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Thank goodness for the tax- or lottery-supported European producers, indie studios and mini-majors that still take chances on age-neutral productions.
Charlotte Rampling, still radiant at 70, was a finalist in the Best Leading Actress category in this year’s Oscar race for her performance in 45 Years, opposite Tom Courtenay, 79.
Sixty-something Anna has begun to frequent singles mixers and speed-dating events, after which she might go home with the occasional bachelor. Another after-hours companion is insomniac police inspector Bernie Reed (Gabriel Byrne), who, at first, masquerades as just another lonely heart, but can’t help being attracted by her mysteriously vulnerable persona.
Anna doesn’t recall the brief encounter she had with the detective, in an elevator, after she returned to the victim’s building to retrieve an umbrella she misplaced.
Although the story hinges on memories, its focus isn’t on a partner with Alzheimer’s disease or a life-threatening medical condition.
It’s in a different genre altogether from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet and Calendar Girls, which were dominated by veteran actors and appealed to roughly the same audiences.
Ever since then, it seems, while a major studio might consider distributing a movie that targets “mature” viewers, it’s far less likely to finance one.
If an Ian Mc Kellen, Michael Caine, Clint Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins or Jane Fonda finds high-profile work in a studio project, it’s a comic-book fantasy or action picture alongside actors who may never have performed a Shakespeare play on stage and may never will.
RED, RED 2, The Expendables and The Expendables 2 would appear to be exceptions to the rule, but their appeal to star-crazy overseas audiences can’t be denied.
This, combined with the testimony of the hostess at the mixer, make her the prime suspect in the murder.
There are others, including a stepson and his drug dealer, but none so well-suited for the role of femme fatale than Anna.