How Annette Bening Is Dangerously Radical
Crow’s Feet. Frown lines. A softening neck and body.
58-year old Annette Bening boldly ages in an era where most actresses her age sport facial fillers, Botox and plastic surgery that demobilize their faces and neuter their performances.
As I watched Bening in “20th Century Women,” (which should finally be her Oscar-winning role) a fresh idea came to me about aging; which is that it’s an unabashedly shameless, beautiful process.
I’ve seen Bening up close in a one-woman show at The Geffen called; Ruth Draper’s Monologues. As a former actress I was astonished by the virtuoso performance Bening seemed to effortlessly execute.
She portrayed four different women with four very different points of view, physical and verbal eccentricities, and relationships with over a dozen “invisible characters” in the course of an hour and a half.
It not only occurred to me that she might be the greatest actor (both male and female) of our time; but that this naturally aging woman had never been more alluring, incandescent and enveloping.
Her beauty doesn’t come from a flawless complexion, a face preternaturally frozen around age 25, but from the secret mirth always at the corner of her mischievous eyes; from her impish grin, from her exquisite intellectual and emotional intelligence; and from the way she can be both unapologetically feminine and the most substantial person in the room.
I’ve had work done. I’ve had lasers peel away time. Because I don’t feel substantial enough to age naturally the way Bening is doing. I still feel that much of what attracts people to me is my appearance; the one I’m never quite happy with.
But I yearn for more Benings. Women holding the torch high to lead the way to self-acceptance, self-love, and badass, unapologetic aging for the rest of us.
If you haven’t seen 20th Century Women you must. Thus far, for me, it’s the best movie of the year. xo S
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