Four women (Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen) have spent the last forty years bonding over their book club meetings. But when they read Fifty Shades of Grey together, they are inspired to make changes in their own lives, from finding new romances to rekindling old ones.
From hidden gems like The Good Girl, starring 21-year-old Jake Gyllenhaal and 32-year-old celebrity crush Jennifer Aniston to the decidedly darker The Reader, starring Kate Winslet in her Oscar-winning performance, these movies all took a stab at showing the real-world Olivia Wilde-Harry Styles dynamic on-screen, for better or for worse. Read on to see which of your favorite actors have coupled up with slightly-to-much older ladies for a movie romance.
András Vayda (Tom Berenger) grows up in a turbulent, war-torn Hungary, where he procures local girls for the occupying G.I.s during World War II. Disappointed by the girls his age, he meets Maya (Karen Black), a married woman in her 30s, who tutors him in love and romance. Maya is only the first of many mature women whom András will meet through his teenage and young adult life.
This list ranges from heart wrenching dramas to fun comedies, to plenty of movies that fall somewhere in the middle. While Hollywood still clearly has some work to do in featuring older women in movies in general, and older women of color in particular (one thing noticeably missing from the list), people interested in seeing examples of senior women on the screen do have some options. For other movie recommendations check out these 6 memorable movies about grandparents and these 10 movies important to the silent generation.
Reviews were generally upbeat and audiences polled by CinemaScore gavea decent B+ grade. Studio data showed that the crowd was 69% female and69% over 25. The summer box office is always heavy on testosterone filmsand this year has been no different. Ocean's 8provided counter-programming for adult women not interested in comic bookmovies and instead relied upon ample celebrity starpower to pull in thecrowds. Though some heavy hitters like Incredibles2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdomare right around the corner and will attract every quadrant of movie fans,8 still has limited competition over the next month from filmsspecifically geared towards mature women so the road ahead looks good.
Aldrich's 1962 Hollywood adaptation of Henry Farrell's gothic novel would star Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, both then in their mid 50s, as quarrelling sisters, confined to the living tomb of a Los Angeles mansion that's filled with skeletons and a noxious resentment that lingers in the air. On paper it was an obvious risk for Warner, especially in an era where ageism and sexism led to most women in Hollywood being deemed fit for the scrapheap by the age of 45.
But beyond all this gossip and conjecture, the most significant legacy of What Ever Happened To Baby Jane can be found in the films it spawned. In the years following its release, Hollywood started producing a string of so-called \"Hagsploitation\" movies, which like Baby Jane, provided veteran actresses including Barbara Stanwyck, Tallulah Bankhead, Shelley Winters and Debbie Reynolds with villainous, yet deliriously camp roles within horror that ensured their careers could keep on rolling. (This sub-genre has gone by other names including \"psycho-biddy horror\", \"hag horror\", and \"Grande Dame Guignol\", all of which similarly revel in the idea of women developing a lunacy sparked by old age.)
From the name onwards, it's a deeply troublesome sub-genre. \"Hagsploitation is a misogynist and ageist term applied to fading female movie stars that were reinvented as these grotesque spectres\" says Dr Christopher Pullen, a professor in media and inclusivity at Bournemouth University. \"I appreciate these films were great opportunities [for older women] to find new roles, but in many ways, they were demeaning roles that conveyed problematic stereotypes about ageing female bodies and the life chances that may be proffered to older women.\"
In many respects, it's hard to disagree. The Hagsploitation genre tended to be built around the dubious idea of ageing women whose inability to keep a man or properly raise a child left them in a dishevelled state, where committing murder or screaming into the ether were among the only things from which they could still derive pleasure. Take 1964's Dead Ringer, where Bette Davis plays twin sisters, Margaret and Edith Phillips. The latter is rich and glamorous, the former weathered and penniless, running a bar that's an obvious dive. Edith makes the decision to murder her twin, assuming her identity and riches in a Machiavellian chess move. The film peddles the harmful stereotype that an ageing woman unable to gain the security of marriage is practically worthless, and she will subsequently harbour an uncontrollable rage that will go on to define her life.
