Pete Croatto currently reviews movies for ICON, a Philadelphia-area A&E monthly magazine. His writing on movies has appeared in the Weekender, Creative Screenwriting, Home Media Magazine and FilmCritic.com, where he was a senior critic from 2002 to 2007. As a full-time, freelance writer and editor, Croatto has also written essays, features and humor pieces. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Grantland—ESPN’s sports and pop-culture website—Publishers Weekly and Philadelphia. You can follow him on Twitter, @PeteCroatto.
The Intern, 2015, USA, 121 min.
is a Nancy Meyers movie, for sure—all sunny skies and characters with straight teeth living in Brooklyn brownstones straight from Architectural Digest
. At first glance, it’s another one of Meyers’ puddle-deep salutes to woe among upwardly mobile seniors (It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give
). But the longer you stay with it, the more Meyers wins you over with her tale of two colleagues falling into a friendship. Of course, it helps to have Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway obliterating the artifice. Read more...
Grace and Frankie (Season 1, 2015), 13 episodes, available on Netflix streaming
What’s nice about Grace and Frankie
—aside from seeing Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda stretching their comedic wings—is how it looks at the golden years with reality and humor. That theme runs throughout the first 13 episodes of the series. Even when the show veers toward the farcical, we root for the title characters—two not-quite friends whose lengthy marriages come to an abrupt end—far more than we recoil at their actions. Read more...
The Age of Adaline, 2015, USA, 112 min.
Old age is frequently viewed as a flaw, as if those over 45 are incapable of enjoying life because they’re too slow, too jaded, too everything. The Age of Adaline
scoffs at that notion. This charming, romantic fable doesn’t venerate youth, even though its title character has been a beautiful young woman for nearly 80 years. Read more...
While We’re Young, 2014, USA, 97 min.
Getting old doesn’t just happen. You age every day, until like Cornelia and Josh in writer-director Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young
, you wonder how the hell you got here
. The bittersweet fun of Baumbach’s tart comedy is how Cornelia and Josh keep dodging the hard truth: they don’t have the energy—or the stomach—to stay young. Yet they try longer than they should. We understand why. We’ve been there or soon will be. Reality bites. Read more...
Woman in Gold, 2015, UK, USA, 109 min.
Woman in Gold
is an unabashed crowd pleaser. Like 2013’s Philomena
, Woman in Gold
is based on a true story involving an older woman resolving her past. But we don’t mind the similarity. The performances here are sturdy and winning; the emotions feel true. Woman in Gold
works to win our affections. Read more...
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2015, USA, 122 min.
The nicest thing about The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
(2011)—where a group of senior Brits get recharged in India and in a creaky hotel—was how relatable it felt. Following the characters through their highs and lows was far from a chore. Read more...
Still Alice, 2014, USA, 101 min.
tracks a family’s changing dynamics after a life-shattering diagnosis and serves as a showcase for Julianne Moore, whose beautiful, freshly Oscar-winning work allows us to see her family’s struggles as part of the title character’s long, losing battle with herself. The movie proceeds at an uncomfortably languid pace until the end, when we’re shaken. Read more...