book cover - the silvering screen

The Silvering Screen: Old Age and Disability in Cinema

Popular films have always included older characters, but until about the turn of the millenium, old age usually played a supporting role onscreen. As the Baby Boomer population hits retirement, an explosion of films with aging as a central theme demands attention.

The Silvering Screen brings together theories from disability studies, critical gerontology, and cultural studies to show how the film industry connects old age with physical and mental disability. Sally Chivers examines Hollywood's mixed messages - the applauding of actors who portray the debilitating side of aging, while promoting a culture of youth - as well as the gendering of old age on film. The Silvering Screen makes a timely attempt to counter the fear of aging implicit in these readings by proposing alternate ways to value getting older.

Reviewers say...

"The book may offer real strength for any civil servants (especially policymakers and administrators), researchers, students, script writers, or sons or daughters who have not had personal experience with care homes. The read is revealing; I’d suggest that you press a copy into the hands of anyone in influence who needs such influencing."

Kenneth Rockwood
Canadian Journal on Ageing

"The Silvering Screen is an important book that makes a well conceived and realized contribution to scholarship. It is a book that addresses some urgent concerns about the imbricated discourses of disability in gendered and raced cinematic representations of old age. More importantly, it foregrounds some of Western culture’s pressing concerns about aging, its problematic meanings, and troubling material practices. The Silvering Screen deserves to be widely read."

Josephine Dolan
Canadian Literature

"Raising numerous crucial questions concerning the politics of aging, disability, and fi lmic representations of a stratifi cation of productive capacities, Chivers’s latest book is a must-read for critics working in feminist fi lm studies, cultural studies, gerontology, and disability studies."

Dilia Narduzzi
Review in Culture

"The Silvering Screen offers a valuable contribution to that growing movement in social gerontology which seeks to make sense of the intersections between age and disability."

Michael Mangan
Ageing & Society