Why The Trailer for “No Hard Feelings” Is Continuing The Age Gap Conversation

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Jennifer Lawrence is about to make her return to comedy. No Hard Feelings is set to star Lawrence alongside Andrew Barth Feldman, Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti, Hasan Minhaj, and more. The film will follow Lawrence’s character dating Feldman’s character for pay during the summer before he starts college.

The trailer is full of hilariously absurd moments, but the age gap of the two main characters is leading some to question the plot line. With the ongoing discussion surrounding the ethics of age gaps in real life relationships in the entertainment industry, some feel that maybe the film’s stars age gap was a misstep that glorifies a power imbalance.

The trailer depicts Lawrence as a financially challenged woman looking for odd jobs to pay her rent, when suddenly the perfect opportunity falls into her lap–though not an easy one. Fans of Lawrence from her previous notable roles in Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger GamesAmerican Hustle and several other successful films were quick to express excitement at Lawrence’s return to comedy. Her roles over the past few years have been primarily in drama and science fiction films.

In December 2022, Lawrence made comments in a Variety “Actors on Actors” interview regarding the lack of serious roles available for female identifying actresses in Hollywood. She  mistakenly referred to herself as the first leading woman in an action film (referring to The Hunger Games). Some were surprised that Lawrence would accept a role like this in wake of her recent comments, especially given that it has the potential to strike a negative chord with audiences.

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The absurdity of parents being so desperate to hire someone to date their son was hilariously outlandish to some Twitter commenters, who also noted the realistic ads for the fictional son that the film’s PR team had placed on college campuses and on Billboards.

Despite a lot of positive buzz for the upcoming film, some question the age gap of the film’s main characters. While Lawrence and Feldman are 12 years apart in real life, the age gap of the characters could potentially be less. Until this element of the plot is clarified, people have questions.

The film is intended to offer a humorous and potentially satirical take on modern parenting and the dating pressures Gen Z and Gen Alpha face in an online world. The age gap might not be meant to be a significant part of the story being told, and some Twitter users urged people to not jump to conclusions about it just yet.

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Others pointed out that maybe if the gender identities of the characters were reversed, viewers would get a better understanding of the age gap. Age gaps involving younger women and older men have often been discussed more than age gaps involving younger men and older women, and some fear that the premise could turn problematic if not handled with care.

Amid the rising popularity of the 1990s and early 2000s rom-com, specifically among Gen Z and Gen Alpha due to the trend cycles of TikTok, some feel that the movie appears to clearly be playing into the tropes of this era. Despite the several timeless films to come from this time period, many look back and recognize the ethical issues that some could present. Notably, My Best Friend’s Wedding, which starred Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, and Cameron Diaz, features a similar age gap to this film, which has been criticized.

If viewers decide not to have hard feelings over it, No Hard Feelings comes to theaters on June 23.

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