The timeless and legendary Uma Thurman stepped out on the red carpet on Monday to promote her new mini-series [The Slap](series:1221063). Unfortunately, she herself was slapped with an onslaught of negative commentary about her appearance, with every celebrity and gossip blog throwing in their two cents on how different the Kill Bill star looks.
Perez Hilton and Us Weekly deemed her "unrecognizable." Hollywood Life called her so-called new look "shocking." The Daily Mail went one step further and showed a complete lack of delicacy with their comments. Starting off their tirade with the headline "Now what has Uma Thurman done to her face?" and claiming that the actress "turned heads for all the wrong reasons," their article is indicative of the kind of vitriol older (and arguably all) actresses can face just by showing their face in public.
Here's the look that is causing all the buzz.
Okay, here's what I'm seeing. This is a 44-year-old actress (and former model) who is so attuned to being in the public eye that she has virtually never had a cosmetic blunder. For what may be the first time in her entire lengthy career, she opted against false eyelashes and a heavy eye. The lack of mascara and eye shadow, especially when coupled with the heavy lip, creates the illusion of a "new face." I'm certainly no expert when it comes to make-up, but doesn't the picture speak for itself?
Even though she remains dewy and gorgeous, this minor aesthetic change has set off a firestorm of controversy that I think is out of hand. At the absolute most scandalous, this is a bit of a lift or some Botox, but calling this a shocking new face is extremely overblown. We can't hold actresses to an impossibly youthful standard of beauty and then be outraged when they don't live up to that.
This certainly isn't the first time an actress above the age of 40 has been taken to task for her "unacceptable" appearance. Just recently, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones widely received unfiltered disdain for their supposedly altered faces. It's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario for these actresses, who are caught in a bind of aging gracefully while simultaneously remaining fresh-faced and attractive.
Many on the other side of this debate rush to point out Meryl Streep, as if her success belies the existence of any ageism in Hollywood. However, Meryl herself has spoken openly about this issue, and she could not be more clear about the way women are treated after hitting a certain benchmark.
The paragon of aging gracefully—not to mention one of the most acclaimed actors of our lifetime—was relegated to the role of a crone way back in 1989! To put this into perspective, this is what Meryl looked like that year.
And Hollywood was telling her to play a role of the like she just accepted this year, over 25 years later. We don't know for sure if Uma Thurman is being pigeonholed into or denied certain roles, but the response she has received is symptomatic of the same problem that Meryl faced years ago. As Tim Teeman at the Daily Beast put it, "Will tabloids ever allow celebrities to age or look as they want, without constant gawking and shaming?"
At the point, all signs point to a definitive "nope!"
Lastly, let's not forget that one of Uma's most iconic roles saw her assassinating former friends who betrayed her. While this was just a character, I'm not sure I would want to cross somebody who played that role so convincingly.
What do you think of the controversy over Uma Thurman's appearance this week? Is it sensationalized hullabaloo, or is the response justified?