What's your spirit age?
Or ... which Diane Keaton are you?
Hi! This is Jenni.
Diane Keaton called me on the phone last week for a freelance story I was writing and that was pretty exciting. I felt, briefly, like I was actually in a Diane Keaton movie because if Corey couldn’t get home early from work I was going to have to keep Lua beside me during the call—which would absolutely not have worked—or place her wide-awake in her crib, while I pretended that the screaming toddler in the background was not my own. (This might have been a deleted scene from Baby Boom.)
But Corey made it home, and my phone rang and someone named April said, “Jenni, you have Diane on the line.”
And Diane Keaton, sounding exactly like herself, was like, “This is Jenni! This is Jenni from The New York Times? I love it. Hi Jenni! This is Diane.” And I just about died.
Maybe I’m supposed to be objective, but I will go ahead and say that I’m not objective about Diane Keaton. Or, rather that I consider her, objectively, to be a cultural treasure.
Baby Boom was one of the first non-animated movies I truly loved and for my money there is just no better movie mom than she is, as Nina Banks opposite Steve Martin in Father of the Bride, in that chambray shirt and black pearls. Yes, yes, Annie Hall is so chic, la-di-da and all that, but this was the Diane Keaton I grew up with.
Anyway, I adore her and was thrilled to have an assignment where I got to revel in her greatness, and share that with other people who might feel similarly. (Or monsters who don’t, fine.)
So I wrote a story for The New York Times hooked to Mack & Rita, a new movie in which a 30-year-old writer named Mack (Elizabeth Lail, who you may know from You) longs to unleash her inner 70-year-old. She does a past-life regression at a Palm Springs bachelorette party (as one does), and emerges as … Diane Keaton.
It’s a fun, daffy Diane Keaton vehicle set against a backdrop of LA’s silliest new age influencer culture. Come for Diane Keaton shrooming with a terrier voiced by Martin Short; stay for the empowering female friendships. Top-notch slumber party fare.
What’s your spirit age?
I liked it because what’s not to like, but also because it gave me a reason to ask a bunch of people at the premiere one of my favorite questions: What’s your spirit age? As in, if you were to do what Mack did and climb into a repurposed tanning bed that would help you channel your inner self, who would emerge? How old would you be?
Not in the Times story, but one of my favorite people on this was Molly Duplass, the 10-year-old daughter of the film’s director Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass. She said she felt generally her own age, but sometimes feels younger and takes out her old toys to play. Even 10-year-olds need to access their inner children. Also, in regards to fashion: “Blue shirt, green shorts. That’s my usual.”
I was at a 40th birthday party recently when this question was posed at a big table, and it was fun and revealing to hear everyone’s answers. (Mine’s 17, we’ll discuss another time.) It’s something I’ve thought about for a decade now, ever since reading this Carl Swanson interview with Jane Pratt, in which she she pegged his "emotional age" as 13. “Maybe she’s right,” he wrote, “and I’ll always be that lonely kid in a new school.”
70 is the new 30
The Times story points out that 70 is the new 30, in the sense of being a new kind of “aspirational” age—what with the whole “coastal grandmother” TikTok thing, #cottagecore décor, and all that—and poses a couple ideas why many might be eager for their AARP cards.
Caitlin Flanagan’s brilliant coastal grandmother piece in the Atlantic is a great read that really informed my thinking about this, and allowed me to see that a deeper appeal of the coastal grandmother—deeper, even, than high-loft cashmere in mere whispers of colors—is that she’s earned this moment.
Flanagan seems to think that young CG-wannabes are missing this point, but I don’t necessarily agree. I think it’s a scary, weird, and exhausting time to be young and they probably *do* understand that it would be really nice to feel they’ve earned the right (and the money) to sit around and drink wine with their closest pals in a well-appointed kitchen.
Anyway, I find this all fun to think about, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to watch 13 Going on 30, you know, for work. I had somehow never watched it all the way through and it’s a joy, with some great aughts fashion moments, and an adorable Mark Ruffalo. Maybe Big is next.
Have a good day, and a great weekend!
I continue to feel weirdly oppressed by food preparation, so if something is inspiring you in this realm, please reply or comment to send help!