Cast aside: Exploring the presence of older characters in British films
This paper looks at the inclusion of older characters in British films over the last decade, how often they're included and how they're portrayed.
Older characters are underrepresented in British films, with only one in ten older characters involved in major plotline.
As Ageing Better’s previous research has highlighted, the language and imagery used across society related to ageing and older people is overwhelmingly negative. Ageing is associated with decline and ill-health, and older people are commonly portrayed as frail, vulnerable and dependent.
The media, advertising, film, and TV are some of the most obvious perpetrators of the stereotyping that feeds our prejudices about ageing and underpins discrimination across society.
This short report explores the inclusion of older characters in British films between 2010 and 2022. To get a sense of how portrayals might be changing, we looked at films across three time points.
Among other key findings, the research looks at how the number of older characters on our screens doesn't reflect the population, and how older women are those most absent from British films.