Age Cut

A type of Match Cut that shows a character aging, sometimes from A Minor Kidroduction. Often, different actors are used for the young and old version of the character. By showing both in the same position and location, it is shown that it is the same person, only older.

One common version of this trope starts with a slow zoom in on a characters eyes, which then cuts to the older version and zooms out. Another is to dissolve from one version to another.

The same technique can be used to start a flashback, in which case the character gets younger.


Examples:

Film (Animated)
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Lady and the Tramp uses a series of dissolves to show Lady growing from a puppy to an adult as she sleeps on the Darlings' bed, both establishing her aging and the Darlings' affection for her (when she first slept there, Mrs. Darling said "Only for tonight"; obviously, they didn't stick to that).
    • Done in The Lion King during "Hakuna Matata" to demonstrate Simba's aging, as scene in the image header. Parodied in The Lion King One And Ahalf, where Timon walks across the log and groans, "I'm going to get old walking across this thing".
    • In Tarzan, during the "Son of Man" number.
    • In The Princess and the Frog, the movie opens with a young Tiana running out her bedroom door after being scared by a frog at night. The sun rises, and when the door opens again adult Tiana enters the room.
    • Also used in Treasure Planet to transition from the young Jim Hawkins in his bed to the older Jim riding his hoverboard.
  • One song sequence in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation consists of a number of these.
  • Near the end of Ringing Bell, the wolf actually throws Chirin into a puddle during a test to prove that the lamb will become a fearsome predator like him. When Chirin gets back up, there are two small horns now growing out of his head.
  • Used in The Princess and the Pea when Daria looks at her reflection in a pond.
  • Also used in Quest for Camelot when Kayley looks at her reflection in water.
  • In The Prince of Egypt Moses goes through one of these, shown by his beard growing between pulling on a rope to set up one tent and repeating the action on another. That he still looks so youthful is strange, as in the original Biblical version, Moses spends 40 YEARS in the desert, aging from 40 to 80. In the film version, it's more like 20 to 25.
  • In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the opening flashback skips 10 years by showing a young Alex jumping into the air and then cutting to adult Alex landing in the same spot.

