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This is a Roundup of all pieces that appeared during our theme week on Representations of Older Women in Film and Television.
Older Women Week: The Extraordinary Romance of an Ordinary "Old Girl": Thoughts on ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’
Of course older women have traditionally not been allowed to be sexual beings, and mothers have always been held to a higher sexual standard than fathers. In fact, when a woman of any age does not conform or transgresses sexually she customarily suffers greater social condemnation. What Ali: Fear Eats the Soul makes clear is that the Whore-Madonna complex still reigned supreme in 1970s Germany. When Emmi first tells her daughter and son-in-law that she has fallen in love with a much younger man, they laugh. The thought of an old mother in love and lust is so impossible, so unnatural—horrific, in fact—that laughter is the only fitting response. When she introduces her children to her new husband, one son calls her a whore and another kicks in her television. In the eyes of her deeply conventional, racist children, Emmi is guilty of the most profane double betrayal—racial disloyalty and defilement of the maternal role.
There’s an imperative reason why Dench was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a film for Notes On a Scandal. The Academy can be a load of BS with their ageism and racism, but sometimes, they get it right. It’s also quite wonderful to point out that Dench scored her first nomination at 64, her first and only win at 65, and four nods after— the last being Notes on a Scandal. For people to say that she is too old for anything is simply wrong on all counts. She truly is at her artistic best.
Older Women Week: Pretty Little Zombies — The Lure of Eternal Youth in Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Death Becomes Her’
This is the turning point of the movie. All the conflicts revolving around jealousy, beauty, and, of course, youth, are henceforth turned into a spirit of sisterhood. The dependence on Ernest transforms into a friendly co-dependent relationship between the two women. However much of a love-hate sentiment resonates throughout the final part of the movie, friendship and solidarity triumph. The special bond that Madeline and Helen share is still based on the wish for eternal youth, but they have finally turned to each other.
Betty White, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Helen Mirren… At first, when writing this article, I thought about pointing out the ways in which Hollywood has shorted these prolific and amazing actresses, and while I’m sure that’s happened to them at some point in their careers, in reading about their lives, I realized that would almost be a disservice to all that they’ve accomplished. Rather, this piece is meant as a tribute to these enduring female comediennes, who have not only flourished but also paved the way for so many other actresses and actors.
This is a guest review by Amanda Morris. Sassy and fearless storyteller, 82-year-old Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy), takes Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) and viewers on a journey through a tableaux of Southern family and friendship in Fried Green Tomatoes. There’s a lot going on in this film worth talking about, from race and sexuality to […]
Studio Ghibli This is guest post by Eugenia Andino previously appeared at her Web site (in Spanish) and is cross-posted with permission. The female protagonists in Studio Ghibli films have often been analysed as examples of feminist work; ranging from young women (like Nausicaa or Princess Mononoke) to little girls like Ponyo. The most popular […]
Golden Girls Written by Megan Kearns | A version of this article originally appeared at The Opinioness of the World. A child of the 80s, I grew up watching TV shows like Murder She Wrote and Love Boat. Living with my grandparents for 6 years clearly influenced my television viewing habits! But my favorite series […]
Movie poster for The First Wives Club This guest post by Mia Steinle previously appeared at Canonball and is cross-posted with permission. In the late nineties, as I was entering early teenagerdom and as a group of marketers was inventing the term “tween,” my favorite movie was about a group of middle-aged divorcees waging war […]
Older Women Week: The Ruthless Power of Patty Hewes from ‘Damages’ & Victoria Grayson from ‘Revenge’
The shadow of Patty Hewes dwarfs her protege Ellen Parsons in Damages Emily Thorne stands beside her enemy Victoria Grayson in Revenge Written by Amanda Rodriguez Spoiler Alert Older women in film and TV are generally a stereotypical lot. They’re usually sexless matrons or grandmothers who perform roles of support for their screen-stealing husbands or […]