Does anyone else think Jennifer Aniston has lost the plot?
She was undeniably cute in endless episodes of Friends. A show about young people, aimed (mostly) at young people, it was reasonably entertaining in its day, with a strong cast of characters.
When Jen married Brad it was the culmination of years of good luck, hard work and happiness for the pretty young actress. With a successful career, a gorgeous film star husband, good luck, wealth and health, she pretty much had it all. And then life gave her one of those rabbit punches to the back of the neck, as it will do every so often whether you’re blissfully happy or already struggling. Jen’s punch came in the form of Mr and Mrs Smith or to be more precise, Mr Smith’s interest in Mrs Smith.
Not surprisingly, the high profile Aniston-Pitt split and divorce meant life rapidly unravelled for Jennifer. She was quickly subjected to photoshoots of Brad and Angelina posing with little children as a happy family. Press reports attacked Aniston for driving Pitt away by refusing to have his kids. She was obsessed by her career, they said, while Jolie managed to combine her career effortlessly with adopting and giving birth.
Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows that it’s a life-changing event and a challenging time. The challenge is, of course, how to rebuild your life without the marriage that was central to it. Some people accept that the marriage is over and are able to move forward. Some become bitter. Others become frankly destabilised. It’s just my view but I think Aniston is in that third group.
I’ve written elsewhere about her focus on her career since the divorce and the fact that she seems to be chasing goals unlikely to make her happy. Her latest photoshoot for Allure magazine reinforces that view (see it here).
Last year Aniston appeared on the Jay Leno show and gave a weary, rather depressed interview in which she complained about working too much. She said pretty much that work was a burden and that she wasn’t taking any summer holiday. In fact, she seemed taken aback that Leno even asked if she would be taking a summer break.
At the time, she was working on The Switch, a rather dismal romcom about a 40-year-old woman seeking a sperm donor in order to have a baby she would raise on her own.
The Allure photoshoot coincides with Aniston promoting another romantic comedy, Just Go With It, starring Adam Sandler. In the film, she plays a friend used by Sandler to help him win the woman he loves.
Since her divorce, Jennifer has had a string of love affairs which haven’t worked out and seems to have chosen films which oddly mirror her status as a single woman. She works excessively – acting, producing, promoting her films, marketing perfume, always making more money. She’s become increasingly concerned with her looks and image.
All in all Jennifer Aniston gives the impression that she’s really lost her way – and the Allure photoshoot confirms that impression. In it, she poses on a bed, in pink pyjamas with the top unbuttoned, dangling a child’s teddy bear by her side. Her hair hangs in her eyes and she pouts like a little girl. For a 41-year-old woman, it’s a pretty creepy pose. The photo….middle-aged-woman-as-sexualised-5-year-old….has a bizarre paedophilic quality to it.
In 2 other close-up shots, her face is airbrushed to within an inch of reality. There is not a hint of a wrinkle, just artificially flawless skin and piercingly synthetic blue eyes with unreal lashes. The close-up shots could be of some anonymous model in an advert for shampoo or skin cream – they’re lacking in any individual character.
This odd preoccupation with perfecting her image through filters and Photoshop – and particularly her attempts to look far younger than she is – suggest Aniston is having a hard time rebuilding her life post-divorce. One also suspects she’s being badly advised by stylists or agents, encouraging her to make bad choices.
Aniston has always come across as a pleasant person and perhaps she’s simply enjoying life and has peace of mind. But it’s hard, looking at what she’s up to these days, not to conclude that she’s lost her balance and that she’s chasing the wrong goals. They would be, specifically: money….and applause for looking young and pretty.