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Do age differences have to be addressed in romances? (1 Viewer)

ironpony

Senior Member
I direct my own movie projects as well as write the scripts for them so far. So I have two actors in mind for a couple in a story. However, one of the actors looks about mid to late 20s, and the other one looks in their 40s more so. I was wondering, if there is a noticeable age gap, does this have to be addressed in the story as a theme? I don't want it to be as I feel the story is about completely different things.

It's a thriller, and not about romance themes, just a couple caught up in a thriller situation more so. But if that's the case, does the age difference have to be addressed, since in most movies I can think of, it often is, if the actors have a noticeable age gap? What do you think?

Thank you for any input on this. I really appreciate it!





Answer
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
Late 20s and 40s isn't that much of an age gap and if it isn't relevant to the story, I don't see any reason to address it. There are plenty of movies out there where there are such age differences but you wouldn't really know it unless you looked on IMDB. That's where make-up comes in. ;)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
If the girl is about mid to late 20s, and the guy looks in their 40s or so? Pretty standard for Hollywood and other media. I don't think you need to address it. The other way around....then you definitely need to address it.
 

K.S. Crooks

Senior Member
Perhaps address how long the couple has been together, say 4-6 years, instead of the age difference. This allows the viewer to know they have a steady relationship and it's not a fling or that they newly met.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
If the girl is about mid to late 20s, and the guy looks in their 40s or so? Pretty standard for Hollywood and other media. I don't think you need to address it. The other way around....then you definitely need to address it.

Oh okay, but why does it need to be addressed if it's the other way around? Why does it matter one way and not the other?
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Late 20s and 40s isn't that much of an age gap and if it isn't relevant to the story, I don't see any reason to address it. There are plenty of movies out there where there are such age differences but you wouldn't really know it unless you looked on IMDB. That's where make-up comes in. ;)
But make up doesn't seem to to do much for that though, does it? For example in James Bond, a lot of people complain that Roger was too old for is leading ladies on his last three movies, and make up wasn't able to make him look young enough to match them though.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Oh okay, but why does it need to be addressed if it's the other way around? Why does it matter one way and not the other?
Yeah, good question. It's a double standard that has existed in Hollywood for a very long time. Trust me, as a woman, it's not something I advocate for. But maybe tides are changing. I'd like to think so. Sandra Bullock definitely pushed the envelope with The Proposal, although he was her assistant, so it may be implied. I can't remember if they addressed it head-on. Although, I just googled it and it is described as a boss and her "young" assistant...lol!
 

Non Serviam

WF Veterans
Make sure your dialogue suggests a relationship of equals. If one's older and the other younger, and the younger one's implied to be subordinate, there's a definite squick factor to be aware of.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay. It's just almost always, when I see a young man with an older woman in a movie, they make it part of the plot and part of the theme. But my script is more of a hostage type thriller, like Die Hard for example.

In Die Hard, would it have been weird of John McClane's wife looked 20 years older than him or would the audience just accept it, if that's what it was, without any commentary on it?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Why are you choosing to have an age gap? If it is critical to the story, then of course address it. Think about why a bit. You didn’t say which one was younger.

Is the woman younger? Is youth (and maybe looks too) all the female character has to recommend her? Does it have to do with your male character feeling like a stud? Why do it? Why can’t they be a similar age and an equal partner? It’s uncommon in real life to have huge age differences and usually frowned on, so it’s obviously a double standard when it is common in movies and shows for the lady to be quite a lot younger than her male partner. Yes, it bothers me.

If you admit freely to a double standard for it to be “okay” and treated as “normal” in shows and movies for women to be a lot younger then the other people using a double standard havent addressed it for centuries, so why have a conscience now?

If the woman is older than the man then the women in the audience will probably all be thrilled and relieved by the freshness of the idea and to have one story be different and go against the common double standard and it will be to the credit of the story to address it. It still is the thing I remember the most about Macrone and I like him for it.

If the woman is older than the man, you could even make people’s fascination with them an interesting part of the story. You could even call it the double standard that they are doubling down against. It could be so cute! And interesting!
 
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Matchu

Senior Member
I'm thinking octogenarian billionaire matched to twins of either sex in a tennis setting. Naturist village outside Bordeaux.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Why are you choosing to have an age gap? If it is critical to the story, then of course address it. Think about why a bit. You didn’t say which one was younger.

