This week I saw Quartet. This is definitely not a film I would’ve paid to see at the cinema if I wasn’t doing this experiment. This was the 1st week of the year where I felt really restricted in my film choices. The options were Quartet or Les Miserables. To be honest, I thought I might not make it to the cinema at all this week. Both those films I wouldn’t mind seeing but am not particularly drawn to. Additionally, I didn’t think I could convince my boyfriend to come see either of those films and split my Wednesday 2for1 deal with me. As it turned out, I had some miserable news and I think he felt sorry for me so agreed to come. Possibly also because we watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on TV last week and quite enjoyed it.
What Quartet (and TBEMH) made me think about was the representation of older women in movies. We know Hollywood loves young women, preferably with their kit off, but I wonder how the breakdown of women in film would be when looking at age. I’m inclined to think that most lead female roles would favour women within a 20-40 age range. That’s a total guess. I would also guess that male leads would be dominated by that age group but I can immediately think of many lead male roles for older men and not as many for older women. We know women make up only around a third of all speaking parts so there are fewer roles overall, but I wonder if the ratio of younger women to older women is more pronounced than younger to older men.
If that is the case, it’s an unhappy one for women as we see that, as under represented as we are in films already, we get less representation as we get older. I wonder if there is data on this somewhere.
I might be totally wrong about this.
As an aside, Pauline Collins is really brilliant in Quartet and the film is an extremely strong passer of the Bechdel test.