Monday, 2 March 2015

The Fountain Of Youth - not all it's cracked up to be

A couple of days ago, while watching the 1999 movie 'Brokedown Palace', I saw further confirmation of something I've suspected for a while - many people get better looking with age.
OK, I know this is not exactly breaking news but in this modern culture that positively worships at the altar of youth it's perhaps just a teensy bit controversial.
When it comes to TV it's particularly noticeable that the more mature presenter is something of an endangered species, while those blessed with youthful energy and wrinkle-free skin are doing all the running. This is even more obvious with women than men for some reason; when a grey-haired gent merits a title such as 'distinguished veteran' but a woman is more likely to be referred to as 'retired broadcaster' or similar.
Why is this? Why the assumption that someone younger is better?
It's fair to say that it is more appropriate to have a fit twenty-something doing a programme about extreme sports - it's hard to imagine the X-Games being covered by Michael Gambon - but there are times when you just wish the over-excitable individual on the screen would just stop shouting and using words that nobody over the age of 25 understands, and be replaced with someone who can communicate in clear English without referring to being excited as 'stoked'.

The issue of looks is very personal of course, but I do feel that although younger people are typically enjoying their looks at the best they're likely to be, there are definitely exceptions to the rule.
The film mentioned above starred Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale, both of whom I was already familiar with, and I have to say that both of them have improved with age. To me Claire Danes looks way hotter in 'Homeland' in her thirties than she did at twenty in this film. Kate Beckinsale also seemed a tad less exciting than she did in 'Underworld', but that was only about four years difference so maybe it was the tight black leather outfit she wore in 'Underworld' that swayed my opinion somewhat....
'Brokedown Palace' also had a tiny uncredited role for Paul Walker who also got better looking as the years progressed. Not that I felt the same about him as Kate Beckinsale of course, but even a straight bloke is capable of acknowledging that another guy is decent looking. And that guy is definitely NOT Benedict Cabbagepatch.
Speaking of Paul Walker, his co-star in the 'Fast & Furious' franchise, Jordana Brewster, gets even more gorgeous with each instalment - and now (approaching 35) considerably better looking than she was at eighteen in 'The Faculty'.
Then we have Kylie who held no appeal when she felt she deserved to be so lucky, but more recently I really couldn't get her out of my head when she was wearing that white dress-but-not-a-dress thing.

This is just picking out a few at random but countless other examples remain, like Leonardo DiCaprio who had a face you wanted to slap when he was just starting out in movies and who personally I couldn't even bear to watch because the sight of his baby face made me want to throw things at the TV. He's way more acceptable these days and I can now appreciate him as a good actor.
Some people are simply blessed with good looks, and some aren't. Some look great when they're young but rapidly lose it as the years roll by. Others age like a fine wine, making me wonder why society puts such emphasis on the value of youth.
Surely it should be down to people as individuals rather than such an arbitrary measure as age?