You know how sometimes you just feel old? I’ve felt this way on and off throughout my life, even when I was decidedly NOT old. Sometimes I think it’s having kids. I ADORE my kids. They are the crowning achievement of my life. But it’s hard to have a bushel-full of kids and not feel, well, matronly.

Then again, I think life can make us feel old, too. There is nothing sexy about bills, cooking, and housework. Unless you have a hot, shirtless man to watch you sign checks, cook you dinner, and vacuum in his skivvies.

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There are lots of ways I remind myself that I’m still young, that the possibility of adventure and romance is still right around the corner. I buy myself new clothes or lingeries, plan future exotic vacations, try new makeup, or get a sexy new haircut. But sometimes all I need is a great book or movie to put things in perspective.

And that is why I have SO got you covered.

These are my go-to movies when I need to remind myself that I’m not dead yet. And that the next breathless romance and daring adventure might be right around the corner.

ADORE

Is it weird that my #1 features two middle-aged women who fall in love with each other’s sons? I thought it would be weird, too, but I was pleasantly surprised when I finally watched Adore to find that it was a beautiful, intriguing, and slightly unsettling story. The scenery is GORGEOUS (Australian coast), and Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are luminous, proving that there can definitely be something sexy about a woman of a certain age.

LAUREN CANYON

I absolutely love this movie for Frances McDormand’s portrayal of a bohemian, middle-age music producer whose uptight son returns with his equally (or so it seems) uptight fiancee. Complexity ensues when his mother’s free-and-easy lifestyle (musician, younger lover) starts to rub off on the son’s future wife, making both of them question everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other. Frances McDormand shines as a middle aged woman who refuses to be defined by convention.

UNFAITHFUL

I know this is dark, but stick with me here. If you haven’t seen UNFAITHFUL, you must, if only for the captivating cinematography. The camera shots are truly a work of art, but this one makes my list because Diane Lane is the epitome of gorgeous, and the object of her desire is an unbelievably sexy Frenchman who is, get this, a rare book dealer. This trailer isn’t great, but the movie is one of my all time faves. And let’s be honest, it’s nice to just contemplate a scandalous affair with a gorgeous Frenchman. One of the things I love most about this is a scene in which Diane Lane’s character runs into some old friends. They marvel privately at how great she looks (while she’s having a quickie in the bathroom with her lover), which for me is a just a reminder that passion does have the side effect of keeping one vital and ravishing. ūüėČ

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

Smart is the new hot, and I love this movie for its story of a middle-aged reporter who decides the cure for her boring life is to travel to Afghanistan as a reporter. Best part; it’s based on a true story. And while there is a romantic element, the movie is mostly about strength and resolve and the ability to reinvent yourself at any point, which is basically my mantra. The trailer doesn’t do it justice. There are a lot of funny parts, but it really moved me, too, and the trailer doesn’t do a great job of showing the more heartfelt aspects of this terrific movie. If you’re in a need of an adventure – or at least the reminder that you can still HAVE an adventure – you will love this one.

RIDE

This one was such a pleasant surprise! I found it surfing (no pun intended *snort*) Netflix one night and fell in love with the story of an ambitious, overprotective mother who finds herself taking surfing lessons to try and connect with her teenage son. It’s funny at times, but it has a lot of heart, and Helen Hunt is beautiful, sexy, and proof¬†that it’s never too late to learn something new.

EAT PRAY LOVE

When I was a teenager, I never wanted to go to Paris or Rome like my friends. Instead I dreamed of India and Africa, Morocco and Egypt. I wanted real adventure, and that impulse has never quite left me. I know¬†the book is better,¬†but the movie is worth keeping on stand by when you need a window into the larger world – spiritual and geographical – that exits beyond your front door. I have a soft spot in my heart for this story in general, because it’s the book that turned me onto meditation. And that¬†has changed my life.

HIDEOUS KINKY

When I first saw this movie I was completely captivated. It’s set in the 70s and stars Kate Winslet as a (totally irresponsible – don’t copy that part) mother who takes her two young daughters to Morocco. The movie straddles the line between painting Winslet’s character¬†in an unflattering light and giving voice to that feeling so many women have that there must be something MORE. Now that my kids are almost grown, I can contemplate having an adventure in Morocco without the guilt of dragging my children along for the ride, but even if you’re not there yet (or ever, because this isn’t your kind adventure) it’s a nostalgic return to the free-wheeling 70s and an era when it was actually possible to travel to places like this without the kind of anxiety we live with now.

UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN

Okay, this isn’t a GREAT movie. And the trailer! Yikes! (Can we just agree that no studio should ever, and I mean EVER, use a voice over like this one in a trailer?) But it’s fun and inspiring, and we’re back to Diane Lane, who somehow manages to be sexy no matter her age. Also,¬†who hasn’t fantasized about picking up and moving to a foreign country, where of course, we would all meet a handsome man with an accent who would sweep us off our feet?

CHOCOLATE

If you’re looking for something a little more old fashioned, this is the movie for you. The ever-radiant Juliet Binoche plays a single mother who moves to a small, puritanical French town just after the war. She’s ready for a fresh start – but the town is far from ready for her brand of hedonism. It’s a charming tale with just the right amount of romance (with Johnny Depp no less) and a good reminder that the pleasures of life are far preferable to the piety of restraint. I’m posting a clip on this one, because the trailer is truly insufferable.

SEX AND THE CITY

Oh, SATC, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I’m posting the trailer for the first movie here (don’t even bother with the second one!), but the series is also fantastic. Yes, I know it’s not very realistic. I know no one could really afford a cute little apartment in a good New York City neighborhood on a freelance writer’s salary while also buying their weight in Manolo Blahniks. But Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda are a case study in fabulousness, and this seems especially important given that they¬†are in their 30s-50s during the run of the show and through the movie. Sometimes when I’m wearing yoga pants yet again, it’s nice to be reminded I¬†can still be fabulous if I really want to –¬†even¬†at the age of 46.

So there you go! Grab some popcorn, pour some champagne, and celebrate the fact that your next adventure is ready when you are.

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