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Late Bloomers: The Inspiring Movie On Intergenerational Friendships

3 min read

They say opposites attract, but have you ever considered the beauty of friendships that defy age gaps? Across the park bench or the checkout line, unexpected connections are blossoming between millennials or Gen Z and baby boomers.

Though sometimes surprising, these intergenerational friendships offer a unique blend of joy and challenge.

For younger folks, befriending someone from an older generation unlocks a treasure trove of wisdom and life experience. Seniors, on the other hand, often find themselves re-energized by the youthful spirit of their younger companions.

Intergenerational friendships also foster a beautiful exchange of knowledge and skills. Tech-savvy youngsters can help their older companions navigate the digital world, while seasoned individuals can offer guidance on everything from how to be confident and pass that job interview to navigating life’s tricky turns.

Of course, these bonds aren’t without their hurdles. Communication styles can differ vastly. What’s a meme to a teen might be a mystery to someone who grew up with a wired landline phone. Similarly, cultural references and historical contexts might require explanation.  Finding common ground can also be a challenge. While Netflix might be a universal language, music tastes and preferred leisure activities might require some compromise. But isn’t that true of any friendship?

I believe stepping outside our comfort zone can lead to surprising discoveries and shared experiences, but we must be able to embrace the unknown and go beyond those usual clichés. Generational stereotypes are a dime a dozen: boomers are out of touch, millennials are entitled, and Gen Zwell, they just live on their phones.

But these broad generalizations often paint an inaccurate picture. In fact, some of the most fulfilling friendships blossom between people decades apart in age.

I came up with this idea after watching a lovely indie film, “Late Bloomers“, directed by Lisa Steen. The film is a rollercoaster of emotions! It’s touching, hilarious, heartbreaking, and complex and explores the complicated, yet hilarious friendship between Louise (Karen Gillan), a 28-year-old Brooklynite adrift in life, and Antonina (Margaret Sophie Stein), a cantankerous elderly Polish woman who speaks no English.

At its core, it follows the journey of a woman who is deeply affected by a breakup, but as the story unfolds, you realize there is so much more to her than meets the eye. Her past is filled with heartache that goes beyond a simple breakup, and you are invited to experience her life and the profound emotions she carries. A beautiful subplot revolves around her relationship with an elderly woman, whose silent emotions add a poignant touch to the narrative. This elderly woman longs for her past but finds inspiration to embrace her future through the main character.

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Each character in this film plays a crucial role in evoking every emotion, making every scene truly captivating.

While Loiuse struggles with her problems (she is single, depressed and grappling with her identity as a musician), a reckless drunken stumble lands her with a broken hip and leads to a stint in a physical therapy ward with patients twice her age (Antonina). Despite their mutual distaste, Louise becomes her caregiver, and the odd couple forms an unlikely bond and, as they navigate their begrudging relationship, they confront the realities of ageing, forcing the girl to consider her own journey into adulthood, too.

A must-see film for all those mature women who think it’s impossible to be friends with someone younger, Late Bloomers” helps us to rethink the way we look at intergenerational friendships. 

The bottom line? Louise shows Antonina that she’s never too old to live it up and that there’s no shame in ageing, a lesson that she begins applying to her relationships with her new boyfriend and her father. Ultimately, what this film wants to teach us is that intergenerational friendships are a testament to the human spirit’s ability to connect across age and experience. They challenge stereotypes, foster empathy, and create a richer tapestry of life for everyone involved.

So next time you see someone from a different generation, strike up a conversation or attempt to connect (do you remember when Margot-Robbie Barbie told the old lady she is beautiful?) You might be surprised by the connection you make.

After all, friendship knows no age limit.

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