THE AGE OF LOVE‘S OSTENSIBLE CENTERPIECE IS A SPEED-DATING EVENT for participants between the ages of 70 and 90.
Director Steven Loring takes advantage of the occasion as an opportunity to connect with its single-senior participants—widows, divorcées, people who simply never married—but his documentary ends up being less about speed dating and more of a candid exploration of people who are often assumed to no longer want romantic lives.
Film subjects typically appeal to their peers, but I submit that young people should watch (and make) more films that deal with the later stages of life. It’s a function of youth obsession that The Age of Love seems so offbeat, and there’s no sense denying that aging and dying are things we’re all afraid of. But as The Age of Love proves, it’s comforting to confront that fear head-on and find humor and contentment—as well as the same old anxieties you have now.
The interviewees in Age are a charming bunch: There’s a champion weightlifter in his early 80s; a woman who drinks beer out of a mug emblazoned with “grandma” while surfing dating sites (it’s notable that none of the subjects are ever filmed with their children or grandchildren—they’re always portrayed as individuals); and a gentleman who cheerfully wheels around an oxygen tank to the bar. At one point a couple who wind up a “match” through the speed-dating event prank the camera crew to hilarious effect. A woman named Addie still rides horses, backpacks through Vietnam, and dances her ass off. “I’ll never grow old,” she declares.
Aging and dying may be unavoidable and frightening, but shoving them behind the curtain might not be the most psychologically advisable approach to grappling with them. Documentaries like Age reassure us that we won’t be much different once the wrinkles set in. (And that we should never stop working out. Ever.)