Now please, don’t be offended. I have no intention of denigrating the talents of any of these actors, but it is an interesting thing to me how different the perceptions and expectations of older women actors in both countries come across.
I’ve just come back from seeing an excellent documentary/movie which felt just like taking tea with the gorgeous women we know and love in so many British dramas and films; all of them Dames: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins. Here’s the pic of them:
Three of them are 83, and Joan is 88. At no time do I remember seeing them play parts that were not entertaining and rich in character – often quirky characters but always absolutely riveting on screen. Note that they have grey hair, wrinkles, and no botox or plastic surgery apparent. Just some wonderful CHARACTERFUL faces.
In the prelude to seeing this film, the shorts were shown of this one from the USA that is coming: Bookclub. Four very fine actresses are in this as well, although it was marred for me for two reasons: 1) the silly premise – it just feels flippant and lightweight and revolves around four older women (all totally made up and glamorous in every shot!) and their love lives. 2) to some degree or other they were trying to look 30 years younger than they truly are. Oh, they were playing older women, but not as I know older women – these were women who relied heavily on looks and plastic surgery. Here they are:
If the goal is to try and look as young as you can, then they succeed. I go to movies or watch series on tv for much more than that. This is not a movie I’m interested in seeing AT ALL!! Admittedly, their ages range from Diane Keaton (72) through to Jane Fonda (83), so they’re a tad younger over all than the British women above, but what a different journey and experience they have had in their ongoing careers beyond their 40s.
Any of the movies or series I have seen the ladies in the top picture in, have been compelling viewing for me, and very much about women who are comfortable with who they are right now: Witty, funny, sarcastic, charming, and all of their vast experience is written upon their faces. I want to be like that in ten and twenty years myself.
The ladies in the lower pic have worked very hard to maintain their careers – I’ve never seen them play anything but attractive, funny women trying to bumble along in life with as much panache as they can. No other types or roles are apparently available to them any more.
My rave is over. My point is made. Be who you are and be glad, and grow old gracefully. Please.