50 and Over
J. Michael Straczynski, Changeling
He’s already one of television’s top
writers of fantasy and science fiction;
and although Changeling is based on a
true story, Straczynski’s tale of a mother’s search for her kidnapped son—and
the corruption it uncovers—churns
with an eerie sci-fi atmosphere and
dizzying sense of disorientation.
WE ALSO LOVED: John Patrick Shanley
for Doubt…Eric Roth for The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button… Woody Allen for Vicky
Cristina Barcelona…Joel and Ethan Coen
for Burn After Reading.
OPPOSITE, FROM TOP: PARAMOUNT/EVERETT COLLECTION; TONY RIVETTI JR./UNIVERSAL STUDIOS; MARVEL ENTERPRISES/THE KOBAL COLLECTION
Best Grownup Love Story
Emma Thompson and
Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey
He’s short, 60-ish, and miserable; she’s
gangly, 40-something, and adrift. Yet
there was no more appealing screen
couple last year than this superstar
pair, fumbling through the missteps
and epiphanies of later-life love.
WE ALSO LOVED: Meryl Streep and Pierce
Brosnan in Mamma Mia!…Diane Lane
and Richard Gere in Nights in Rodanthe…
Karen Allen and Harrison Ford in Indiana
Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal
Skull…Mary Steenburgen and Richard
Jenkins in Step Brothers.
Best Intergenerational Film
The Visitor, written and
directed by Tom McCarthy
In the breakout performance of his career, Richard Jenkins stars as a professor who plans to stay in his underused
Manhattan apartment—and finds a
young illegal-immigrant couple (he’s
from Syria, she’s from Senegal) living
there. Everyone’s angry and distrustful at first, but soon the three forge a
fragile friendship, tentatively bridging cultural and chronological divides
that resonate far beyond the apartment’s four walls.
WE ALSO LOVED: Rachel Getting Married…
Gran Torino… The Curious Case of Benjamin
Best Comedy for Grownups
Ghost Town, cowritten and
directed by David Koepp
A supersmart script by David Koepp
and John Kamps—and a perfect oil-and-water combo of Ricky Gervais as
a dead-to-the-world dentist and Greg
Kinnear as an actually dead lothario
(back to resolve unfinished family
business)—makes this most grownup
comedy of the year also the funniest.
WE ALSO LOVED: Smart People… What
Just Happened?…Baby Mama…Be Kind
Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh
Revisiting Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the towers of the
World Trade Center, through archive
footage and new interviews, director
Marsh leave us to conjure up our own
vivid images of 9/11. In the process we
discover that, with the passage of time,
an event that meant one thing then can
take on a whole new kind of significance now.
WE ALSO LOVED: Young@Heart (
performing elders sing their hearts out)…Chris &
Don: A Love Story (a tale of unconditional
commitment)…I.O.U.S.A. (America’s credit
crunch).…Flow (our coming water crisis).
Pierce Brosnan, in Mamma Mia!
We just love the way he attacks the
challenge of pop singing with such
reckless abandon. Simon Cowell would
be aghast, but we’re charmed.
Best Foreign-Language Film
The Edge of Heaven (German/Turkish),
written and directed by Faith Akin
A German film that swings between
locations in Bremen and Istanbul, this
drama follows characters of varied
ages, nationalities, and faiths passing
through one another’s lives—and often
not connecting at all. It’s riveting not
for its shambling plot but for its relent-
less reminder that in a rapidly shrink-
ing world, even when our stories don’t
intersect, our shared humanity does.
WE ALSO LOVED: A Christmas Tale
(French)… Late Bloomers (Swiss German)…
Silent Light (Plautdietsch—Mennonite Low
German)… The Class (French).
Best Buddy Picture
Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys,
starring Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard
Bates, as matriarch of a big-business
family, and Woodard, as a working-class mom, are lifelong friends. But as
their families spiral into chaos, their
own relationship deepens, and they
satisfy their mutual need by taking
off on a just-us-girls road trip. Writer-director Tyler Perry (Madea’s Family
Reunion) is reaching out to a wider
audience here—and he couldn’t find
two actresses better suited to be his
ambassadors of goodwill.
WE ALSO LOVED: Mamma Mia!… The
Best Movie for Grownups
Who Refuse to Grow Up
Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau
Let’s hear it for the middle-aged
superhero! Robert Downey Jr. infuses
his character with all the frustrations,
insecurities, and regrets that go with
having put in four decades or so on
this planet—and finds the best kind of
therapy in a really cool flying suit.
WE ALSO LOVED: WALL-E…Kung Fu
Panda… City of Ember… Marley & Me . ;
YOUR TURN You’ve got our list of winning flicks; now we want to know
what you think was the year’s Best Movie for Grownups®. Vote for your
favorite film in our online poll at aarpmagazine.org/movies.