You may have noticed some older faces on the big screen this summer. We’ve had “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” featuring a 63-year-old Emma Thompson, as well as “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” starring Lesley Manville, 66, and “Top Gun: Maverick” showcasing Tom Cruise, who just turned 60, in a role that twins action and romance. These films showcase older actors in action roles, sex scenes and love stories—and received positive reviews—but the bulk of Hollywood movies still fail to show seniors, particularly older women, in a positive light.
“It is relatively easy to name a few films featuring characters over 50, particularly male characters. Liam Neeson has continued to make formulaic action films well past his 50s. It is more difficult to name more than a few films featuring female characters over 50. After naming a couple of films featuring well-known actresses like Lesley Manville or Emma Thompson, the exercise becomes much more difficult,” said Martha Lauzen, founder and executive director for the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film and professor of television, film and New Media at San Diego State University.
“ In ‘Sunset Boulevard,’ Gloria Swanson was portrayed as old and washed up. She was 50 years old. Now we have Tom Cruise playing a romantic story line in a blockbuster movie at 60. ”
— AARP film and TV critic Tim Appelo
“Historically and even today, the nature of portrayals are quite different depending on t …