In a recent interview, Julia Roberts was questioned about whether or not it bothered her that the role she played in “Charlie Wilson’s War” signified a move out of ingenuous parts. Was she troubled that roles like Vivian Ward (her character in “Pretty Woman”) were now beyond the 41-year-old’s grasp? Hardly. Instead, she welcomed the opportunity to shed the eye-candy stereotype and demonstrate that her megawatt smile and acting chops will carry her through mid-life and beyond.
Historically, Hollywood has been notorious for creating plum roles for young actresses. As the years went buy, even promising talents seemed to drop off the radar. Today, though, Tinseltown’s writers seem to be coming around and understanding the value of casting women of a certain age. Perhaps this is because an increasing number of women are making names for themselves as producers and writers, or maybe the extraordinarily talented actresses who made it big when they were younger now have the wherewithal and power to influence the roles that are available to older actresses. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that actresses on the silver screen are aging just as gracefully – if not more so – than their male counterparts.
If you appreciate the depth and breadth of experience that extraordinarily talented actresses can bring to roles that move beyond the ingenuous, here are some DVDs that you don’t want to miss.
1. Helen Mirren – In 2007, Dame Helen Mirren won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for playing the title role in “The Queen,” which dealt with Queen Elizabeth II’s reactions to the death of Princess Diana. From the royal wave to the glimpse of humanity beneath a stoic exterior, Mirren gives us insight into events that may have taken place following Diana’s tragic accident.
Of course, this isn’t Mirren’s first royal outing. Check out the miniseries, “Elizabeth I” and the movie, “Raising Helen” for more noteworthy performances.
2. Meryl Streep – When it comes to great acting, Meryl Streep is practically in a class all her own. Her portrayal of the acerbic Miranda Priestley in 2006’s “The Devil Wears Prada,” earned her a slough of award nominations, while her performances in “Lions for Lambs” and “Rendition” are stellar. The miniseries, “Angels in America,” is another Streep must-see.
3. Judi Dench – Dame Judi Dench’s talent reverberates in every role she plays. “Notes on a Scandal” led to her latest round of award nominations, but “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “Pride & Prejudice,” and “Shakespeare in Love” are other Dench classics you won’t want to miss.
4. Jodie Foster – We’ve literally witnessed Jodie Foster grow up in front of the cameras; though she’s only 45, she’s been acting since the age of 2. She’s nominated for a Golden Globe for her superb performance in “The Brave One,” but also gave a heart-stopping performance in “Panic Room.” Plus, her production company is always on the cutting edge when it comes to providing actresses with meaty roles.
5. Julie Christie – Her timeless performances are legendary, and her role as Fiona Anderson in “Away from Her” has earned her a Golden Globe nomination. It’s even a treat to watch her in hits like “Finding Neverland” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
There’s no doubt that Hollywood’s superstars aren’t just getting older – they’re getting better. It’s refreshing to see that Tinseltown’s movers and shakers are recognizing and embracing that fact.