Lindsay Duncan stars in a film that has not yet come out here in the U.S., but which is being pre-viewed if you go to see, say, The Lunchbox, at the Angelika, in NYC. The Lunchbox is an Indian almost-love story between an older man and younger woman (I can’t say more since some of you might see it; suffice it to say it’s completely un-American in one key aspect), which has its charms, but which is ruined by its terrible ending – in my modest opinion.
On the other hand, the preview of Le Weekend, about a couple in their sixties who go to Paris for a second honeymoon, seems to be completely predictable — and, I hope, much more satisfying — as a fun, irreverent British romantic comedy, which is a type of film you either go for or not. Watching the preview, my friend and I had the same reaction. Jim Broadbent looks ten years younger, and who is that lovely actress who plays opposite him?
Well, she’s Lindsay Duncan. If you read the New York Times, you’ll see an interview with her today. Turns out, she’s well known in Britain, and highly respected for stage and screen work. And she’s very beautiful, as an aside.
The interview ends with this quote, “I want to have the career that is my choice — what interests me, what doesn’t,” she said. “I feel more and more strongly about that.”
And that’s what I want to comment on today. In the past year or two, I have had innumerable conversations with women in their 50s whose children are in college, and who are going back to work, considering career changes, or more generally wondering about their next steps. These are not depressed empty nesters. Instead, they seem to be energized by the opportunities of the time ahead. Zeroing-in on which opportunities to pursue is a tension, but better this than perceiving no prospects, surely.
The over-riding motivation of these women seems to be to do something that is meaningful on a personal or societal level, sometimes both. This is, of course, what Erik Erikson would refer to as the Generative vs. Stagnant urge, except I’m pretty sure he did not mean people quite as young as 50, and certainly not women. For obvious reasons, I hesitate to suggest that 50 is the new 60 (or that women are the new men). Just something to think about….