Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, cougars, and dames

I had a theory all worked out: The lifestyle of a cougar — you know, an “older” woman (i.e., past 40, or is it 30 and the camera adds 10 years?) who fancies younger men–is a titillating sociological phenomenon made for TV shows, not movies. I mean, I can sort of see the appeal of  Cougar Town on ABC, and I certainly understand the allure of Samantha-the-manhunter on Sex and the City. But I can’t imagine (or maybe don’t want to imagine) Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand, or most any other serious, over-40 screen actress buying into the trend as a career freshener. Cougarhood is a TV-size sociological joke, not a feature-length state of sexual appetite.

Like I said, I had the theory all worked out. But then the other day I read Steven Zeitchik’s solid, all-too-familiar bummer of an article in The Hollywood Reporter about the slim pickings this year for Oscar candidates in the Best Actress category. Did you know, as the author cites, that in the past 20 years, “exactly one fiftysomething woman has taken the prize (Helen Mirren, for The Queen)”? I became so bummed that I lost interest in my Theory of Cougars in Pop Culture….

Instead, I’ll just note that Mirren quite possibly may get a nomination again this year, for her bravura performance as Mrs. Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station. (The movie comes out in a few weeks; that’s her above, looking every inch a Tolstoyan.) There’s a great, maturely sexy scene in which Mrs. T lures her old husband (a fine Christopher Plummer) into bed for a satisfying romp. And Meryl Streep, of course, as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, also loves the sexy time with her old husband (adorable Stanley Tucci) and quite probably will score her 16th nomination for the delicious performance.

No cougars, these foxes. Just great dames.

Photo Credit: Stephan Rabold

Comments (3 total) Add your comment
  • RubyBaby

    I agree! And let’s not forget that Meryl (Is she the new Julia Roberts? Discuss!)will also be “juggling” two age-appropriate men in her life – Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin) in It’s Complicated.

  • Andre

    Interesting this coming from a woman.
    Guys can be — and have been for decades — paired up with women much younger than them, and that’s no problem (unless it’s Woody Allen, then everyone goes up in arms). But women can’t do the same.
    That’s a very silly (and really, dishonest) double standard.
    If that’s their pleasure, here’s hoping to find Dame Helen and Dame Meryl with some hot young men on their side.

  • Hannah Montana

    I love both of them. I liked Meryl’s Mamma Mia, and Helen’s National Treasure 2, but Helen is the best. She never tries to be better then anyone! She is so perfect! Sexy, pretty, and did you see her bikini pictures?!?!?! HELLO its Helen Mirren we are talking about. She was a sex symbol for gosh sake!

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