Stereotypes about older people and aging abound in visual media and the public sphere. Sometimes, these depictions are based in reality and facts, other times, they are ageist half-truths, or not true at all. For this assignment, we will consider where these characters and caricatures come from, how they are delivered, and perpetuated, and how they relate to gerontological themes and truths.
Watch a full-length feature (fictional) film, which includes aging themes and characters or at least one major older character (1.5-2 Hour Film). Or watch 2 hours of television/Netflix programming of one show. Do not use documentaries. (Traditionally, comedy episodes are 30 minutes, and dramas are one hour, but not always). Get approval of the film or show and character you want to study with Professor. Write a 1,500 word maximum paper that includes three parts:
a. Describe one aging character from the film or show, referring to possible stereotypes and facts listed in Table 1-1 of Quadagno’s book. Tell what theories or issues from class are reflected in his/her fictional character and their role in the story. (DO NOT SUMMARIZE THE WHOLE FILM OR SHOW). Do you know anyone who acts like this character? In what ways?
(I will provide the list within the attachment later)
b. Describe the real life actor who portrayed the character and whether you think their portrayal of the aging character was sincere and accurate or stereotypical. This is your opinion. Do you think the actor is responsible for the portrayal, or is it the writer or director’s responsibility? Was the actor playing a role that was age appropriate (i.e. was a woman playing the mother of someone who is in real life only 5 years younger than she?)
c. Describe the director or writer who created the film/show and portrayed the character. Do not describe a producer—they are generally not responsible for content Use Imdb.com and professional critical reviews of the film or show (from a newspaper or industry periodical) to delve further into director and writers’ personal connection to content of film or show, if any. Some writers and directors tell stories they are hired to tell. On the other hand, others are invested in their stories and have a stake in authorship. Which do you think would apply in this case?
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