Then she laughed — after feeling bad and feeling angry. That was the sad-mad-ridiculous cycle of emotion actress Maggie Gyllenhaal went through when she was told that, at 37, she was too old to play the love interest of a 55-year-old male lead in a movie. Gyllenhaal told the story in a recent interview with The Wrap. But what’s striking is that it’s a story that could have been told by countless actresses over a century’s worth of film history. The ageism/sexism is what made Tina Fey’s Golden Globes joke about George Clooney* so damn funny and sad.
Worse, it’s obvious whoever told her that has never seen Secretary, the 2002 film where the young Maggie Gyllenhaal established beyond a doubt that she can play anybody’s love interest compellingly from now until she’s 98. Because love, like Maggie Gyllenhaal, is complex.
*”Gravity is nominated for best film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”