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10 Must See Midlife Crisis Movies

[ 5 ] March 7, 2012 |

I’m OK, you’re OK. These 10 brilliant midlife crisis movies will remind you of that.

Do you sometimes feel like driving away and not coming back? Chin up, tits out; it’s normal. Escapism is a popular thought if you’re burned out, laid off, unsatisfied, or fed up with your kids, your bills, your obligations, the rut, and the repetition.  Midlife often nudges you to make some long overlooked changes. I hope you’ll find courage by watching these movies.

Why Can’t I Just Be Happy with Status Quo?

Don’t feel guilty if new urges or misgivings rise to the surface as you get older. And, don’t push them back down, they’ll only stick their head up again until you face facts, face fears, and start living the life you truly want. I’m not saying drive off into the sunset and abandon your life or relationships. I am saying modify and adjust rather than suppress. Your life isn’t a cough drop, it’s a lollipop.

Debts, deaths, divorce, and emotional deficits drive adults to their limits and that’s what these 10 movies capture so bravely. The conflict and the resolution of midlife hurdles of loss, loneliness, lust, and opening up to love again.

These movies portray the rawness and renewal of midlife. I’ve included parodies, comedies, lesbian scenes, and happy and hopeless endings you’d like to rewrite.Go ahead and make that rewrite. Then move over to your life and get the eraser and sharp #2 pencil to fill in some holes that might exist in your life’s biography.

Brenda’s Top 10 Midlife Crisis Movies

10.  Lost in Translation

Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a lonely actor, and  Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a neglected newlywed, form an unlikely bond in Tokyo. Bob is in a stale stateside marriage and Charlotte has married a photographer who gives more attention to the models than her. Bob and Charlotte’s platonic relationship fills many voids for each, until…..

9.  Four Wedding and a Funeral

Charles (Hugh Grant) and his friends believe they’ll never find true love. Then Charles gets smitten by Carrie (Andie MacDowell ) who as life would have it marries several fellows before realizing she loves Charles and Charles also takes the wrong person (Duck) to the altar. This movie is good reinforcement that life is truly a bunch of trial and errors. However, sometimes we nail it later in life.

8.  American Beauty

Lester (Kevin Spacey) busts his narcissistic wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening ) making out with a co-worked in her car that’s she’s driving through a fast food restaurant where Lester now works. Lester can care less because he’s developed a crush on his daughter’s friend whose given him hope to live again. American Beauty shows the beauty and ugliness of youth and aging. If you’ve ever struggled with emptiness, depression, obsession, lust, intolerance, self-esteem, or control issues, this is a must see.

7. The Descendants

Matt King (George Clooney) has to face infidelity, a wife in a coma, a rebellious teenage daughter, greed and infighting in the family over a piece of prime Hawaiian property, and most importantly what he believes in and stands for. The Descendants shows people true colors, ugly sides, and best sides when Matt and his teenage daughter Alexandra (Shallene Woodley) team up to overcome the sh%$ life can throw at you sometimes with curve balls, sliders, and change ups all in one month.


midlife crisis

6.  The Horse Whisperer

Annie MacLean (Kristin Thomas Scott) takes her traumatized daughter and horse to see Tom Booker (Robert Redford) to heal a horse that should have been put down after a horrible accident. The side story is Annie’s crisis when she falls in love with Tom. She like so many women and men, chooses to go back to her spouse Robert MacLean (Sam Neill) to keep the family together. The tender touches and silent glances in this movie between Redford and Scott upstage any nude scene or porn for heat on a screen.

midlife crisis

5.  Living Out Loud

Judith Nelson gives up her medical studies to put her husband through medical school. He later divorces her for a younger woman and physician. Lost and bitter, she moves to a 5th avenue coop and strikes an unusual friendship with the elevator man Pat Francato (Danny DeVito) and begins living out some fantasies with the help of her new friend Queen Latifah. Hunter and DeVito are brilliant and the movie shows finding your way back is rarely done in a straight line. Hunter’s club dance at Confessions is stunning and empowering despite her being on ecstasy. She should be renamed “Holly Hunger” instead of Holly Hunter for this scene.

midlife crisis

4.  Thelma & Louise

Thelma and Louise is about two women who take a chance rather than curdling at home. Thelma (Geena Davis) is married to Darryl who wants her to stay in the kitchen with her trap shut so he can watch football. Louise (Susan Sarandon) works at a diner while waiting for her absentee boyfriend, Jimmy, to show her the time of day. Not that I condone their choices, behaviors, or outcomes, but the two women transform from “neglected women” to “wanted women” (and outlaws) with all the power and control of their former keepers and then some.

midlife crisis

3.  Dan in Real Life

Widower Dan (Steve Carrell) falls for Marie (Juliette Binoche) at a bookstore only to learn one hour later that she’s dating his younger brother and spending the weekend with him, his three girls and the rest of his family. Carrell is mortified and tortured by circumstances that later prove life has a Divine order. Watch the trailer and root for Dan the man.

midlife crisis

2.  Under the Tuscan Sun

Just divorced writer Frances (Diane Lane) buys an in-need-of-love villa in Tuscany (it’s a mirror). Within a rocky year abroad, she overcomes crumbling walls and a creepy live-in snake to regain her life, sexuality, confidence, creative appetite, and attracts all the things into her new life that she had wished for.

midlife crisis

1.  Eat, Pray, Love

In Eat, Pray, Love, Liz Gilbert (Julie Roberts) fills empty despite her marriage, home, and career so she bails for Bali (Rome and an ashram outside of Mumbai) for a one-year journey of self discovery. She feeds her tummy and tames her mind and then falls for Javier Bardom thanks to the healing hand of a 9th generation medicine man who is toothless but to the point. For those wanting a more shallow version, read Drink, Play, F@#k — one man’s search of anything across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand.


Honorable Mentions

Sideways, Unfaithful, Falling Down


NOTE:  I placed this blog under “dating” because it’s all about getting back in the saddle. What’s your favorite midlife movie and why? Which character do you relate to?







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Category: Men & Dating

Comments (5)

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  1. Robin says:

    I haven’t seen most of the ones you mentioned, but now I have a To Do list. My favorite mid life movie especially for women is Shirley Valentine. If you haven’t seen it, I think you will love it. Check it out sometime. Thanks for your words.

  2. Audrey Sparks says:

    Horse Whisper about true life….

  3. Thanks for sharing these. Nice movies list. Movies really helps people to actually see what is really going on in their vocational life. If anyone need any help, people can watch my midlife videos here.

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