Opinion: Implications of attending an 'older-person movie'

The first subtle hint that I'd gone to see an older-person movie was when I arrived at the cinema and the place was packed with people who were older – a tiny tell-tale sign, easy to miss.

There were older people schmoozing, older people chatting, older people buying tickets at the box office, using up to 18 different discount cards – movie club cards, VIP gold cards, seniors cards, healthcare cards, pension cards, and gift-voucher cards, so at the end of each transaction, the cinema had to hand over cash, and also a free packet of Pods Snickers.

Another small clue that I'd gone to see an older-person movie was when I popped into the men's toilet before the film started.

There were a bunch of older men standing at the urinal, struggling to squeeze out a trickle, looking panicky because the movie was starting in 15 minutes and time was running out.

And the urinal standing-step was kind of soupy because older men don't have the bladder-force to get anything past their shoes.

My older-person-movie suspicions really kicked in when I took my seat in the cinema and an older couple were sitting near me, communicating in snacking noises because they'd been together for so many decades, they had nothing left to say in human-language.

The man unwrapped a Werther's Original Chewy Caramel, the woman replied with a slurp of sparkling wine. Then the cinema lights went down, the movie started, and an older guy in front told them to shush by turning around and gnawing aggressively on his Baileys and Almond Choc-Top.

I was about 99 per cent sure that this was going to be an older-person movie when the pre-title production credits began to roll.

There were dozens of film company logos, they just went on and on, because there's not a huge market for older-person movies, so they have to be financed in $20 deals.

By the time the actual title came up, 10 minutes had passed, and half the audience ducked out to top up their sparkling wine, the other half rushed out because a bit more trickle was coming.

And now I was definitely plunged into the depths of an older-person movie.

It was called A Quiet Passion. Not A Noisy Passion, not Exxxtraordinary EuroBabes Moans of Passion. Just quiet, and very well-behaved.

It was a biopic about the 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson and it was painfully slow, painfully well-shot, and everyone spoke in Wildean witticisms which I didn't understand, but the older people around me chuckled knowingly, many of them old enough to remember the golden age of comedy back in the 1870s.

The whole film was pretty much just people in dark rooms dying of horrible illnesses, and women in dark rooms talking about art, religion and inequality, so the film could have also been called Death Rattle: the Movie, or The Bechdel Test: Pass!

Forty hours later, the movie finished and the audience shuffled out of the cinema, making older-person movie-references to the Kubrickian large aperture natural-light cinematography, and how they preferred Terence Davies' earlier, slower, more bleaker directorial efforts.

And I shuffled out with them, nodding in agreement, then I ducked into the men's toilet with a bunch of older men, and as we all lined up at the urinal, it dawned on me.

Hang on … maybe I'm one of them ... maybe I'm an older person too. Yes, it took ages. Yes, a trickle. Yes, shoes.