Is the woman younger? Is youth (and maybe looks too) all the female character has to recommend her? Does it have to do with your male character feeling like a stud? Why do it? Why can’t they be a similar age and an equal partner? It’s uncommon in real life to have huge age differences and usually frowned on, so it’s obviously a double standard when it is common in movies and shows for the lady to be quite a lot younger than her male partner. Yes, it bothers me.

If you admit freely to a double standard for it to be “okay” and treated as “normal” in shows and movies for women to be a lot younger then the other people using a double standard havent addressed it for centuries, so why have a conscience now?

If the woman is older than the man then the women in the audience will probably all be thrilled and relieved by the freshness of the idea and to have one story be different and go against the common double standard and it will be to the credit of the story to address it. It still is the thing I remember the most about Macrone and I like him for it.

If the woman is older than the man, you could even make people’s fascination with them an interesting part of the story. You could even call it the double standard that they are doubling down against. It could be so cute! And interesting!

Oh I am not choosing to have an age difference, it's just because of forced casting, since this is making a movie. If the casting choices, are different in age, and force the age gap, I am thinking, would I have to change anything around in the writing, and address this, or no?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh I am not choosing to have an age difference, it's just because of forced casting, since this is making a movie. If the casting choices, are different in age, and force the age gap, I am thinking, would I have to change anything around in the writing, and address this, or no?
There is no one age-appropriate to cast? I personally love Harold and Maud— just sayin’ :)

Okay, okay, your predicament is understandable. I guess if you want to make money on it, then I think it’s important to change the casting. I don’t know how to address an age gap like that that isn’t kind of creepy to most people. It would be hard to prove there were no power struggles of both gender and age and maybe even financial. One of the main plot points of Harold and Maud was the age gap and proving through showing that these two were good for each other. Maid was in her 80s and Harold 18-21 I think.

If it’s just for home and family, then no big deal. I keep thinking of all the B-rated movies which my husband watches as curiosities where the movie maker gets older and the girls stay 20 and interested which adds to the curiosity. I don’t think you’re writing anything like that, but I really don’t like seeing an age gap without basically proving to me that it is an equal relationship. And that is hard to prove in most of those real-life relationships.

This is why you’re asking. :1). I really do commend you for asking.
 
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ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay. Well I just wanted to write for the best two actors that are available for the roles. However, what I don't understand is, why is there an assumption of a power struggle just because of an age gap? How does an age gap, equal power struggle?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh okay. Well I just wanted to write for the best two actors that are available for the roles. However, what I don't understand is, why is there an assumption of a power struggle just because of an age gap? How does an age gap, equal power struggle?
There is luckily a lot to read now about the psychology of consent which would explain better than I could. But I will try to explain what I understand.

It depends on how mature the person is, but a person doesn’t just suddenly get wise and trust themselves well or know exactly what they want and have the ability to express it well at age 18. A younger person is often still partially conditioned to feeling that older people know best or know better or have more experience or can be trusted. An older age in a person wanting the relationship can still seem more like an authority figure and the younger person is often still used to complying with and trusting the older person to do the right thing for the younger person. An older person acting selfishly can take advantage of relative inexperience and the recent conditioning of trust. Sometimes older people also have more money and stability as well which brings other aspects of coercion. Legal, maybe, but hopefully frowned upon.

I heard that Harvard’s psychology department studies adolescents age 13-27. That sounds right to me to remove power-struggles of age and experience in dating.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh yes, that makes sense. But in this case, the actor is in his mid to late twenties, so what readers think there was a power struggle at that age?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh yes, that makes sense. But in this case, the actor is in his mid to late twenties, so what readers think there was a power struggle at that age?
I can’t speak for everyone, just myself, but after age 26 if the person is of sound mind and not in a cult, then I expect what they do to be their own decision and even joining a cult to be their own decision if they weren’t coerced by anyone or coerced at a younger age.

It’s still annoying to see age differences in shows and movies be so common because in real life it isn’t common so It can probably be assumed that the producer wanted to hire a pretty young woman again no matter how unusual in real life an age gap is. It’s one of those patriarchal Hollywood norms that hardly ever put the reverse genders in the same situation.

I believe there are probably some good equal relationships with 20 year age gaps out there, but I don’t think it’s very common.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay I see. I was just going by the casting options I had available that I thought were the best. But also, in real life my gf is 16 years younger than me so maybe I am more open to the idea of a large age gap therefore in fiction, compared to a lot of people?

However, if it's a young man and an older woman couple, will people not be as on board with it? It's less of a Hollywood norm though, but is it so strange that people will not accept it unless the age gap is addressed?
 
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