Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When older women look better than older men

The assumption on which society in general, and Hollywood in particular, is based is that men retain their looks into old age while women do not.

As I was watching Rob Reiner's And So It Goes last night, I was pleased to see that's not always the case.

I don't know who Diane Keaton's plastic surgeon is, or if she even uses one, but she's not paying that person enough. Really, though, I can't be sure if she even uses one, and to remain blissfully ignorant on the topic, I'm not even going to google it.

Keaton is only 14 months younger than her And So It Goes co-star, Michael Douglas, yet she looks a decade younger. It almost seems like one of those typical instances of vanity for a male star, where they cast him against someone far younger than him. Keaton only looks far younger.

To be fair, it's not that Douglas looks old for a 70-year-old. This is pretty much what 70-year-olds look like. It's that Keaton looks very young for a 69-year-old. (In the movie she's playing a 65-year-old.)

In fact, she looks so young that it barely seems unusual that the story revolves around her trying to make it as a lounge singer -- trying to make it at what is often considered retirement age. In fact, she doesn't look out of place on that stage, though it must be admitted that Keaton's voice is probably not quite the attraction necessary to bring in the crowds that she brings in.

So while I am focusing on the fact that Keaton hasn't lost an ounce of the bounce and spunk that has always characterized her interactions with the opposite sex at the movies, in Douglas I am focusing on his chicken neck and a sincere hope that he doesn't just keel over there on camera.

To be fair again, it hasn't been an easy decade for Douglas. Just a couple years ago he was at death's door. He had stage IV tongue cancer that necessitated chemotherapy. The pictures of him we saw on tabloid magazine covers, gaunt and frail, figured to be the last ones we saw of him alive.

Somehow, he came back to full strength and won an Emmy for his portrayal of Liberace in Beyond the Candelabra. Still, the illness definitely aged him. He didn't actually make a film in 2004, which would be ten years before And So It Goes, but even in 2006's You, Me and Dupree, he definitely looks more than ten years younger.

What was Diane Keaton doing ten years before And So It Goes?

Funny you should ask.

In 2003 Diane Keaton made basically the same movie as And So It Goes, which was directed by Nancy Meyer and called Something's Gotta Give. In it she plays the same type character -- a "woman of a certain age" living in a beautiful waterfront setting who is prone to crying a lot. And in it she also tussles with an irascible potential suitor with whom she eventually, awkwardly, sleeps. Only there it wasn't Michael Douglas, it was Jack Nicholson. Nicholson is now 78 and doesn't even act anymore.

So while Diane Keaton's male co-stars are slowly getting run out of the business, Keaton herself seems like she could make this same movie again ten years from now.

Talk about a role reversal.

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