Cook Library Cinema Club: May-December Romances
Can it be true that spring has finally arrived? It's hard to believe that the month of May is almost over when temperatures for the month have often more closely resembled those of December!
Speaking of May and December: May-December romances have been an integral part of the plots of many fine films over the years. For example, who doesn't love the magnetic pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall? The chemistry between the pair is obvious in each of the four films they made together. The couple met and fell in love on the set of the 1944 movie To Have and Have Not, which marked Bacall's film debut. They married a year later, when Bacall was just 20 and Bogart was 45. They remained married until Bogart's death from cancer in 1957.
Our favorite among the films in which they starred together is the 1946 noir classic The Big Sleep, in which Private Detective Philip Marlowe investigates a blackmail case involving the spoiled upper classes. Be sure to check out their other two films as well: Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948).
Here are just a few more of our favorite films featuring couples with a significant age difference between them:
An Education (2009): A British schoolgirl gets an education of a different sort when she sets aside her dreams of attending Oxford after falling for the charms of an older man. Cary Mulligan shines in her breakthrough role as a naive 1960's teen swept off her feet by the equally-talented Peter Sarsgaard. The film scored Oscar nominations for Mulligan as Best Actress, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay.
Lost in Translation (2003): Bill Murray plays an aging American movie star in Tokyo to film a series of commercials for Japanese television who forms an unusual bond with the lonely, young wife of a visiting photographer (Scarlett Johansson). Murray earned an Oscar nod for his sensitive portrayal of a conflicted, middle-aged man struggling to do the right thing.
As Good as it Gets (1997): Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt both won Oscars for their lead performances in this sharp comedy written and directed by James L. Brooks. Nicholson plays a cranky, obsessive-compulsive writer of romance novels, who forms unlikely friendships with a gay neighbor (Greg Kinear) and the young, single mother who works as a waitress at his local diner (Hunt).
Harold and Maude (1971): Hal Ashby directed this quirky comedy about a wealthy teenager with a death wish who finds love with a 79-year-old woman who is high on life. Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort charm in their roles as the unusual couple, with thoughtful lessons about making the most of our time on earth thrown in for good measure. Tunes by Cat Stevens highlight the wonderful soundtrack.