Monday, 23 March 2009

41 with 3 Kids and Apparently Over-the Hill!

I have never been a huge Julia Roberts fan. I have enjoyed a few of her movies and I have been bored by many others, but I certainly recognize that the woman has had a remarkable movie career. She broke through a glass ceiling in terms of compensation at a time when Hollywood was all about male action stars and adolescent testosterone-driven teen comedies. She was one of the first female stars to be recognized as having the ability to carry a film on her name alone, and she was one of the few female stars who carried enough clout to get pet projects to the screen. There was a time, not so long ago that Julia's name alone was enough to drive the numbers at the box office. But, that was so last century. 

You see, Julia has taken a couple of years off from the movie making business in order to attend to her personal life. Over the past several years she and her husband have had 3 children, and she has effectively scaled back her professional responsibilities to a few small roles and some voice-over work. She has done what millions of working women the world over have done-choose. Yes of course, Julia's financial situation makes her choices easier. She has options that most women can only dream of, but in Julia's business face time is money. She knowingly removed herself willingly from the public consciousness in order to parent, and she had to understand that there might be professional consequences. Hollywood is, after all, nothing if not amnesiac and cruel. 

This week marked Julia's return to the big screen. Her movie, Duplicity hit theatres this past weekend and in the minds of the Hollywood press, is a bit of a box-office disappointment. Despite fairly decent reviews, (Rotten Tomatoes has its average at 65% fresh!) the unbelievably hot Clive Owen and a smart and sexy plot, the flick finished third behind the universally panned Nic Cage stinker (A quick commercial message. Older Son saw that this was a piece of crap coming down the pike in his online column Trailer Trash) and the undoubtedly hysterical bromance I Love You, Man. There are probably many reasons as to why Julia and Clive finished third in this week's box-office. (Young men are the target audiences for most movies and a romantic thriller is probably not their idea of a cool 2 hours.) But, the most offensive and totally misogynistic theory  that I have heard today, is that she is too old, too maternal and no longer viewed by the public as available and sexy. Julia Roberts??? I get that the entertainment business is a youth-driven environment, but this is Julia Roberts! Angelina Jolie has six kids and she has never been accused of being viewed as maternal. Jennifer Aniston is 40 and she seems to have the sexy-thing going! Why is the Hollywood press feeling the need to justify perceived disappointment of a fairly decent 14 million dollar box office, by using Julia and her age as the apparent scapegoat? Maybe the not so ideal weather on the east coast kept women and the intellectual elite (we are way too smart to go out in the rain, snow and cold!) at home? Maybe the financial crisis has hit this target audience pretty hard and movies have become somewhat of a luxury? Maybe, just maybe (although I cannot fathom a reason why!) audiences don't like Clive Owen as opposed to Julia? 

I am so very weary of feeling that as a 46 year old woman, I am totally ignored by the media. I rarely see depictions of women like me in magazines, movies, TV shows, commercials and the like. I am tired of feeling like these images are what passes for some Hollywood mogul's skewed view of reality. But, if a woman like Julia Roberts is now feeling the heat, then I know that I am in some fairly respectable company. I am now making plans to see Duplicity, not because I have a burning desire to be entertained by Ms. Roberts, but because I feel a kindred need to add to her box-office totals. Come on girls! Show the assholes in the suits who is boss!

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