Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Carol Liebler

Keywords

Aging, Baby boomers, Film trailers, Romance, Romantic comedies, Successful aging

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

On any given Friday night, theaters across the United States are filled with teenagers and young adults, often to see the new Blockbuster that has just been released. The film industry has responded by producing content specifically targeted to this demographic. Unfortunately, this has left a major portion of the population waiting for material that is relatable. Even when there is a character over the age of 50, they are regularly for comic relief or portrayed as weak and incapable. The recent trend of romantic comedies incorporating storylines for older adults is still underrepresented in academic research. This thesis set out to understand the extent of successful aging content in romantic comedies with leading actresses and actors of the baby boomer generation. Content and textual analysis of 41 film trailers found a lack of individuality with many adhering to successful aging concepts and traditional gender roles. Additionally, age and associated effects including anxiety of death and the midlife transformation are supposed to be overcome, often with romance. Nevertheless, as directed in successful aging active engagement, sexual lives, high wealth and prime physical bodies was expected. However, the older characters are continuously compared to younger characters and both men and women desire the youthful bodies. This participatory research adds to the body of research on film trailers and aging in film, but is also applicable to the film industry as new films should include a variety of older characters in roles that embrace aging instead of pitying older adults.

Access

Open Access

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