Venus: Troubling Goddess of Love

Ever encounter intergenerational romancers and wonder what May sees in December? If you're stuck for an answer, I have one word for you: Venus.

Watch this beautiful British movie (Mirimax 2006) starring Peter O'Toole as Maurice opposite newcomer Jodie Whittaker as Jessie and you'll have your answer. It's kindness. When life itself has knocked the corners off of December, May might become the beneficiary of that softer being.

So it goes in Venus. Sincere and warm words melt the ice around the heart of this tough young woman who's game for just about anything but her assigned task of taking care of her aging, grouchy Uncle Ian (Leslie Phillips).

Maurice, an actor reduced by age and declining health to playing bit roles, sets her heart aflutter because he is kind and has the emotional capacity to absorb for her youthful cruelty. He buys her meals. He listens. He walks with her. He takes her shopping (though he doesn't always remember his money). He takes her with him to movie sets. He finds her work. Takes her to the museum. Looks into her eyes and tells her she is as beautiful as that goddess of love, the troublemaker Venus. Takes to calling her Venus.
Takes like a man her violent rejection whenever he chances his arm and exceeds the bounds of their sexually-charged, though Platonic, friendship. Forgives when she leaves him standing alone.

Admiring "Venus at Her Mirror" by Velasquez, Maurice says to Jessie: "For most men, the woman's body is the most beautiful thing they will ever see." She replies: "What's the most beautiful thing a girl sees? Do you know?" Maurice: "Her first child."
That, gentlemen, is the right answer. Poor Maurice, though--he has just said it to a very young woman whose mother insisted she abort her first child. This movie covers a range and depth of emotions, to be sure. (more)


  1. Anonymous5:04 PM

    While age matters a little in this movie, it's clear that despite any age difference, people can be kind, caring and loving toward one other. Warmth can take many shapes.

    The tough part about this movie is figuring out a way to like Venus. And watching O'Toole and Redgrave at their advanced age.

  2. I like Venus. She mistreats the old man, but she is so balled up with conflict and pain that she can't quite help it--and she does get over herself to help him.


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