Lately I’ve recognized a bounty of films that deal with aging—childhood, growing up, etc. Is it just my own heightened sensitivity to this subject or is it true that numerous films dealing with growing older have clustered together? OR, has it always been the case that filmmakers are interested in aging and that a vast number of films tackle this issue, sometimes without us noticing it?
Where The Wild Things Are, the Toy Story re-releases and Away We Go are examples that come to my immediate attention, but there have been many others recently. Although I happen to like this popular theme, it just seems more used than ever before (yes, I know Toy Story is not technically a 2009 movie—but it’s coincidental). But, I do think that I personally seem to tend to these films, as many that deal with aging and childhood are animated, films meant (sadly? ironically? rightfully?) for a young audience, a genre that has always been one of my favorites.
It’s easiest to answer this question in the light of my third option above, but I think that does not do justice to the subject at hand. Yes, of course, filmmakers, artists and humankind in general is and always has been interested in mortality and the innocence of childhood and the sentimentality involved in growing away from such innocence and carelessness and downright fun. But, I think now more than ever do we see films tackling this issue, and I think this goes beyond the obvious. Maybe it’s that the world is getting older, we, as a civilization, are feeling our age. This could be a stretch, but stick with me on this one.
In earlier times, perhaps even as early as 30, 40 years ago, we, as a global society, looked to the future and saw something grand. The alienating times of post WWII and the Cold War forced people to look to the future with positivity: It’s gotta be better than this! But nowadays, I think we’ve grown tired, we feel old. Movies feel old. I feel old. Maybe dramatic, yes, but like I said, there is something to it.
The bright side is this: movies on childhood are some of the best, and it’s a genre that I wouldn’t trade for just about any other. And most of the time, movies like Where The Wild Things Are and Toy Story don’t just make us nostalgic and teary-eyed, they make us happy to remember, or be aware of, the innocence, the fun, we all once had, and can continue to have throughout our lives. So I guess it’s a good thing that we have these films, and a plethora of them, because, and I don’t know about you, I don’t want to forget to have fun.