Age is just a number, they say. And this seems very true when we talk about love. Honestly, why do we love a person? Do we think and fall in love? No, we don’t. It’s just a feeling that strikes you. It’s just so many things that make us truly love a person. You love a person for the way they walk, talk, smell, smile and most importantly for who they are.
We don’t often really care about age but age difference bring in a lot of complexities to relationships and there are many films that have explored such relationships. Here’s a look at the list of top age gap romance movies ever where despite the age disparity passions fly. You can watch some of these best age gap movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
15. Frankie and Johnny (1991)
The age disparity aspect isn’t the central focus of the film here but it’s clear that Johnny is a middle aged man and Frankie is a much younger woman. Starring the great Al Pacino and the gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer, the film depicts the relationship between a lonely middle aged man who is just released from prison and gets a job at a cafe where he meets and falls in love with a young waitress who is yet to recover from the heartbreak of her last relationship. It’s a lovely film so full of warmth and coziness with a rare realistic tone in a genre otherwise known for being downright cheesy and stupid.
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14. American Beauty (1999)
Perhaps a controversial pick. The relationship between Lester and Angela in ‘American Beauty’ isn’t really romantic. Lester is suffering from a mid-life crisis and is basically bored with his life. Out of this sheer nothingness in life, Lester gets infatuated with Angela, his teenage daughter’s best friend. Lester begins to fantasize about her in his dreams and you could feel a kind of sexual tension between the two. But the beauty of the story lies in how Lester’s seemingly absurd infatuation leads him into gateway of his own self. He finds meaning in life, accepts hopelessness and realizes what it really means to exist but perhaps it’s all too late now.
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13. Notes on a Scandal (2006)
Disturbing little film about a school teacher who falls for one of her teenage students. Soon, they both start having a passionate affair. But things get complex when an older teacher, who also romantic designs on her, and viciously exposes her for having an affair after blackmailing her for a time. Blanchett is superb as the vulnerable teacher, knowing what she is doing is wrong, but then is stunned at the level of treachery the older woman, brilliantly played by Judi Dench who lashes out at her. It is a sensual film but it is also downright frightening at times.
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12. Lolita (1962)
Stanley Kubrick’s bizarrely romantic black comedy drama tells the story of a middle aged man who is sexually attracted to a gorgeous teenager. Humbert is offered by a sexually frustrated widow to stay at her house which he initially declines but accepts it after he sees her teenage daughter. The film is certainly not on the level of Kubrick’s greatest works but is still an excellent work with a bizarrely eccentric tone that has always been one of Kubrick’s trademarks. The film was controversial for its bold subject and tone and wasn’t well received by critics at the time but it has now developed a fan following among Kubrickians.
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11. Copenhagen (2014)
This indie gem is a coming of age drama that tells the story of a young man who arrives at Copenhagen in order to discover the true identity of his father and his mysterious past. However, he feels stranded in an alien country and soon meets a young waitress who offers help as a guide and translator so that they can track down his grandfather’s address. Through their journey, they learn about themselves and each other and begin to develop strong feelings for each other but the man soon realizes that the woman he’s fallen in love with is a school going kid, almost half his age. ‘Copenhagen’ is a memorable journey into discovering your frailties, weakness, fears and how one person could bring about a magical change in our lives.
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10. Harold and Maude (1971)
‘Harold and Maude’ has an almost creepy storyline. A 20 year old obsessed with suicide meets an optimistic 80 year old and they develop a romantic relationship. The awkward tone the film maintains throughout is quite fascinating and the way it depicts such a strange and unusual relationship with such warmth, humor and humanity is simply astounding. The film did not sit well with audiences and critics back when it was released in 1971 for very obvious reasons but it has managed to attain a strong cult following among cinephiles and after frequent revisits and revaluation, critics have considered the film to be one of the funniest films ever made.
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9. The Graduate (1967)
The one entry, I assume, that wouldn’t surprise our readers. ‘The Graduate’ defined romance and sexuality for a generation and it continues to resonate in the way it captures the madness, frailties and excitement of youth. ‘The Graduate’ tells the story of a 21 year old Benjamin Braddock, with no aim in life who is seduced by the wife of his father’s business partner. They develop an unlikely relationship but things take a turn when the ever confused Benjamin falls in love with her daughter. The film is a funny, honest depiction of youth, romance and the inherent uncertainties of human relationships and destiny. It’s sad, hilarious and so beautifully emotional.
