David Gritten writes,
Streep has once again become the actress of choice for a generation of film audiences in her own age range. Mostly these are women, who see her in an example of how to act one's age with not just grace but also intelligence, wit and exuberance. But I also know several men in that same demographic who admit to liking Streep more than then they ever did.
He notes that Streep has recently been taking on more comic roles, a departure from the Kramer vs. Kramer seriousness of her early career, but he doesn't identify this as the cause of her recent success. Rather, he says,
I put it down to sex. Quite apart from her remarkable skills as a film actress, there's a glow, a sensuality and a radiance about Streep these days. Put simply, she's looking great.
Given this hotness, Gritten implies, it's no wonder that Streep's recent characters are shown "living out the exquisite little secret that you can be 60 and still have a splendid sex life" — like Jane in It's Complicated who confesses, "I'm a bit of a slut." Gritten may be correct that Streep's glow comes from the fact that "she and her husband now find themselves at an enviable stage of life: their children (the youngest is 18) are self-sufficient, and they are healthy and vigorous enough in their 60s to enjoy their independence." In fact, this may be an enviable stage in many people's lives, but it's not usually represented onscreen. Nor is any woman old enough to have grown children usually portrayed as "enviable."
Streep does look great these days — would that we all had such bone structure — and she can be wonderful in comedic roles. But might some of her sexiness come from the fact that we see her talking about and enjoying sex? It's a chicken-and-egg question that Gritten doesn't try to answer, but it's worth pondering: does simply putting an older actress in sexual situations remind us that she, and other women her age, are still sexual beings? And might the old canard that men can't possibly be expected to find older women hot be partly rooted in the fact that when these women appear in movies and TV, they often seem to have been neutered? Again, chicken and egg — but it's worth remembering that viewers, if Gritten is any guide, don't necessarily run screaming when post-menopausal ladies talk dirty. And what's unusual about Streep may not be her enduring attractiveness and sensuality, but the professional clout that enables her to keep working in an industry that usually pastures leading ladies at 35. Maybe if it didn't take two Oscars and 13 nominations to sleep with a man your own age onscreen, a splendid sex life at 60 wouldn't be such a secret.
Meryl Streep - 60, And Never Sexier [Telegraph]