It sometimes seems as though the entire film industry is completely obsessed with youth. But if you’re interested in the trials and tribulations of the thirty or forty something protagonist, help is at hand.
Recent years have seen a plethora of complex dramas, entertaining comedies and offbeat oddities dealing with the stresses of middle-age – from work, to parenthood, to relationships.
And there are a few must-watch classics too.
In the week that Bridget Jones’s Baby hits cinemas, here are seven funny, extraordinary and moving mid-life crisis movies you can watch on Netflix UK.
The Fundamentals of Caring
Paul Rudd stars as Ben, a would-be novelist and first-time carer who, amid turmoil in his own life, volunteers to look after young muscular dystrophy sufferer Trevor.
The wisecracking, wheelchair bound teen’s life consists of watching TV and taking potshots at potential helpers, but Ben quickly decides that it’s no way to live – and takes Trevor on a road trip around America. But their relationship becomes as much about Trevor helping Ben with his own tragic existence, as it does the other way around.
The two leads are delightful throughout. Rather than a generic feel-good flick, it’s refreshing and entertaining in equal measure.
Corporate mastermind J.C Wiatt (Diane Keaton) is forced to reconsider her priorities when the unexpected death of a distant relative leaves her with sole custody of a young child.
Cue struggle to balance her hectic work life with unexpected parenthood.
Director Charles Shyer manages to walk the line between social satire and adorable drama extremely well, resulting in a movie that’s laugh-out-loud funny at times, and poignant at others.
Probably the most surreal romance movie you’ll ever see, this fascinating black comedy is based in a dystopian society where single people are sent to a mysterious hotel. There they must find love within 45 days – or be turned into an animal of their choice.
Colin Farrell is one of these single people, plunged into a bizarre hell of similarly awkward and stressed middle-aged singletons that sharply lampoons the dating game, and often arbitrary way in which relationships are formed.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ eccentric direction makes The Lobster a truly unique film, skewering the ridiculous nature with which contemporary society deals with love through gallows humour and outlandish concepts. Great supporting cast too.
Robert Zemeckis teams up with Denzel Washington to provide a scintillating portrayal of a man on the edge of self-destruction.
Washington plays Whip Whitaker, an alcoholic pilot who manages to gain hero status after he narrowly averts an aviation disaster. But as a result of the accident, Whitaker’s drinking is investigated.
It’s a magnificent, powerful study of a character in genuine crisis.
After a rough divorce, delusional and manipulative writer Mavis Grey decides to move back to her hometown in the hopes of rekindling an old romance.
Unfortunately, her high school sweetheart is married with kids. But if you think that’s going to stop the former prom queen from winning back her old flame, you underestimate her determination. And borderline sociopathic scheming.
Charlize Theron is brilliant as Mavis, putting in a performance that’s as utterly detestable as it is delightful. You’ll love to hate her throughout, and with strong support from Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt on hand, the cast and sharp script go hand in hand to deliver a fantastically clever comedy. It’s dark and uncomfortable, but also hilarious.
Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her devastating turn as a woman who discovers that she’s suffering from early onset Alzheimers.
Struggling to deal with the revelation along with her daughter (Kristen Stewart) and husband (Alec Baldwin), the resulting emotional turmoil is palpable.
The movie tackles the complexity of family relationships perfectly, and never really feels exploitative. Moore’s performance is exceptionally believable.
How about a bit of light relief, straight out of Jim Carrey’s ’90s slapstick heyday?
Liar Liar tells the story of a silver tongued but selfish lawyer who’s magically bound to tell the absolute truth for 24 hours, after his neglected son’s birthday wish.
Yes, it’s silly. But it’s also exceptionally funny and ultimately rather sweet. From unfortunate elevator encounters to gurning courtroom outbursts, Carrey is on terrific form – and his character’s struggles, despite the ludicrous set-up, ring strangely true.