“Was Jodie Foster ever a good actress?” asked my 19-year-old son.
He’d just returned from watching the science fiction thriller Elysium starring Mat Damon and the unfortunate Foster.
“Well,” I replied, “she is very good in Silence of the Lambs and Taxi Driver.”
My 16-year-old son entered the conversation at this point and listed all the terrible Foster films he’d seen: Contact, The Beaver, Panic Room, The Brave One and Flight Plan.
I had to agree. In fact, I haven’t seen her in anything decent since Nell, a 1994 film in which, at the age of 32, she starred and directed.
Which means my sons have only seen her in decline.
So what’s happened to Foster in the last 20 years? Has she lost her mojo? or is there a dearth of good movie scripts for midlife actresses?
If so, Meryl Streep would be on daytime television and Cate Blanchett confined to sitcoms.
And Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, and Dame Maggie Smith would not be more successful in midlife than they were in their youth.
So what’s going on?
Is it Foster’s choice of roles? Is it the plastic surgery that has frozen her face and rid her of emotion? Does she need to lighten up and do comedy?
Or has she befallen the fate of famous and overrated 1980s actresses including Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, and Daryl Hannah?
Debra Winger, their contemporary, retired at midlife because she said there were no longer any decent roles.
Perhaps she anticipated the trajectory of 80s female movie stars and what she really meant was that there were no actresses who could play midlife women!
I told my sons that Foster had indeed once been a good actress.
Maybe it’s time for her to complete the Midlifexpress archetype quiz and launch a new career.