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Love Actually Actor Emma Thompson Calls Out Double Standards In Movie Romances. Why We Don’t Accept Older Women With Younger Men?

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When Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas began dating, I’d often check the comments on their posts. While the Americans were all either sad that the Jonas Brother crush was taken, or gushing over how gorgeous PeeCee was, Chopra’ own countrymen were trying to bring her down. They relentless complain, even now after her marriage, of how she ‘looks like his mother/elder sister’ and that the age difference is too huge. But the same people will bajaao seeti when an Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan go on to romance actresses half their age. Turns out, Bollywood isn’t the only place that caters to this double standard. British actor Emma Thompson, who has starred in movies like Love, Actually and the Harry Potter franchise, has called out Hollywood’s double standards when it comes to movie romances between older women and younger men.

The Sense & Sensibility actor appeared on the Culture Blast podcast while promoting her upcoming film Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, in which she plays a 55-year-old widow who hires a sex worker in his 20s. On the show she talked about how we usually see older men romancing younger women, but we’re rarely shown the other way round, where an older woman is with a younger man.

George Clooney (49) and Violante Placido (33) in The American (2010)

“It’s completely acceptable for George Clooney—who is delightful—to have someone who is 40 years younger than him or 30 years younger than him. If I have someone playing opposite me in a romantic way, they have to exhume someone, because I’m 61 now. Do you see what I mean? It’s completely and utterly unbalanced.”

Image: Gary Oldman (62) and Tuppence Middleton (33) in Mank (2020)

Hear hear!

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Thompson also spoke about how it is going to be quite interesting to see how people react to watching her, a 60-something, get intimate on screen with a younger man.

“If Leo Grande, the film that we make, speaks to people and people aren’t averse to seeing someone who’s 61 largely naked with a very much younger person, it’s going to be very interesting. We’ve got to keep being brave about that.”

We feel you Emma Thompson, because we see it in Bollywood all the time. Forget Bollywood, in our real lives too, there has been a custom of older, almost senior citizen men marrying younger women who could be their granddaughters. But if a woman were to date a younger man, it’s a scandalous enough subject to make a tv show out of. What’s more, in both cases, it is the woman who’s character gets trashed. If she is younger, she is probably a gold-digger; if older, she’s a witch who has ensnared the naïve young man in her clutches. Sigh.

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