The Helen Mirren Files – ‘Age of Consent’

Age of Consent remains a fascinating film of contradictions. The 1969 film, based on the autobiography of the Austrailian painter Norman Lindsay, starred James Mason as painter Bradley Morahan. The Australian painter has lost his muse. On a sparsely inhabited island in the Great Barrier Reef, he finds in a beautiful young girl named Cora, played by Helen Mirren.

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Michael Powell’s film would be the first major role of Helen Mirren’s career. At the tender of 24, she had, until that time, honed her craft on the stage with The National Youth Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Mirren does well as Cora, underlining the duality of a female’s role in relationships and society as a whole.

She is both virgin and slut, little girl and world-wise. Mirren’s naked body adds to the contradictions that tear at Cora. She is a beautiful representation of womanhood; her large breasts and shapely ass aren’t those of a young soul.

But Cora is a young.

She has never had to confront her womanhood; that is until the painter wants to immortalize her.

The question is – is he immortalizing Cora or her breasts and ass? Is there a difference?

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