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Seven Movie Messages You Can Apply to Your Life Today

Denise DiTrani

Hollywood films offer entertainment, education, and a temporary escape from the ordinary. They can exhilarate, inspire and in some cases, create a spark that ignites a whole new you!

The following list of films is intended to encourage you to think beyond your current circumstances and embark on a new challenge. All the movies showcased involve retirees in varied situations with myriad motivations—though many of the lessons in their stories can apply to adults of any age. The characters are all real and relatable. Let the journey begin!


Thanks to Oprah’s popularity and promotion, book clubs have experienced a resurgence. Organizing a club with a diverse group to share thoughts and opinions that evolve and expand views is a healthy pastime for any age group–as are the benefits of the intellectual stimulation and regular interactions.

Book Club features four friends in their 60s who belong to a monthly book club. When they read a well-known, provocative novel, it begins to influence their decisions and opens up their personal lives in surprising ways. The communal wake-up call leads to the characters, “chasing pleasures that have eluded them” as they say. Might be worth the watch, wouldn’t you agree?

Sing and Dance

Nothing sparks emotions more than a true story–particularly the part where someone overcomes a struggle. Non-fiction films can offer a sort of blueprint we can tweak to fit conditions in our own lives.

The 2007 documentary, Young At Heart, depicts adults ranging in age from 74-92 who rehearse and perform cover songs by rock musicians Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Coldplay, and Sonic Youth. Defying stereotypes and predictability, the Young At Heart Chorus serves as a creative sanctuary and vehicle for its members to overcome health challenges. “The show must go on” is the sentiment that drives the emotional moments of the film, while the music they make together produces surprising results.

Gotta Dance chronicles New Jersey Nets basketball team’s first hip-hop dance squad. Auditions draw both men and women with varied levels of talent. Center court action captures their quick-paced routine and determined team spirit! A key message of the film is that no matter your age or range of mobility, performing is not only possible, it’s poignant and empowering.


The restorative benefits of travel have been scientifically proven. In fact, travel can positively impact mood and mental health, cognitive abilities, and physical conditions. Many older adults have the time to travel more, and can also take advantage of age-related discounts, such as airfare, hotels, and car rentals.

Seventy-five year old actor Robert De Niro starred in a 2013 movie that illustrated the benefits of travel. As one of four long-time buddies, De Niro takes a trip to Las Vegas to attend his friend’s low-key bachelor party, a.k.a Last Vegas. The celebration soon gains the momentum of a fraternity party, reigniting their youthful sense of adventure. The Bucket List, which features 81 year old Jack Nicholson, has two buddies with nothing to lose setting out on a road trip and fulfilling their wish lists. Feeling spontaneous? Here’s a blueprint to create and complete your own bucket list.


Full retirement may sound good in concept, but the actual day-to -day may be less than gratifying. Working, whether paid or unpaid, is good for our health and wellbeing. From volunteering and animal care, to seasonal and leisure-based options, the possibilities to stay engaged have never been better. Interacting with others and validating your self-worth is healthy for anyone at any age.

Proof of this theory can be found in another Robert De Niro film, The Intern. The movie’s tagline, “Experience never gets old”, sets the story on a path of fulfillment. Not only does De Niro’s character find a renewed sense of purpose while successfully bridging the generational gap, he’s also deeply appreciated for his professional and personal contributions.


In the film The Edge, Anthony Hopkins’ character turns fear into valor with one sentence, “What one man can do, another can do“. The same applies here. Get the popcorn ready and wait for the sparks of inspiration to fly. Your journey starts now!

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