Jane Fonda is 77. OMG. 77! When did THAT happen? She’s playing a 70 year old on our new obsession, the Netflix series, Grace and Frankie, and she is good. She’s awfully thin, though, so much so that it always looks to me like her bones could just snap. But oh-so-beautiful. She had significant cosmetic surgery some years ago that made her look more generically beautiful than her true self. But her old self seems to be back. Maybe things settle in over time, I don’t know.
Fonda’s a smart cookie. I always liked her. And she has a beautiful Coton de Tuleare dog. If this role is one of her swan songs, she couldn’t have chosen a better one.
Her costar is Lilly Tomlin, who is hilarious. And 75. When did THAT happen? There was a day when Tomlin was all over the media with her special brand of comedy. But not for a long time. In this though, her character has inherent sweetness which she plays so well. She also gets to play a little daffy and dotty, a Tomlin special.
Is she gay? She IS a lesbian and married to her long time business partner, I think. Funny how I almost forgot. It’s no big deal. That’s because being gay is not WHO she is but a part of who she is. Unlike so many celebs today who are either afraid to come out or who come out on parade. Not to mention every celeb in the world, straight or gay, who has to suck face in public for the paps. Silliness. No, Lily’s not only funny, but a class act.
And for all those gay actors who think they’ll lose roles if they come out? Lily is playing a straight woman of a certain age and she is gay-gay-gay. (Come out, come out, George Clooney!)
Sam Waterston plays her husband. He’s 74 and plays true to age. He’s endearing, much more so than his last big role on The Network, another show I loved. And in which Fonda also had regular role. Martin Sheen is also in the series, playing Fonda’s husband. He is also 74 and has a darling little pot belly. He and Waterston play law partners who discover they are in love. They come out and leave their wives to be together.
In just about every episode, they kiss. Not a big juicy kiss, but small ones that are age-appropriate for the screen, and always very sweet. I love that these two actors are so believable.
It’s a ground-breaking series and another example of how Netflix has really stepped up to provide some of the best entertainment on the planet. Not to mention the best star power.
There aren’t a lot of roles for aging actors, a fact that a playwright friend of a certain age and I lament quite often. She wrote a quite funny play with five roles for elderly women, a rarity. The dialogue is really snappy and left the audience in stitches. See, that’s the thing. After a certain age, you can say what you want. The writer who gets that and writes older characters also gets to write some funny stuff. My friend gets it and so do the writers of Grace and Frankie. Another thing that I love is the series touches realistically and brilliantly on so many facets of aging, from sexual activity to fear of being alone to moving to coming to terms with life changes. It’s easy to relate to every bit of it.
Grace and Frankie is not only a funny series, it’s also touching, poignant and well-acted. I’m particularly enjoying the role of one of Fonda’s daughters, played by June Diane Raphael. Raphael is a beautiful actress who is height-weight appropriate, not super-thin. At least not at the moment. But I’ll bet $100 by next season she will have dropped 20 lbs and become as emaciated as her on-screen sister, Brooklyn Decker. Who, to tell you the truth, doesn’t look so good on screen.
If you don’t already subscribe to Netflix, this series and their House of Cards are both good reasons to sign up or find someone who will let you binge with them. Just don’t miss Grace and Frankie.