The cinema offerings for the baby boomer generation go on.We had the geezer flicks. Getting old can be fun, Alzheimer’s is funny, peeing in your pants a larf,food stains character building ,carers a real hoot, and so on. Now comes movies about love the second time round. A whole raft of the divorced on the razzle movies exemplified recently by Enough Said. And now the Chilean movie Gloria.
Now we all know the problem. You aint young, you are past your sell by date and you are decidedly second hand. Its Ok , because there are lots like you and in this guilt free world there is nothing to stop you getting it together.
Tony Soprano(alive) aka James Gandolfini(RIP) does it in Enough Said even though he has to wade through the good but hugely stretched joke of his intended’s best friend(unknown to both,see Much Ado ) being his ex wife.
The Chilean flick Gloria is of course a much feistier piece. With her wonderful glasses and great hair she gets out there singing romantic songs, giving guys the eye and pulling. Of course the men are all pretty useless and this being a more European film, that means there is no need for a happy ending. The American constitution with its blether about the pursuit of happiness mean its films have to end in a certain way. Well Gloria’s happy in that she doesn’t give up but unhappy in that she doesn’t end up going to a furniture store with number two. Maybe that’s happy twice over.
As it happens through my child bride I know a whole platoon of attractive women, lets say, over fifty who are single. Eight are divorced and one is a widow. Only two winge about the lack of men in their lives. Another is a retired lesbian. One has gone back on a part time basis to a former husband. All have engineered their lives so they don’t have time and through their networks of friends and interests have no need to pretend to enjoy a sex life or a need to cohabit with someone who isn’t strong enough to live on their own. As well all have come to enjoy their freedom,they may often be alone but they are rarely lonely. They may lack intimacy but they enjoy strong and very active frienships.
But that’s the real world-who needs it?
Both films deal with the problems of the exes. Some are obviously insane which is why the divorce.. Both deal in very different ways with the grown up children. A message of Enough Said seems to be that when the children go to college the single parents get so lonely they have to get hitched! In the Chilean film there is a jealousy for the attention given to the children. The me generation are serious about me,me, me.
But the real problem with these and other movies about this group of baby boomers playing veteran tennis is the sex. OK these films are made for the baby boomers who are now approaching or in in retirement and their second, third or fourth marriages. In terms of story line a modern relationship without sex is a failure. So sex has to shown.
But at our age we are not so keen on sex, the flood has become a trickle. Many of the great feminists now they have had life’s change have changed their tune about female sexuality. Many older men need chemical help or collect erections like rare stamps. I remember my mother when she was 70 telling me how she skipped the sexy bits in books. I know the feeling. Sex as the Georgian wit once said has a prohibitive cost, a ridiculous position and a transitory pleasure.*And that’s if you are doing it. Unless you have an old raincoat, sex to watch is even more absurd.
So why in these films do we have to see these aged partners having sex. Now Hollywood stars get paid extra for showing off their bodies so in the Hollywood film its all very discreet with bare shoulders but lots of under the sheet action . But Chilean stars are not paid so much so in their film we get the full frontals of both parties. Now this is having mutton gambolling as lamb. Have them panting to the door and coming out dishevelled is enough,that gives us the idea and the place in the story. Paunches and wrinkles we do not need.
*It was Lord Chesterfield who got it in both barrels from Dr J.