Like most people on the planet I’ve just seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Thankfully, it’s much better than the prequels and in the hands of accomplished director J.J. Abrams, it sticks to the humor and lightheartedness of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Prior to its release, much of the publicity focused on the original cast reuniting. It’s been over 30 years since we last saw them together and the actors have aged accordingly.
Harrison Ford at 73 is a grizzled but still convincing Han Solo.
Mark Hamill is a more somber, grey-faced Jedi, while Chewbacca and the droids C3PO and R2D2 look exactly the same.
Yet, I was startled and somewhat perplexed by the appearance of Carrie Fisher. Had Andy Serkis donned a motion capture suit to play her face? While Botox and plastic surgery are de riguer for any actress over 35 these days, Fisher’s skin was so shiny and flawless it could be mistaken for a new life form. Or one of those freaky aliens from the numerous bar scenes in the franchise.
Fisher admits that life is tough for an actress over 40 and that she’s grateful to be cast at all. Yet Mark Hamill is only several years older than Fisher and all he had to do was grow a beard and Harrison Ford didn’t have to do anything to his face at all.
Would it really have been too much for audiences to cope with an older (and fatter) Princess Leia? Shouldn’t midlife take its natural course? Does Leia have to retain a semblance of youth for people to care about her character? And how can a 59-year-old face pulled taut and tight like a newborn be more convincing to audiences than the wrinkled skin and extra pounds of a late middle-aged woman?
If The Force has truly awakened, then it’s time for middle-aged actresses to catch up on their sleep.
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