Ahead of Samantha's Oh Baby, a look at memorable films on age leap, from Freaky Friday to 17 Again
The medium of cinema gives a lot of creative licenses. From body transformation to time travel, it convinces viewers of the impossible. Enmeshed within this make-belief world is yet another concept of age leap, which many films have dealt with. Quirky, fun storytelling has created endearing films filled with moments of hilarity.
A new entrant into this field is Samantha Akkineni-starrer upcoming comedy Oh Baby. In the trailer, veteran actress Lakshmi's character is seen entering a photo booth and with a magical flash of a camera and a prompt time travel, she is transformed to a 24-year-old Samantha.
On Throwback Thursday and ahead of the release of Oh Baby this Friday on 5 July, here is a look at some memorable films that have warped the concept of age and time.
A Penny Marshall directorial, Big was all heart and innocent charm. Twelve-year-old Josh Baskin, a precocious kid, is frustrated with life and wishes to turn 'big.' After his fantasy falls through, a 35-year-old Tom Hanks takes his place. Initially stumbling through life, Hanks' elder Josh gradually becomes a successful employee of MacMillan Toy Company. He falls in love with his colleague Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins) and generally has a gala time playing with toys for a living. Yet, the multiple adult responsibilities wear him down, and he misses family and friends. Frantically in search of the machine that got him old, Josh finally makes it back to his childhood.
Through his sincere portrayal of a boy-man, Hanks garnered widely positive reviews for the film. His prowess was such that the Academy nominated him for Best Actor (Hanks) and Best Original Screenplay. Special mention to the unforgettable scene where Hanks and his onscreen boss Mr MacMillan (played by Robert Loggia) prance around on a foot-operated electronic keyboard, performing to 'Heart and Soul' and 'Chopsticks.'
13 Going on 30 (2004)
At a time when Hollywood was on a Disney overdrive, producing candyfloss narratives of Prince Charming, Jennifer Garner-starrer 13 Going on 30 provided the perfect blend of self-empowerment in a way which was not didactic. Director Gary Winick comfortably placed Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa's written works to fit the up-and-coming, chic Manhattan canvas.
In the film, socially awkward teen Jenna Rink promptly transforms into an almost-30-year-old woman, working for one of her favourite magazines. Her goofy and equally awkward (now grown-up) friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) informs her about the time lapse, adding that she had in fact changed into the popular, 'cool' kid.
Garner was lauded for her impeccable performance and the film made good business. But what most critics pointed out was the fact that 13 Going on 30 reflected a perfect arc from frivolous pleasures of teen life, to a grounded, more worthy adult self. This fact, though innocuous on first consideration, was actually what steered both Mark and Jennifer towards the project. That, and a cute narrative.
Through Jenna's younger version, the film tried portraying the Mean Girls-syndrome acquired by most then-teens in schools, a fact which led (and still does) to dangerous instances of bullying. In a desperate bid to fit in, many school children lead suppressed, unhappy lives. But Garner's attempts changed that. Her clumsy-yet-adorable avatar for the elder version of Jenna was not only important from an audience point of view, but also something that came organically to her. Arguably one of her most popular works, the film furthered her position in the industry after her Golden Globe haul for Alias.
17 Again (2009)
Zac Efron's fantasy comedy was well-received across the board. Fresh out of finishing the last High School Musical, Efron was quite nervous to play the younger version of a 37-year-old man. "What on earth makes you think that I'm up for the challenge of playing a 37-year-old?" was reportedly how the actor reacted on being considered for the part in which the protagonist suddenly finds himself transform into his 17-year-old self.
Self-admittedly, the character of Mike O'Donnell, the elder version of which was played by Matthew Perry, was nothing remotely akin to Zac. After considerable back-and-forth, Zac decided to plunge head-first into the project and was apparently a keen observer of Perry. From putting hands inside his pockets while standing to a gentle smile with pursed lips — everything Perry did, was picked up by Efron.
But Efron's inculcation of Perry's idiosyncrasies was not where the tale ended. Efron had to physically transform himself too. Since the actor had portrayed his deft dancing skills amply through his High School Musical franchise, slipping into a haggard, tired body of an-almost 40-year-old was crucial. "He's a dancer, so he bounces into a room. He's got so much energy," the director recalls. "He was playing an older man in a teenager's body, so the stiffness... the way you walk (becomes important)," recalls director Burr Steers in an interaction with Bustle.
As per a report in Variety, 17 Again was the number one film after its opening weekend, earning $24.1 million (with 76 percent of the viewership on the opening night coming from young women — courtesy, Efron).
Note: And now some films which blew our minds and tugged at our hearts but did not exactly deal with age leaps (but just had to be included in the list)
Freaky Friday (2003)
By far Hollywood's most enjoyable work on body swaps, this Mark Waters directorial had the right proportion of fun and drama. Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan's flawless rapport shone bright on screen and the film went on to make well above $160 million globally, which at the time was a considerable feat.
Anna Coleman (Lohan) and her mother Tess swap bodies unexpectedly after a fortuitous fortune cookie episode at their favourite Chinese restaurant. Always at loggerheads with each other, Anna now has to act responsible in her single mother's body, while Tess has a hard time shrugging off detention, snarly professors, over-enthusiastic friends, and an overtly passionate school crush. Curtis and Lohan were clearly a treat to watch throughout the film.
Curtis, 45 years at the time, slipped effortlessly into the skin of a spoilt, entitled school brat, heavily into musical bands. She transformed into the cool mother, allowing herself to glam up with slim-fit dresses, multiple body piercings and coloured hair. Curtis' exaggerated teenage tactics were far from a caricature and she convinced audiences that she truly was a teenager trapped inside the body of a senior psychologist.
Lohan, on the other hand, was equally delightful as her onscreen mother, always proper and solution-driven. The film won her multiple Teen Choice and MTV awards.
In their review of the film, Newsweek aptly defines Curtis' Golden Globe nominated performance as "the most startling metamorphosis is Curtis' transformation from fading horror flick queen to dazzling comedienne."
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
David Fincher's fantasy romantic drama brought forth Brad Pitt as a thinking actor. In an inexplicable turn of events, Benjamin Button (Pitt) ages in reverse. Spanning across the two World Wars, the film delved elegantly into the life of Benjamin and the hardships he faced owing to his malady. Cate Blanchett's powerful performance as his love interest only bolstered the appeal of the film, garnering Oscar nominations in 13 categories (out of which the film won for Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects).
Benjamin Button stood as a stark contrast to Fincher's otherwise dark, cynical narratives. The idea of his father's death propelled Fincher to delve into the film , he reveals in David Prior‘s documentary on the film.
Fincher's film was based on the F Scott Fitzgerald short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He confessed that much unlike Pitt, who saw the film as a romantic saga, he saw it through the prism of death. This attitude was creatively reflected throughout the film, with the opening scene depicting Daisy (Blanchett) lying on her deathbed in New Orleans while hurricane Katrina threatened to destroy all.
Claudio Miranda‘s magnificent cinematography and Alexandre Desplat‘s unparalleled score provided the narrative with the required impetus to create a sense of timelessness — to highlight the eternal Möbius strip that is life and death, that is the past and the present.
(All images from Twitter)
Updated Date: Jul 04, 2019 17:15:47 IST