Dating an older woman is a common heterosexual male fantasy. There is an assumption that with age comes experience; the starting point of this perceived experience usually being the bedroom. Getting involved with an older woman carries with it (for the guy) an immense sense of triumph. The woman, much like the man, can also be empowered by the fact that she is still youthful enough to hold her own. But, in real life, these relationships can also be fraught with complications.
Prime tells the story of recent divorcee Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman), a sophisticated New Yorker in her late 30s, who meets and becomes involved with David Bloomberg (Bryan Greenberg), a struggling artist fourteen years her junior. From the outset, their age difference is a huge concern for Rafi but when her therapist, Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep), discovers that Rafi is in fact dating her son, the whole issue of age is complicated even further, with often hilarious results.
Prime is a romantic comedy, but unusually, it’s a romantic comedy that explores a number of serious/realistic issues. The topics that it examines (age, religion, mothers) – and the way that director Ben Younger (Boiler Room) uses and investigates these – prevents Prime from simply being another instantly forgettable rom-com. It’s a comedy balanced out by serious drama.
The relationship between Rafi and David is never glamourised. We are presented with an honest and enjoyable representation of their love: Rafi wants a baby while Dave wants a Nintendo GameCube. It would be fascinating to hear how much of this story Ben Younger actually experienced before bringing it to the screen because he has written his characters superbly.
The moment that Dave’s mother realises that her son is dating/sleeping with Rafi has to be the high point in this film. Meryl Streep is stellar as the strict Jewish mother who insists that her son only marry a Jewish woman. As the intimate details of Rafi’s relationship come out during a session, Streep splutters, cries and chokes her way through one of the most entertaining scenes I’ve seen in a long time.
One Tree Hill’s Bryan Greenberg impressed me with the way he carries himself alongside two acting heavyweights like Streep and Thurman. Casting him, a relative unknown in the film world, as David brings with it an air of freshness that I don’t think would have been present if a more established film performer had been cast in his role.
Prime has great performances, a fantastic setup and certainly deserves to be seen. However, the film is not perfect; It is messy and drawn out at times – it could have been cut in areas – and I have to question the way the film ends. I won’t reveal that here, but Ben Younger’s choice to end the film when he does (later rather than sooner) is problematic.