Mothers in little flicks
It is all too easy for a female actor to find herself cast as the mother of someone who once played her boyfriend as soon as she blows out the candles on her 35th birthday cake. This has long been an accepted fact of Hollywood life, and one that most women keep schtum about as they know they should be grateful to get any roles at all in their decrepit post-30s.
But last weekend, Hope Davis finally broke ranks to admit she was somewhat "peeved" when she was recently offered a role playing the mother of Johnny Depp, a concept that would have tested the skills of the most talented special effects department, seeing as Davis was actually born the year after Depp.
Angelina Jolie seemed to take being cast as Colin Farrell's mother in Alexander with good grace, despite being only a year older than him. But then again, maybe she was too busy considering whether she should adopt him to bother to take offence. Then there's Forrest Gump, in which Sally Field plays Tom Hanks's mother: not only is Field only a decade older than Hanks, but only six years before she was playing opposite him as his romantic interest in the movie Punchline.
Lea Thompson was exactly the same age as Michael J Fox - 24 - when she played his mother in Back to the Future, while Elizabeth Taylor was a mere four years older than Dennis Hopper when she played his mother in Giant.
Quite why film directors are so averse to having middle-aged roles played by middle-aged women comes down to male insecurity and misogyny. In regards to the former, if the mother is played by, say, a thirtysomething, that would suggest that the male lead must be still a teenager. Yes, yes, Mel, the years may have passed for Glenn Close but you're still a lithe, hot young thing. As for the more obvious issue of misogyny, the sense of disgust of older women is so deeply entrenched in Hollywood that even when the role is specifically for an older woman, no one wants to see an actual older woman on screen. Far better to haul in Angelina and sod the obvious discrepancies.
I'm not sure I buy the author's reasoning here.
I highly doubt that male stars demand women their age to be cast as their mothers for vanity reasons.
As for the ''sense of disgust,'' there is some truth to that, as we see in the Botoxed and lifted faces of many an aging female star.
But really, it all comes down to economics. Most of these movies play to younger male audiences, and not many 17 year old boys would be attracted to a Susan Sarandon or a Meryl Streep. If there is a female role at all in these films, it better be filled by a hot young chick to bring 'em in to the box office.
It isn't called MILF for nothing.
Go read the whole thing and get back to me.