Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

What is it about older women and younger men this year? No fewer than five films -- The Door in the Floor, The Mother, Being Julia, Birth, and p.s. -- featured May/December couplings, with decidedly female Decembers. Three of these constitute an official subgenre, heretofore known as older-woman-seeks-to-date-reincarnated-lost-love-in-younger-man. In Door in the Floor, Kim Basinger sees her dead son in a high-school student; in p.s., Laura Linney sees her dead high-school boyfriend in an art-school applicant; and in Birth, Nicole Kidman sees her dead husband in -- ewww -- a ten-year-old boy.

The filmic examples of older men dating scandalously younger women are legion, and it'd be great if Hollywood were offering a saucy counterpart. But it's hard to wish for happy endings when the setup is so creepy. (The movies in this maudlin threesome have much more to say about grief than they do about love.) Even when the film wants the relationship to work, as in p.s., one senses imminent failure. As for The Mother and Being Julia -- well, neither offers a whole lot of hope for the relationship, though they do offer a measure of redemption for the women. So when will we see a movie about a fun, healthy, and successful relationship between an older woman and a younger man? Don't hold your breath.

 
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