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8. As Good As it Gets (1997)
Age is just a number for the great Jack Nicholson. The man defines charisma and just oozes class here in every frame he’s in. He was 60 when he did this film but not for a moment did you feel any kind of awkwardness here when he was dating a 34 year old Helen Hunt in the film. That’s what flamboyance and charisma is all about. ‘As Good As it Gets’ is a sweet little romantic comedy that tells the story of a misanthropic, annoying, obsessive-compulsive writer, played by Nicholson, who has to take care of his neighbor’s dog. He falls in love with a waitress, almost half his age, who is a single mother with a chronically ill son. The film beautifully establishes the characters and their relationships, taking its time to build the story. It’s wonderfully made with some fine performances by Nicholson and Hunt both of who won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively.
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7. Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Bernardo Bertolucci’s magnum opus is one of the most controversial films ever made. The film focuses on a man, recovering from his wife’s death, who develops an anonymous sexual relationship with a much younger woman. The film is a profoundly liberating piece of pure erotic cinema that just melts you in its gorgeously painful depiction of the human condition. It’s so emotionally raw, dark and tragic beyond words. The film has Marlon Brando delivering one of the greatest acting performances of all time.
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6. The Reader (2008)
‘The Reader’ tells the story of a boy who develops a sexual relationship with an older woman. They first meet when the boy feels sick while travelling in a tram and later meet up in her apartment where she seduces him and they make love. They begin to see each other more frequently in her apartment and she insists he reads literary works he’s studying after they make love every time. However, her past comes back to haunt her and this wrecks their relationship, leaving a lasting impact on the two. ‘The Reader’ is a gorgeously flawed masterpiece that so beautifully depicts an enigmatic relationship fraught with simmering rage and implosive madness.
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5. Lost in Translation (2003)
‘Lost in Translation’ is a sweetly melancholic tale of love, loneliness and ennui. The film depicts the relationship between a middle aged American actor and a much younger American woman who happen to meet in a hotel in Tokyo. They are seemingly lost in a world and culture so alien so alien to them and begins to discover themselves in each other despite their age difference. These are two souls stuck in very different phases of life and yet they seem to have some sort of a connection between them. Their relationship seems platonic but it has a very ambiguous tone and we could never really know what Bob whispered in Charlotte’s ear and perhaps that’s the beauty of life. The beauty of unknown….
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4. The Piano Teacher (2001)
It’s impossible to pen down a Michael Haneke film for such a short write-up. So let’s just get straight to the point. ‘The Piano Teacher’ explores a disturbing sexual relationship between a middle aged piano teacher and her handsome young student. Erika’s mother controls her sexual life and this has turned her into a shattered soul with sadomasochistic fantasies including self-mutilation. Her tumultuous relationship with Walter changes radically and he becomes disgusted with her. This shatters Erika and she throws herself into the darkest abyss of human existence. ‘The Piano Teacher’ is a film that would disturb, devastate and move you in ways you haven’t been before.
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3. Manhattan (1979)
Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ is a film that changed my understanding and perceptions of human relationships and the beautiful absurdities of the human nature. Like any other Woody Allen film, this is so much more than just a cute little romantic comedy. The film centers around Allen’s character Issac, a divorced New Yorker who is in a relationship with a high school girl, Tracy. The problem is that Issac considers himself to be far too matured to be in a relationship with this little girl and so he ends up falling in love with a woman of his age, the mistress of his best buddy. But things don’t work out and Issac soon realizes that Tracy was his true love and that she loved him with all her heart despite his arrogance and narcissism. But perhaps life is just a beautifully wrapped up box of missed chances and it’s this realization that makes ‘Manhattan’ so profoundly moving.
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2. Three Colors: Red (1994)
There is something so inexplicably magical about the way Kieslowski just strikes you on an emotional level. ‘Red’ was my first ever Kieslowski film and I was completely in awe of its beauty. The film depicts the relationship between a young woman and a cynical old judge who spies on the people around him by listening to their conversations. At first their worlds seem vastly different but there’s something between them that would later develop into a deeply intimate bond. Their relationship isn’t explicitly romantic but you do get a feeling that they could be lovers and Kieslowski hints us with that in many scenes, most notably in that beautiful scene where Jean-Louis Trintignant’s character says goodbye to Valentine and they both place their hands on the car’s window before he drives away. It’s a simple scene but speaks volumes of intimacy of their relationship.
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1. A Short Film About Love (1988)
‘A Short Film About Love’ is a film that has grown on me tremendously with time. The way Kieslowski manages to portray the sheer tenderness of love here is simply beyond words. The film explores the relationship between a teenage boy and an older promiscuous woman whom he spies on from his window. She does not believe in love and is way beyond the naivety of a teenager who thinks he’s in love but is only infatuated with her. She dismisses his feelings but later begins to see his love. The ‘Dekalog’ version of the film has a slightly better ending, in my opinion with the boy realizing that it was not love and just a mere sexual fantasy. This was far more powerful and tragic than the more fairy tail-ish ending of the movie. However, it remains one of the greatest romantic films ever made.
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