The 50-something Sweetheart
Meg Ryan. It’s a name that doesn’t come up often, but is instantly recognizable. Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan – America’s Sweethearts, through and through.
But sometimes the Sweetheart stumbles: Julia’s had her share of romantic entanglements (which have probably just made her more endearing), Reese told an officer he didn’t have jurisdiction over the ground he speaks on (yes, speaks) and Sandra Bullock had a pretty awful divorce (but none of that was her doing and she handled it like a pro). And Meg?
To me, Meg is one of those “forever A” types, if in name only. After years of playing the lovable, adorable and slightly neurotic girl next door, a few things happened. Meg turned 40. She had a fling with Russell Crowe and paid dearly for it (it was barely a blip for Crowe and really, does anyone think Dennis Quaid was an ideal husband?). She had a few film missteps – Kate & Leopold (with Hugh Jackman) and showed her boobs in In the Cut. And just like that, a 20+ career flat-lined. Audiences are fickle.
So she retreated, severely cutting down her work schedule (whether by choice or lack of demand is up to spin) and since the early 2000s her films have been forgettable at best and dreadful at worst. The Women? Terrible! But maybe she wanted to work with Annette Bening, and that is totally understandable.
Meg’s doing a bit of TV right now on Web Therapy and seems to be easing back into the spotlight with a flattering PEOPLE cover story. I tried to find it but it’s not on shelves yet (in Canada), so I’m going by the excerpt. The message is good for her. She left Hollywood and the superficiality of LA for the culture of New York; she is raising her daughter in private, dating an aging but not embarrassing musician and does her best not to draw attention to herself. Delia Ephron (sister of the late, great Nora) comments for the piece, saying that New York is the perfect place for Meg because she’s about so much more than movies.
This makes me want to maybe watch When Harry Met Sally for the 100th time. But – and I haven’t read the full article yet – will it address… her face? I mean, for a while it was looking pretty jacked. Not that that’s a dealbreaker for famous women or men – I think we can handle a somewhat jacked face. But I would like to know WHY she jacked her face. Because if she retreated willingly, then it wasn’t the lack of work that motivated the fillers and whatever else she’s done. But did she mess with her face in an attempt to keep work, making her retreat less of a choice than she wants it to seem?
Either way, I feel for her. She turns 40 and her career nosedives -- that would f-ck with anyone’s head. You are beloved for 20+ years, then you are kicked to the curb over some Aussie dick and a couple of bad movies.
But people who want to live privately don’t usually consent to PEOPLE cover stories, and if her friends are talking, this is consensual (also, the cover photo is pretty flattering). So is Meg thinking of easing back into it? And is there a place for her in movies like Gravity and August: Osage County? If offered the part of Amanda Seyfried’s mom in a romantic comedy (which is probably the kind of roles she would be offered), would she take it?
Or should Meg turn to where so many of her contemporaries are turning for great work: television. Glenn Close, Kevin Spacey, Don Cheadle, Michael Sheen, Paul Giamatti, Robin Wright. I could totally see Meg’s name on that list, couldn’t you?