I'm hardly the first to complain that Hollywood has depicted a lot of nauseating relationships between old men and young women. Perhaps the most notorious such depiction involves Gary Cooper (b 1901) and Audrey Hepburn (b 1929) in Love in the Afternoon, released in 1957. I'm surprised that Cooper was only 28 years older than Hepburn. In the movie, he doesn't merely look old enough to be her father, he looks old enough to be her grandfather. Cooper was in his mid-50's when Love in the Afternoon was shot, but he could easily pass for a man in his 60's, and while Hepburn was in her mid-20's, her character in the film doesn't really look, or behave, as if she is full-grown.
A more recent example is Draft Day (2014), with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. With a Costner looking old and a Garner looking young. I channel-surfed by this one a few times, and gathered during my brief stops that Costner was an NFL team owner whom everybody thinks is going to get completely creamed and outplayed in the upcoming draft by the mean old other NFL team owners. Frank Langella, for example, doesn't actually have fangs in this movie, but brimstone does seem to be smoking whenever he makes his ominous appearances onscreen, grinning sadistically at the thought of how he and the owner team owners are going to rip decent old-fashioned American Kevin Costner (think 1950's James Stewart) to shreds in the draft. Maybe it's not actually brimstone smoke, but things like steam from the vents on NYC streets, and ominous lighting and so forth. And I haven't watched this entire movie, and the parts I did watch I didn't watch carefully. So maybe Langella's character actually does have fangs, and a long red tail and cloven hooves.
Anyway -- as I channel-surfed, I could stand up to about 30 seconds at a time of this Ivan Reitman masterpiece, and I gathered that Garner plays a young woman who works in decent, all-American Costner's office, and who seems to have a personal relationship with Costner apart from work. I thought, maybe she's his daughter, working at Dad's place. But no -- ewwww, ewwww, she's the female romantic lead!
I haven't been able to stand a second of it since I figured out that much.
I was surprised to find out that Gary Cooper was only 28 years older than Audrey Hepburn, and I was very surprised to learn that Costner is only 17 years older than Garner (born in 1955 and 1972, respectively). In Draft Day, Costner, lean and worn, more than a bit thin-limbed and stooped and leathery, looks much more than 17 years older than Garner. His character looks old enough to be her character's father if he wasn't particularly young to have had a kid at that time.
I'm really surprised that Jennifer Garner is 43 years old. I was thinking 34 or 35, I was thinking that she had been 20 or 21 when "Alias" started airing. I was also under the impression that she had done every single one of her stunts herself, at least until she got pregnant in the final season, but apparently I was misinformed about that as well. This is truly crushing for me. I thought every second of all of that ass-kicking sexiness in "Alias" was Jennifer. Sweet, sweet 20-to-25-year-old Jennifer.
And this brings us to The Intern, a film starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro which was released yesterday, which I haven't seen, a summary of whose plot I have yet to find. All I've seen are some trailers. And sometimes it's a mistake to judge what a film is about by the trailers. Sometimes the trailers are extremely misleading. But the trailers for The Intern give the strong impression that the character played by Hathaway (born in 1982 and could pass for younger) is almost uncontrollably horny for the character played by De Niro (born in 1943 and looks it). It's no stretch at all to say that De Niro's character looks like Hathaway's character's grandfather.
But I haven't seen the movie. Is this one going to go into the Ewwww! Hall of Fame alongside Love in the Afternoon and Draft Day (and let's not forget the notorious Entrapment, starring that adorable couple Sean Connery and Catharine Zeta-Jones, 39 years apart in age, where Zeta-jones' behavior onscreen and off made her name into a punchline)?
I've heard Hollywood women, actresses and writers and directors and producers, complain about the typical movie romantic pairs of men with much younger women much more often than Hollywood men. The Intern was written and directed by Nancy Meyers, the producers were Meyers and Suzanne Farwell. Is this going to be one of the rare Hollywood movies that mocks such couples? I haven't seen any of Meyer's movies, I think she may already have gotten started mocking older men with young women in Something's Gotta Give. Maybe in The Intern De Niro's character is as good a guy as Hathaway is constantly saying in the trailers, and he tells Hathaway's character that her crush on him is kinda messed up, and that she ought to snap out of it because so-und-so, some younger character in the film, played by, oh who knows, Orlando Bloom or Chris Pratt or some other actor who is actually less than 40 years old, is obviously a great guy who loves her and, like her, still has all of his teeth.
But that's pure speculation on my part. If Something's Gotta Give and/or some other films of Meyers' actually have subverted Hollywood's sweet-young-things-love-smelly-arthritic-old-geezers paradigm (let's not forget De Niro and Carla Gugino in Righteous Kill from 2008. Or De Niro and Amy Brenneman in Heat in 1995 -- eh, maybe that one wasn't so much of a stretch. And in Righteous Kill some of the onscreen characters did say that De Niro's relationship with Gugino was odd because of their ages, instead of acting as if it was all perfectly normal and waiting for the director to yell "Cut!" before they could rush away, looking for a quiet place to vomit), maybe Hollywood only allowed her to make that/those movie/s if she vowed to really go all the way in supporting the stereotype in a future production, so that in The Intern, Hathaway and De Niro are gonna....