July 26, 2005
99 minutes

Talking head documentary about Hollywood actresses who lament turning 40 and the lack of substantial parts to play. Each woman tries to explain why this happens. There are parts until you’re 32, then there are parts when you’re 55, but nothing in between. The collection of actresses that Rosanna Arquette finds is pretty remarkable. She finds many women who were once thought of as young sex symbols, but have left that idea behind. Sharon Stone is annoying as usual because she has such a high opinion of herself. Robin Wright Penn is smart and beautiful. Diane Lane, who beats most of these women in that she was considered incredibly cute as a young teenager when she got her start, has a pretty level-headed view of the whole aging process. I was incredibly pleasantly surprised when Charlotte Rampling, maybe the hottest 57 year old on the planet appeared. I was unpleasantly surprised to see what Meg Ryan had done to her face. I’m not sure why Melanie Griffith was there–she’s not known for attacking acting parts with any particular focus. In the credits, we’re told that she offered her house for a meal. Jane Fonda speaks with the experience of someone in the business a long time, as does Vanessa Redgrave. Whoopi provides “my ass is huge now” type humor. European goddess Emanuelle Beart, in blonde hair, chain-smokes and discusses what it’s like to be the most beautiful girl in the world. The list goes on and on. Martha Plimpton, Samantha Mathis (if you can tell me their connection, win a prize), Ally Sheedy, Kelly Lynch, Laura Dern, goddess Holly Hunter, who seems to get better looking with age, Francis McDormand is caught in a bathroom, we see Jennifer Beals, but don’t hear from her, and finally, Debra Winger herself. Winger looks good and relaxed at her upstate New York home. She did sort of disappear after Urban Cowboy and Officer and a Gentleman. She tries to explain this to Arquette.

Arquette is a good conversationalist. Nothing like an interview takes place. Arquette has no trouble interrupting, except with Fonda or Redgrave, maybe. Her sister is a participant, as is Julia Ormond, a former member of the “Next Big Thing” club.

People I missed: Susan Sarandon is still incredibly sexy, smart, and can play anything. Julianne Moore would be nice to hear from because she’s brilliant and in that in-between stage of her life. We didn’t need to hear from Meryl Streep because she was never hired because she was hot, I don’t think. Glenn Close, same story. Plus, they continue to work.

Only one man is interviewed. Mr. Ebert. At Cannes. He is someone who could really offer insight into this issue as, like me, he continues to tell people how much sexier experienced, older women are. But it seems like Arquette caught him on a bad day, or maybe after a few glasses of wine. He isn’t his usual smart self and ends up remarking that Arquette is sexy without any analysis of the problem. I’m glad there was one “Y” chromosome.

Upon further review, it’s a strange thing to listen to incredibly beautiful women, who have made millions of dollars bitch about not getting the parts they once did. Women lose opportunities to younger women in every field every day. Actresses aren’t that different than nurses or managers or teachers. And everyone tries to chase youth. Just don’t end up looking like Griffith or Ryan.


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Written by Michael W. Cummins