Film (Live Action)
  • As seen at the start of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the scene cuts from young Elizabeth Swann to her older counterpart, where, suddenly, all her freckles have disappeared.
  • This happens with Elrond in the first The Lord of the Rings movie, as he talks to Gandalf about the past. Note that in this case, both Elronds look exactly the same age, despite several thousand years passing. Elves age more slowly than Men.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy's hat momentarily blocks his face for this cut.
  • In Conan the Barbarian (1982), the Age Cut happens when Conan is working the Wheel of Pain. We first see him as a child slave, then in adolescence and lastly is adulthood, still turning the wheel.
  • The ending of Zardoz involves an extended Age Cut of Zed (Sean Connery, in his most pantless role), his wife, and child. Of note is that the child is conceived, born, and ages and leaves over the course of this particular Age Cut.
    • There's a strangely similar extended cut (including child growing up and leaving) with the Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz (her RL husband) in the "Road to Nowhere" video.
  • The ending of Kung Fu Hustle does something similar.
  • Played at the ending of the film Saving Private Ryan. The beginning also seems to be one, since we don't know if the old man is Tom Hanks (Miller) or Matt Damon (Ryan). But it cuts to Miller, and he is Ryan.
  • American Splendor: Happens before the opening credits with the young Harvey Pekar kicking the bag while walking in a miserable mood. It cuts to an adult Pekar still in a miserable mood.
  • Ghost Rider combines a close up on the eyes with digital morphing. The effect is ultimately bizarre: the two actors have different eye colors (ditto National Treasure). And the generic-looking actor turning into the much more distinctive-looking Nicolas Cage.
  • The zoom on eyes version happened to Rose in Titanic (1997), when she was being painted.
    Bill Corbett: He drew me for seventy years.
    • Also happens to the eponymous ship at the beginning of the film.
  • Martin Scorsese'sThe Departed does this with Colin Sullivan. Also done in Raging Bull which goes from a fit Jake LaMotta in his 20s to a balding, out-of-shape LaMotta in his 40s.
  • At the beginning of Tommy Boy, exhaust billows from the school bus, covering the screen completely. When the smoke clears away, it shows the grown-up Tommy standing there having missed a smoking commuter bus.
  • This is done at the beginning of Casanova, with a dissolve from the child Giacomo to the adult Casanova, portrayed by Ledger. The little boy actually looks enough like Heath Ledger to be plausible, which isn't always the case.
  • In Matilda, this is done with the eponymous character going through two Age Cuts.
  • Almost Famous showed the 9-year-old protagonist's focus on a spinning record, dissolved to him doodling in class, and pulled back to reveal that he's now 15.
  • In the Robin Hood spinoff Princess of Thieves, we see Robin Hood's young daughter folding the blanket at the bottom of her bed, then we see the same scene with Kiera Knightley in the place of the young girl.
  • City of God has a "flashback/cuts to younger self" example, with the camera spinning around Rocket and stopping when he's a child.
  • Eragon appears to have this, with the young Saphira flying up behind a cloud and the adult Saphira flying down - but it's inexplicably averted, as the film implies that this massive growth happened in real-time, as the scene continues where it left off and the fast growth is not even handwaved.
  • Gypsy has a flickering dissolve during which June, Louise, and the boys are replaced by their older counterparts as they dance.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back began with one of these for its eponymous characters.
  • In The Lovely Bones, there is a scene where a picture of Susie as a toddler is shown which then cuts to a picture of her at fourteen.
  • In Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, the 1981 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, the main character sets her alarm clock and goes to bed. The film cuts to the alarm clock ringing to wake her up — twenty years later.
  • Heart and Souls has young Thomas in his bed bawling his eyes out as his friends disappear. Then it looks like he's putting on sunglasses but it morphs into him as older Thomas as he's driving.
  • Me, Myself, and Irene shows Jim Carrey and his three little sons (by another father) cheerfully watching television on the couch - time goes by and the sons have grown very, very big, making for a tight fit on the couch.
  • Star Trek, the film cuts away from young Spock sitting with his father on a bench at the end of a corridor. It then cuts to his mother calling him, and he's a young adult.
  • In Thor, we go from young Thor and Loki telling Odin each is ready to be king to a grown Thor having Mjolnr passed to him.
  • In Heart And Souls, there's an age cut between the young Thomas Reilly (the main character who is the guardian of four souls trapped from entering the afterlife) and the adult one played by Robert Downey, Jr., seamlessly transitioned with the young Thomas putting on a pair of shades.
  • Jean Renoir's 1951 film The River has a sequence with Melanie as a girl dancing and spinning round and around, and cuts to her as a young woman performing the same spinning dance. The spinning motion suggests the passage of time like the cycles of earth, moon, and sun by which time is measured.
  • Ayla in Clan of the Cave Bear gets exactly the same age cut as in The River: doing a spinning dance as a young girl, then suddenly spinning around as a young woman.
  • One of the most extreme age-cut sequences occurs to Jimmy Page in The Song Remains the Same, where the Hermit has Jimmy's face and rapidly ages in reverse from old man to child to fetus, and then forward again to old man.
  • In I Am Sam, we cut from Lucy age 3 to Lucy age 6 during shots on a swing in the park.
  • Kings Row has Parris Mitchell, aged 10 or so, hopping over the fence outside his family home. Cut to Bob Cummings as a grown-up Parris hopping over the fence in the other direction.

Live-Action TV
  • Every episode of Cold Case shows one or more two-second Age Cuts of each major player in the case, in conjunction with (though not as part of) a flashback.
  • Used often in Lost flashbacks involving a Timeshifted Actor. Frequently, these flashbacks will begin the episode, and then cut to the character on the island in the present.
  • Subverted in an episode of Scrubs: J.D. is imagining growing old with his girlfriend, and the shot fades into that of them in heavy old-people makeup. They take off the makeup onscreen a few seconds later, and it turns out they just wanted a picture of what they would look like old.
  • How I Met Your Mother subverts this. The main characters wonder if they're going to be waiting around a courthouse forever; it then fades from a shot of them sitting around to a group of similar-looking old people in the same clothing and positions. The characters walk around the corner a second later and complain that the old people took their seats.
  • The Growing Pains opening does this, once the show's been around long enough for the cast to have aged significantly between their introduction and that season (some for three or more distinct stages!).
  • Happens both in The Pacific and Band of Brothers, when the actual veterans memorize their war memories.
  • Played for laughs in Red Dwarf. Two workers in a pub discover someone has abandoned a Doorstop Baby.
    "Oh poor little mite. I wonder what will become of him? Something terrible, no doubt."
    Cut to Lister pulling a hideous face as he brushes his teeth.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The episode "Timeless" opens with Voyager wrecked on an ice planet, with the Sole Survivors trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Chakotay leaves a PADD on Janeway's desk during their private pre-launch dinner; cut to Chakotay finding it frozen into the surface fifteen years later. Also the climatic sequence cuts between Voyager following the Delta Flyer in its ill-fated maiden flight of the new drive system, and the Federation starship Challenger chasing the Delta Flyer in the future, to stop them illegally changing history.

