Nonetheless, she’s never done anything quite as superb as her work in Love After Love, in which she stars as a woman coming to grips with the death of her husband, and the tumultuous individual and familial upheaval created by that loss. As Suzanne, MacDowell exudes a bracing mix of vulnerability, tenderness and longing, as well as a healthy dose of misery and bitterness that comes to the fore during her many scenes opposite Chris O’Dowd (as Suzanne’s misstep-making son Nicholas). It’s a tale of grief, dysfunction and survival that heralds its first-time writer/director Russell Harbaugh as one of American cinema’s finest new artists, and reconfirms MacDowell’s standing as a Hollywood star of formidable charisma and complexity.
MacDowell has always been treated differently by the film community. Her southern accent has been held against her since day one. Her ability to act has never been in doubt, but she has suffered because of her fashion model good looks (as if that's even possible, and it is).
I'm glad she's working but I wish there was more for her to do. I wish there was more for people who are older and don't care for super hero movies to see and experience because this would be a great time for telling stories about living in an age when our politics aren't working and our lives and work are changing minute by minute. MacDowell would be great in anything relatable because she has always made that her strength. If she isn't being denigrated for her looks, then someone probably has an issue with her age.
It's not fair for her, or for any actress in her generation, to have to struggle to make art when her abilities are simply not in question. What is problematic here is that the people who control what gets made in Hollywood have never come to terms with the fact that older people like stories they can relate to.