Mal de vivre

Have recently seen two films (Young Adult and A Quiet Passion – see links for a fuller individual appreciation) which, in their different ways, ruminate over the lot of their ageing female characters and offer plum roles for Charlize Theron and Cynthia¬†Nixon at a time when such things are, as ever, hard to come by. Whereas Theron’s Mavis throws caution to the winds and goes all out to grab love while she is still young and beautiful enough to be in with a chance, Nixon’s Dickinson shuts herself away from the world, not even deigning to confront an admiring male caller for fear of being beguiled by him, or of his being repelled by her plainness. She turns herself unwittingly towards death, whereas Mavis attempts to escape into a past no longer hers. Both are compelling portraits of a lady in extremis.