I rented The Station Agent (2003) the other night and forgot what a delightful character piece it was. And the best part about the entire movie was Patricia Clarkson. She was funny, sexy and utterly charming as the love interest to Peter Dinklage. A totally believable, heartbreaking portrayal of a mother who lost her son and lost her way in the process. I loved her so much in that movie that I followed it up with a much earlier, much less meaty role but the only one I had in my DVD library with Patricia: The Untouchables (1987).
I watched Patricia play the adoring wife of Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness and was enraptured once again with her amazing on-screen presence. Then I realized what seemed pretty profound in the early-morning hours of a Saturday night: Patricia Clarkson does not age. Okay, she ages along with the rest of us, but unlike the rest of us — she gets more gorgeous and sexy as she ages oh so gracefully.
To prove my point, I watched her online in several more films, like the more recent Easy A and Cairo Time (both 2010). She was even more luminous now, literally glowing off the screen. So, I just had to look her up and find out that Patricia was, well, well into her 50’s. Not only that, but she’s been cast more now than when she first started out – over thirty years ago and running. A true anachronism if you consider Hollywood’s attitude towards leading-ladies over 30. Patricia just keeps getting cast when most actresses have hung it up, short of Meryl Streep.
Maybe Patricia truly is timeless and therefore the normal rules in today’s youth-obsessed American culture don’t apply. Maybe she’s got great genes along with a youthful spirit and joy for life and her work. But in an age where teenage girls are getting plastic surgery, I believe Patricia Clarkson should be more the rule than the exception: A woman who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, no matter what her age. I know that not everyone can be so lucky – but then again maybe she knows something we don’t – that life should be celebrated every day, no matter what you do or who you are. And therein lies the secret of her timeless beauty and success.