"I was watching the hypnotically horrible new Coen brothers movie, No Country For Old Men, and I couldn't shake off the sense there was something different, something thrilling and vivid, about the performances of all the lead actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin. It was only after half an hour of awe that I realized what it was. They can all move their faces." That is Johann Hari in the Independent, and you know what? He's got a point. Hari, who notes that women in Hollywood have long altered their appearances for stardom (including Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe), posits that today's actresses have done themselves — and the movie-going public — a great disservice by freezing their faces with Clostridium botulinum bacteria, also known as Botox.

He contends that British actresses like Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Julie Christie win awards because they "have accepted the potential richness that comes from worry-lines and crows' feet. " But look at it this way: Do American actresses even want to win Oscars? Doesn't it seem like they'd rather party, pose for Miu Miu, attend fashion shows, get free clothes, and star in L'Oréal commercials? Being the "face" of a brand means doing a few days' work for a year-long campaign, always looking glamorous and hauling in some big bucks. Appearing in a film means memorizing lines, working with other actors whose talent may outshine yours, and then doing a publicity tour during which magazine editors and morning talk show hosts will ask you questions about your love life you don't feel like answering. The truth is that Ellen Page and Katherine Heigl may be fielding offers, but Hollywood doesn't have tons of roles for women of a certain age anyway. Doesn't ditching flicks for a contract with Chanel sorta make sense? And if a flawless face is what they want, what's the harm in complying?

Johann Hari: Botox Is Destroying Hollywood Stars' Ability To Act [The Independent]