When de Havilland's character, suffering from a broken hip, becomes dangerously trapped inside the home elevator she has had installed, various miscreants decide to take advantage and ransack her home, treating her with complete indifference. Mrs Hilyard's desperate screams of \"I'm a human being, a thinking, feeling creature!\" are laughed at, and she gradually loses her mind, something that tended to be a formality within the Hagsploitation genre. In this film's cold, survival-of-the-fittest vision of society, de Havilland's character is deemed completely value-less, an obvious metaphor for how the US saw menopausal or post-menopausal women.
\"The notion of the hag at its essence speaks to how, in many cultures at least, older women are figures of disgust,\" explains Deborah Jermyn, a film studies researcher at the University of Roehampton, of these movies. \"In a society where women's capital is most overtly tied to beauty and fertility, and beauty and fertility are the province of youth, older women thus cease to have a demonstrable function, and their presence becomes troublesome, repugnant and irksome. This is why older women featured heavily among those historically accused of being witches; Hagsploitation cinema crystallises all these ideas.\"
Film critic Steph Green agrees that while the Hagsploitation genre has its fair share of misogyny and morally insensitive themes, it also has its virtues in providing \"dementedly entertaining, out-there, complex characters for women who were no longer gifted with an interesting pick of roles\". The reason these performances tend to get overlooked within cinematic history, according to Green, is because audiences have been trained to think of Hagsploitation films more as sensationalist thrill rides than human dramas. \"I feel that [what people] fail to recognise, often, is the smarts and skill it takes to inhabit a caricature, and still extract empathy from the viewers who just spent the last two hours pitying you,\" she explains. \"In the 1960s and 1970s, men were able to play genteel statesmen, heroes, detectives and lawyers way into their 70s; women had less of a choice.\"
Caroline Noakes MP, the chair of the women and inequalities committee, has highlighted this issue on Twitter saying she has written to Ofcom to ask for a meeting about the under representation of women aged over 45 by UK broadcasters.
And when older women are shown, TV and film casting often favours women who have bodies that are the shapes and sizes of younger women. Research from the US has linked this to eating disorders and negative body image in older women.
I have recently written and performed a spoken word piece to raise awareness of this issue, in support of the Acting your Age campaign, which calls for equal career trajectory for men and women in the entertainment industry.
Hugh Quarshie, a Ghanaian-born British actor, who has also backed the campaign, likened the invisibility of older women on screen to past black representations in TV and film. He says serious pressure must be put on the producers and broadcasters to provoke rapid change and deal with the problem of invisibility.
As part of her research for the campaign, Clarke found that only 9% of UK viewers can recognise more than 15 women over the age of 45 on our screens compared to 48% of viewers who can easily identify more than 15 men of that age on screen.
While 50/50 gender split in roles and more older women cast in TV and film will help matters, what we really need is more women behind the camera and in the writing studios telling stories that women of all ages want to hear.
Hollywood is starting to catch on that audiences want and need more movies that are focused on women. (The fact that movies starring women make more money helps drive that point home in a language studios understand.) But, because it's still Hollywood, the majority of movies about women are specifically about young women. So, while we might be getting more films that tell their stories, when it comes to movies about badass older women heroes, the category is still depressingly small.
Granted, it is a somewhat specific category, but the list of movies about men of a certain age is much, muc longer. And anyway, the term \"hero\" does not just refer to the kicking supervillains' butts variety. Heroes take many forms, from women seeking revenge and justice for themselves, to women geniuses making huge moves in the math and science department.
Are the women in Ocean's 8 \"heroes\" in the traditional sense No, they're thieves. But they are badass, they're not really hurting anyone, they get you to root for them, and several of them are in their 40s or 50s.
Neither of these movies star Carrie Fisher as much as the original Star Wars movies did, but General Leia Organa is undeniably a badass older woman hero. Plus, The Last Jedi also features another woman in power: Lauren Dern's Vice Admiral Holdo.
The Harry Potter movies star kids and teens, depending on where you're at in the series. But, there are some badass ol