, are far from alienated, keeping company with each other daily and they live very independently. After Joe, played by Michael Caine, witnesses a successful bank heist during a bank visit early in the film, he talks his best friends, Willie and Albert, played by Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin, into joining him in a similar heist. First they practice in grocery stores and marts, then they learn how to use smartphones, shoot guns and how to time their own heist so they can get out in time,  proving that the elderly are capable of so much more than they are given credit for.

Society doesn’t treat the elderly with the respect they deserve.

Society has traditionally tended to overlook, undervalue, and stereotype the elderly.  This stereotype is often based on myths and assumptions. Seniors are often thought of as unproductive, alienated, and ineffectual.  At the beginning of the film, we see Joe working with a bank employee to figure out his finances, after finding out he’s lost his pension. The meeting is demoralizing and draining, and it looks like bank clerks can use some training in age discrimination. In addition, unfortunately, then his other two friends are laid off from their steel company jobs. Sadly, the company had employed them their whole lives and gave them nothing to show for it, leaving their futures in jeopardy.

Family and friends become a backbone in later years.

As people get older, they look more and more to people for critical support. They tend to become lonelier, more depressed and more needy of affection from others. Joe, Willie and Albert really rely on each other. They spend their days eating at the diner, sitting in the park and attending meetings at the local community center. At night, they speak to their children and grandchildren, either in person or on the computer. Therefore, support systems are everything, and they hang on to each dear person in their lives.

Life doesn’t end in old age.

Younger people in our society tend to think that old people are at the end of their lives, therefore they have nothing more to contribute. While the three guys bond in the process of planning their heist, they celebrate life and also show what they are still capable of, which is pretty incredible, and in the process make their lives more livable. Albert starts dating Ann Margaret’s character; Willie remains determined to make enough money to enjoy life and visit his family; Joe reunites his granddaughter with her paternal father. They are each capable of making incredible things happen. Ultimately, each one builds the life they want to live, without ever looking back. Their second chapter begins when the film ends and their story is proof that life can get better and better.

“Going in Style” opens next Friday.

 

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