Maggie Smith Criticizes Hollywood for Being Patronising and Ageist.16 October 2012
Maggie Smith has condemned and criticised Hollywood for patronising its audiences and for alienating an entire demographic of more elderly cinema goers.
Speaking about the success of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' she said: “I think it's because a lot of grownups would like films for grownups and about grownups,” which, she considers to be a rare thing. She continued speaking in this vein recently at a press conference to promote 'Quartet', which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival a few weeks ago. It's one of those illusive films 'for grownups about grownups' which apparently, only exist if Maggie stars in them.
"It seems to me there is a change in what audiences want to see. I can only hope that's correct, because there's an awful lot of people of my age around now and we outnumber the others,” she said, quoted by the Guardian, "I don't think films about elderly people have been made very much. But I think of [films like] Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy and they always seem to be fairly successful, so it's a bit baffling as to why everybody has to be treated as if they were five years old."
It's not as though there haven't been plenty of films for grownups about grownups, it's more a case of; there haven't been vary many good ones. And indeed, perhaps it really is the case that the only ones Maggie wants to see are the ones she stars in. Period dramas and adaptations are the only films that spring to mind that include the demographic and content that Maggie's after, but even a well made Austen adaptation is still about young people. Of the past ten, or even 20 years, only a handful of films spring to mind other than the ones Maggie already mentioned that fulfill all the criteria. Films such as Calender Girls and About Schmidt and... well that's pretty much where the list runs dry.
Along with many other prejudices, including racism and sexism; ageism is increasingly becoming important in various fields of study and is being given more attention by the media. Perhaps Hollywood really should take Maggie's advice and run with it. Maggie Smith stars alongside Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins in the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman, in the adaptation of Quartet, which was originally a play by Ronald Harwood. It's set for release in the UK on January 4th and December 28th in the US.