The Weather Man (2005)
The Mid-Life Crisis: David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is one of the few guys on this list who is actually successful in his job and enjoys it.
That in itself is part of the problem, though, as the general public berate him by throwing foot at him. Meanwhile, as David struggles to live up to his high-flying father, his dad is diagnosed with lymphoma…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: With a literal deadline hanging over his head (where his father’s concerned, anyway), David finally makes the right decisions. And not a moment too soon.
The Swimmer (1968)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Ad exec Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) takes the long road home, swinging by the swimming pools of everybody he knows en route to his house.
Along the way, though, he’s faced with some hard truths that reveal this guy isn’t as clean-cut and successful as he pretends.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Sure, Ned’s taken down a peg or two, but at least he gets some exercise out of it.
The Mid-Life Crisis: Low on money, luck and work, Jean-Claude Van Damme can’t seem to catch a break – and things only get worse when he ends up in a bank that’s being held up by money-grabbing thieves.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: We’re not going to lie, this one’s pretty bleak.
One plus: JCVD does get one over on a bank robber.
The Bridges Of Madison County (1995)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Italian war bride Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) gives in to temptation when she has a fling with photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood).
This is while her husband and two kids are away at the Illinois State Fair. Naughty Fran.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Hey, at least these two got four days of bliss.
That’s more than most people will ever see.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Cal (Steve Carell) is so upset when his wife (Julianne Moore) reveals she’s been having an affair that he throws himself out of a moving vehicle.
After that (physical and mental) tumble, he moves out of the family home and sets up shop on a barstool where his desperation hangs around him in a female-repelling cloud.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: In a word: Jacob (Ryan Gosling).
This rather fetching lothario takes pity on Cal and swoops in to help him.
Cue a makeover of the wardrobe and the soul, which helps Cal get his wife (and family) back together.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is quite happily tumbling through life when he suddenly starts hearing a voice that narrates his every move.
Which only gets worse when the voice predicts his impending death…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Your life’s being narrated by Emma Thompson.
We’d kill to have that happen to us.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Nobody wants to grow old, but that universal truth is especially true for actress Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep).
She’s so desperate to turn back the clock that she makes a deal with the devil (or near enough) for an elixir that will make her as firm, upward-pointing and glowing as she was at the height of her youth.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Madeline’s mid-life crisis results in her looking the best she ever has.
Which has to be a positive.
About A Boy (2002)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Selfish, arrogant, comfortable in his arrested development, Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) has his life turned upside down when he befriends bullied youngster Marcus (Nicholas Hoult).
Can he overcome his own shortcomings and finally be a man?
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Will might not be the most put-together of people, but at least his pop culture trivia is red hot.
This Is 40 (2013)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Debbie (Leslie Mann) is turning 40, a fact that both horrifies and terrifies her – almost as much as the knowledge that hubbie Pete (Paul Rudd) took Viagra to have sex with her on her birthday.
Debbie’s self-doubt is only compounded by the presence of Desi (Megan Fox), who works at her boutique and still has everything pointing skyward…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: It all sounds rather miserable, but this is a Judd Apatow comedy, which means there are laughs aplenty.
The film also acts as filmic counselling for anybody heading for the big four-oh themselves. Bargain.
Wonder Boys (2000)
The Mid-Life Crisis: Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) isn’t exactly having the best of times. His wife’s just left him, and he can’t seem to finish his second novel.
Meanwhile, his editor (Robert Downey Jr) is more interested in a novel one of Grady’s students has written than anything Grady’s come up with.
Which explains why he smokes so much pot…
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Things are pretty bleak, but at least Grady’s caught the eye of hot young thing Hannah (Katie Holmes).