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‘Going in Style’: A Lighthearted Approach to Ageism

April 17, 2017

“Going in Style,” directed by Zac Braff, commonly known for his role as J.D. in the television series Scrubs, is sure to entertain its audience with the unexpected, but falls short of great execution with its simplistic dialogue.  

As a remake of the 1976 original starring Lee Strasberg, George Burns and Art Carney, the plot features three friends that are facing financial instability and eventually resort to robbing a bank to help themselves and their families.

Morgan Freeman (Willie), Michael Caine (Joe) and Alan Arkin (Albert) rob a bank, smoke weed and get laid which required them to embody the spirits of young, agile individuals.

For their first venture, the cohort attempts to rob a local grocery store but fails miserably.

However, after befriending a criminal adept at robbing banks, the three friends successfully devise and execute their bank robbery scheme.

Within the slapstick comedy, nonetheless, lies the addressal of financial uncertainty in America and seemingly a commentary on ageism, otherwise, society’s expectations or stereotypes towards older adults.

Although the dialogue itself is simplistic, it does spark an interesting dialogue regarding ageism.  

The actions the three friends took to escape financial disparity, in a way, represented the risks that other old adults in America may have to go through to survive.

Poor social security and frozen pension funds were just some of the difficulties the three friends faced that brought them to risk going to prison.

The three learn how to deal with their own health and financial concerns and save their friends and family at the same time.  

This film left it up to the elders to risk it all for future generations.

Furthermore, the elderly are often stereotyped to be negligent, inept and unattractive, according to Sheri Levy and Jamie Macdonald in a study conducted at Stony Brook University in 2016.

This film managed to contradict these stereotypes with the three friend’s ability to evade prison.

Al’s romantic relations with the “sexy” 65-year-old local grocery store employee accompanied the set of contradictions.

The audience was also repeatedly reminded of the idea that a culture has the responsibility to look after the elderly.  

This of course was a significant point of the film; however, it only introduced unrealistically nice children and grandchildren into the plot.

Although the three friends do the unexpected to find happiness and reassert the increasing presence of the old adult in a society that highly values youth, the ideas weren’t given enough value due to the simplicity of the comedy and dialogue.

“Going in Style” premiered April 7.

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