Music
  • Squeeze, in their video for "Hourglass" is seen singing the chorus, cutting from line to line, dressed like infants, schoolboys, teenage punks, adult businessmen, old codgers, and five coffins.

Pinball
  • Data East's Batman pinball features the Joker as both "Young Jack" and "Old Jack" on the playfield.

Newspaper Comics
  • Funky Winkerbean used this trick to start off Time Skip II by zooming in on the younger Summer and Les' hands. The next panel showed a teenaged girl's hand holding Les', and the final panel showed a teenaged Summer and a middle-aged Les.

Theatre
  • The stage version of this is done in the musicals Damn Yankees and Mame by having the main character sit down to write at a desk with his back to the audience, and dimming the lights for a few moments so the actors can change places. (In Damn Yankees, Joe ends up younger due to his Deal with the Devil.)

Video Games
  • Used in an early cinematic in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, using a closeup on the secret apprentice's eyes.
  • Used in Mother 3 on Lucas, at the beginning of Chapter 4.
  • Used in Overlord II at the end of the prologue. The little Overlad swings his little club. Mid-swing he becomes a fearsome full-grown Overlord and his club becomes a huge axe.

Webcomics

Western Animation
  • This happens to Pebbles in The Flintstone Comedy Hour (later called The Flintstone Comedy Show in syndication) during one of "The Bedrock Rockers'" musical numbers. Specifically, it happens while she's on a swing.
  • Lampshaded in the Daffy Duck short "Nasty Quacks", when a baby Daffy ages along with the narrator's words.
    Daffy: Not so fast, ya crazy!
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode where Spongebob sells Pretty Patties, he apparently falls asleep and dreams one of these. He shouts to the world, "I'm ready!", and it cross-fades to a middle-aged Spongebob with a mustache saying "I'm ready!" with a nasally voice, then to an elderly Spongebob who gasps "I'm ready!" as his pineapple house rots away, and finally to a tombstone with the inscription "I'm ready", and an empty patch where his pineapple was.
  • The Futurama episode Jurassic Bark ends with cut after cut to follow Fry's dog waiting for him to come back, driving home the rather depressing ending.
  • In the The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City," four-year old Korra, demonstrating her status as a Child Prodigy, affects an intense expression as she Firebends directly into the camera, obscuring the scene with a burst of flame, which seventeen year-old Korra then disperses, wearing a matching expression.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Into the Astral Plane", Broken Ace and The Lancer Tygra is bitterly glowering when a closeup on his face begins a flashback, fading into a smiling, big-eyed, gawky, Adorkable adolescent version of himself.
  • Happens on Invader Zim with older teenaged Dib becoming an adult in Zim's simulation.
  • "Critter Sitters," the debut episode of Beetlejuice, has Beetlejuice commenting off-hand he wishes he were an infant, and thanks to his wordplay, he does become an infant. Lydia, who is now consigned to babysitting her own charge, B.J.'s and him, comments "Why don't you grow up?" The toddler Beetlejuice says "Gwow up?" and suddenly becomes fully grown again.
  • Popeye, The Ace Of Space has the sailor taken captive by a race of aliens who do experiments on him, one of which is to age him 100 years. Popeye eats some spinach but he eats too much—he regresses all the way to infancy. He spits some spinach out and returns to his regular age (which according to the aliens' device is 40 years old).
  • Done twice in The Simpsons: once for a Couch Gag in which the family ages and changes year by year, until eventually everyone is roboticized, and once at the beginning of "Holidays of Future Passed", framed by the "annual family Christmas photo", until 30 years have passed.