Aging Boobs: Would a Lift Be So Wrong?

Watching Kabluey the other night, I was delighted to see that Lisa Kudrow is letting the camera record her age (45), at least in this movie. Her part required her to look haggard and beaten down, but not necessarily mid-forties; in this business, it takes some guts to show your age, especially if you’re female. Helen Hunt, born the same year, looks 45 in Then She Found Me, which is good, except that as the director, she cast herself as a 39-year-old trying to conceive. Does this mean that she thinks that she still looks 39 onscreen? I like Helen Hunt, so I hope that she isn’t deluding herself. A while back I found I Could Never Be Your Woman unwatchable because Michelle Pfeiffer has had so much work done that I feel creepy looking at her. See, everybody should be in charge of their own body and if someone wants to get a little plastic surgery done, fine. Their perogative. But as a movie-goer, it’s my perogative to choose not to go to films that creep me out. Sorry, Michelle. In the movie she’s the October in a May/October relationship, which is good, but that face. Whew.

And as soon as I say that, here comes Aging Gracefully with Michelle Pfeiffer.

The common trope on women is: “Except for occasional supporting roles as mothers (who are never germane to the plot), Hollywood actresses disappear from the screen at about age 35 or certainly by 40. After a few years of exile, they turn up as has-been semi-celebrities on reality shows then disappear again until they age into grande dames like Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.” (Ronni Bennett) Somehow I’ve been thinking that there are more women of middle age in the movies now than there used to be. True or false? Women who never stoped working, like Geneviève Bujold and Charlotte Rampling. Hmm. In their forties or older: Nicole Kidman, Lucy Liu, Laura Linney, Demi Moore, Julia Roberts, Holly Hunter, Meg Ryan, Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Mary McConnell, Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, Alfre Woodward, Geena Davis, Stockard Channing, Frances Conroy, Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn. I keep thinking of more. Angelica Houston. Lily Tomlin. Sarah Palin. Debra Winger. Catherine Deneuve. Got to stop. Signorney Weaver, Isabella Rossallini, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Adjani, Lili Taylor, Jane Curtain. Got… to… let… it… go. Janeane Garofalo. Julie Delpy. Sharon Stone. And by the way, Helen Mirren was never out of work, nor was Maggie Smith, nor was Dame Dench.

I remember how pleased I was when Pacino let his age show, in movies like… hmm… when did he start looking ravaged? Heat? Scent of a Woman?. Not like Cary Grant in North By Northwest or Gable in Teacher’s Pet – geezers romancing younger women. I like Grant and Gable but having them nuzzling young dishes in their late 50s… Ugh. To me, Gable and Doris Day in a clinch has not aged well. Meanwhile, my hat is off to Clint Eastwood for making Laura Linney his daughter instead of his squeeze in Absolute Power. He was pushing it with Streep in Madison County (she’s 19 years younger than he is). And Redford and Deniro just throw their aging mugs up there onscreen without feathers. So too Woody Allen, but thank God he’s finally stopping pairing himself with young women. Btw, Paul Newman. RIP. There was a guy who looked great all the way through. Burt Reynolds, once, just once, take off the rug. In Leatherheads, Renee Zellweger, 39, claims to be 29; does she mean it or was that just a character lying about her age? Stallone, ok, he’s had so much work done that he’s entered the realm of the weird but for some reason that doesn’t bother me at all. There he is in the latest Rambo, totally unwrinkled and supposedly a guy living as a snake-catcher out in the bushes and that totally works for me. On the other hand, what is it with Mathew Broderick? I kept staring at him in Then She Found Me, trying to figure out what’s strange about his face. He looks like a recovered burn victim. I googled his name along with “work done” and all I got were hits about his wife’s plastic surgery (Sarah Jessica Parker’s, that is). Bottom line: skip the lift. P.S.: Parker Posey, Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh, Mary Kay Place, Dianne Weist.

05/13/10  I typed “actresses over…” into the Google search bar the other night and up came lots of prompts for “actresses over 40,” “actresses over 50,” etc. There are so many older actresses now that the question is why, what has changed? Why the concepts of cougar and MILF? I heard one talking head speculate that the baby boomers, who have been influencing, if not driving, cultural trends since the 60s, are unwilling to give up on sexuality and romance, age be damned.

May 24, 2010 – Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle) published a little article last week in which he discussed the increased number of women over 40 in the movies.  He pointed out that by that age, stars like Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth were showing signs of wear and tear, whereas today, actors are staying in better shape longer. Less booze? Less smoking? A more mellow age, compared to the turbulent mid-century past? Boomers refusing to go quietly into the night? 40 is the new 30? I just watched Jennifer Aniston in Friends With Money (2006) and she has no problem playing what amounts to someone pre-30 with her head, etc., held high.

P.S., for research purposes, 11 who, over 50, pulled it off.

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2 Responses

  1. […] addressed these issues previously  here and here. The reader’s premise is no longer accurate. Back in the day, female stars lived […]

  2. Thanks for this. Maybe what I’m noticing more is that these women seldom show up in People Magazine or in movie theaters that are also playing Harry Potter. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Who, after all, would want to be photographed grocery shopping on a Saturday morning and then have that photograph show up everywhere? What’s bad is something you mention in that other post —> (over there), which is that there aren’t a lot of movies about people in this age range, and there are a lot of people who’d like to see those movies. So the answer isn’t sexism really. It’s stupidity.

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