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7 Romantic comedies about older couples

BY Nicola Venning

1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

7 Romantic comedies about older couples

If you're ever worried about not being able to find "the one", just remember that love can come at any age, as these seven films prove. From As Good As It Gets to Florence Foster Jenkins, here are our favourite movies about late-flowering romance.

Hope Springs

Hope Springs stars “woman of a certain age”, Meryl Streep, and stalwart Tommy Lee Jones, as long-married couple Kay and Arnold. After years together, their marriage has lost its spice while habit and routine have replaced spontaneity and affection. The future looks unpromising until unhappy Kay decides they should visit a sex counsellor, despite her husband’s protests.

The film is a hilarious look at long-term relationships and the sheer hard work needed to make them succeed. Tommy Lee Jones has rarely been so wonderfully curmudgeonly or Streep so quietly desperate. A must for the Viagra generation or indeed, any generation.


Something’s Gotta Give

Produced, written and directed by the multi-talented Nancy Meyers (who also wrote It’s Complicated; What Women Want and The Parent Trap, amongst others), Something’s Gotta Give is a stand-out movie with heavenly stars, Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.

Nicholson plays 60-something Harry Sanborn, a perennial playboy who only ever dates women under 30. Then he meets Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), the mother of his current younger girlfriend and finds himself falling for her. However, old habits die hard…

The script is a riot and the on-screen chemistry between the two leads just fizzes. Playing the older romantic lead gave Diane Keaton’s long career a late blossoming boost and Something’s Gotta Give was a box office hit.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This delightfully British movie features a group of hard up retirees who swap cold, wet England for colourful, sunny and considerably more affordable, India. However, they arrive to find the hotel just a shell of its former self and run rather chaotically. Having to adapt, they get to know India and indeed one another a little better. Anything becomes possible—including new love in older age.

The cast of household names is actually a role call of national treasures and includes Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup as well as Bill Nighy and Judi Dench who play two friends who become romantically “will-they, won’t-they” entwined. The other star, of course, is India which is almost as irresistible as the cast. A gem of a film.


It’s Complicated

This time Meryl Streep teams up with Alec Baldwin as the divorced couple Jane and Jake who accidentally-on-purpose rekindle their relationship even though he's now remarried. Meanwhile, Streep’s character is being chased by a slightly nerdy architect played by Steve Martin. It’s complicated!

Another box office hit from writer-director Nancy Meyers, who again takes the love life of the middle-aged (ex) couple as her subject matter. The film takes a witty look at long-term relationships and just how tricky they can be. Feel-good fun for the over-fifties.


Florence Foster Jenkins

This romantic comedy is based on the real life of an American socialite and New York heiress who dreamt of becoming an opera star in the early 20th century. Florence Foster Jenkins’ devoted companion, St Clair Bayfield does all he can to help, despite the hostility of critics and the lady’s complete lack of singing talent.

Meryl Streep who stars as Florence, has rarely performed so badly, so well!

Avoiding absurdity, she gives her character real pathos, while Hugh Grant (who plays St Clair) is sleek, subtle and ambivalent. The leads' great performances are supported by a story which has more to it than you initially think. There are surprising twists and turns and it's very charming.


As Good As It Gets

The film stars Jack Nicholson as an obsessive-compulsive novelist with few friends and even less charm. However, he slowly thaws when he gradually gets to know a single mum and waitress, played by Helen Hunt who has a sick child. When a gay neighbour (played by Greg Kinnear), is assaulted, the three form an unlikely alliance and a friendship slowly develops.

Nicholson has rarely been better (or had better one-liners) in this delicious comedy which is whip-smart while being totally realistic. For grown-ups who don’t want fairy-tales but still like happy endings.


Last Chance Harvey

A divorced struggling jingle writer, Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is in London for his daughter’s wedding, when he learns she wants her stepfather to give her away. Dustin misses his plane home and loses his job. As he drowns his sorrows at the airport bar, he meets unlucky-in-love, lonely administrator Emma Thompson. A connection forms and the two soon find themselves falling in love.

The reassuringly old-fashioned flavour of this story is brought to life by the wonderful performances of the leads. Thompson is dry, witty and vulnerable while Hoffman is desperate, world weary but still a dreamer. It’s a match made in heaven. A slow movie which is nonetheless, very sweet. 


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