Age-gap relationships in films judged for their acceptability by a bloke

ANNE Hathaway’s new film centres on a 40-year-old woman romancing a younger man. Should we be supportive of such relationships, or are they doomed to fail? Tom Logan, 45, gives his verdict.

The Idea of You, 2024

I’ve not seen this, but I know Anne Hathaway is 40 and her toyboy is 25. That’s only a 15-year difference, and I can’t see any problem with me dating a 30-year-old. Apart from me being married, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Also Anne looks like she could still easily fit into her Catwoman suit, so she’s going to be gorgeous until at least about 48. After that we – I mean ‘they’ – would have to split up, obviously.

Entrapment, 1999

Some might say the 39-year age gap between Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones is ‘creepy’ or ‘implausible’, but you’ve got to bear in mind that men just look distinguished with a dash of grey, or severe male pattern baldness in my case. Also, in real life Ms Zeta-Jones got married to Michael Douglas who’s older than her, so that definitely proves my point, somehow.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, 2022

I’ve got my reservations about this fictional relationship. Leo is 28 and Emma Thompson’s character Nancy is 62. That’s granny territory, and therefore wrong. I don’t feel I’m being sexist or ageist, because I definitely fancied her in Fortunes of War. It’s just that the idea of having sex with someone who wears fleecy boots and goes to bingo on a mobility scooter makes me feel extremely ill, frankly.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, 2023

Much was made of the 20-year age difference between Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise, but you have to bear in mind that men age better than women, so if Hayley was shagging Tom all that would happen is that she’d ‘catch up’ eventually. I feel the same would be true of me and the attractive student in Sainsbury’s who I try to impress with pathetic gambits like: ‘Funny, isn’t it, how Cheshire cheese comes from Cheshire but cheddar cheese doesn’t come from Cheddarshire!’

American Pie, 1999

Jennifer Coolidge, or ‘Stifler’s mom’ as she is better known, was 38, while Finch who she sleeps with is about 18. I’m going to rule this relationship unacceptable because I think sleeping with one of your children’s friends could lead to an awkward situation between all of you. Obviously that wouldn’t apply if Stifler’s mom had, say, fancied the work experience girl at her office, because then they’d be professional colleagues.

The Graduate, 1967

Benjamin Braddock is 21 and Mrs Robinson is… in her 40s? No one seems to know, and it’s all a bit confusing because Anne Bancroft was only 36, and I’d definitely have had sex with her at any age from my teens to my eventual death in the future. So I’d say this age-gap relationship is definitely okay. Also, as Anne got older she could knock a few years off by washing the grey bit out of her hair, although I’ve got no problem with her looking like a sexy skunk.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992

I can see why this might be problematic. Dracula is about 460 years old, and Mina Harker is presumably the same age as Winona Ryder, so 21. There’s undeniably a big age difference, and he doesn’t so much ask her out as bite her neck, but I don’t think you can really criticise Count Dracula here. He’s got a wealth of life experience and younger women find that attractive, like when I tell my teenage daughter’s friend Cassie about Britpop.

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Not being a total f**king moron, and six other ways to avoid falling for a romance scammer

HAS 26-year-old Natalia slid into your DMs again? Horny for you, is she? Horny in a keeps-needing-money way? These rules will keep your bank account as untouched as your genitalia: 

‘Look in the mirror, dickhead’

Strutting down Market Walk in Chorley, surveying the Greggs that passes for a town centre, when was the last time a gorgeous blonde sought out your company, unsolicited, fascinated with your stories about your bad hip and your son who hardly calls anymore? Never? But you believe it when it happens online?

‘Never believe in destiny’ 

The internet hold billions of lonely souls and even more bots. Yet you believe complaining about dog mess on neighbourhood groups has spontaneously propelled your one true love into your DMs, and that she’s a sexy Slovakian who loves crown green bowling and the name Reg. Destiny, or you follow so many salacious Instagrams you made yourself a target?

‘Have basic intelligence’ 

Why can’t Jax of Gabon ever manage a Zoom? Needs to buy a new webcam? Who has an external webcam? Are you communicating on MSM Messenger in 2004? And the regular phone is no good because he’s too shy, an odd bout of timidity from a man who claims to be an Olympic shot-putter and his country’s best hope of overthrowing the military junta.

‘Google her, for f**k’s sake’ 

It’s flattering that a woman combining a PhD in Microbiology at the People’s Socialist University of Wallonia with professional modelling manages to talk about your favourite Coronation Street characters for eight hours a day. But perhaps Google her fake university, her photos from 90s Gap adverts, or her bloody name before pledging love, yeah?

‘Never send nudes’ 

A nude photo, even if you are middle-aged, obese and profoundly unloveable, is currency. It can be used by the Ghanian gang you’ve dispatched it to not only for morbid entertainment but for blackmail and, given the viral potential of the image, expect them to open high.

‘Never send money’ 

At the moment you’re about to transfer your savings into the account of Drazen Raznatovic – ‘my brother’, Tatiana explains pre-emptively – wonder if this wasn’t the goal all along. Is it not slightly peculiar that she’s being held at immigration but can WhatsApp continually? Do they let you do that? Is she, perhaps, after your money without even giving you sex?

‘Don’t bother calling the police’ 

You gave someone cash because you’re stupid. That’s not a crime, though they might get a laugh out of it.