Going Deeper: Five Characters Who Are Older Than They Appear Pt. 3

Hey folks, first up apologies to all those people who left great comments on the blog over the last week. My spam plugin got all screwed up and basically everyone got flagged as spam. I think that’s fixed now. Bummer because you guys had some great comments; so great, I thought I’d respond here so they don’t get lost.

Cindy recommended the Tin Drum: “Have you ever read The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass? It’s a classic in German literature about a boy with the mentality of an adult who decides never to grow up, I think around age three. Very bizarre and there are a few love affairs between the “boy” and older women that were really controversial.” Very interesting!

Marie also commented on the girl who played Esther in Orphan having to hit on the father and yeah, that’s a tough one. I *think* the movie handled it well, she never got wildly sexual or anything, but I’d have a hard time with my kid playing the role, too. I’d imagine they were on-set. All right, now on with the list. Here are the links if you’d like to read Part 1 and Part 2. To recap, here is the list so far:

5. Claudia from Interview with the Vampire

4. Eli from Let the Right One In

3. Esther from Orphan

2. Wolverine from the X-Men

Okay, time for #1, and I think it’s something of a curve ball because it doesn’t occur to most people who watch the movie – which, to me, makes it all the more devious. Cobb Mal

1. Cobb and Mal from Inception. What? I know, right. Didn’t even occur to me upon first viewing. For those who haven’t seen the movie, the central concept revolves around the ability to lucid dream and people who can enter other folks’ dreams to steal secrets. The main character, Cobb, has some sort of dark past revolving around dreams that is slowly revealed as the film goes on.

We learn that the deeper one goes into dreams – dreams within dreams within dreams – time becomes much slower and the world becomes more malleable (it also appears to be tied to the collective unconscious at that level). City  We also learn that Cobb and his wife Mal went into the dream world together, several layers deep, and spent an entire lifetime in a city of their own creation. It’s never quite clear how much time they spend down there, but it seemed to have been around 50 years, something like a week in our time. When they come out, they’re mentally between 70 and 80 while still appearing in their late 20s-mid 30s. The resulting mental disconnect drives Mal over the edge and into suicide.

Later in the film, when Saito enters that world, Cobb follows him and appears to hunt him for quite some time. Again, we don’t learn how long that takes, but by the time Cobb finds him Saito has aged another 20 to 30 years. Add that on and by the end of the film Cobb is somewhere around 110 years old (if indeed he is back in our world, which is highly debatable), despite looking like this:


One of my favorite little “fast facts” about what I think is a great film, though I know not everyone feels that way. I also chose it because time manipulation is about to become a very important element of the Among the Dead series. Age and identity is going to be a very malleable thing, which throws a kink into the idea of a “Chosen One” for all ages.

So there you have it, five to one. Any other suggestions for the list? I can talk about some of them next week, when I’ll be looking at Ancient Astronauts.

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  1. Hey, I haven’t seen Inception yet (I know, I know), but I plan to, so I had to skip over most of this post, but I thought the comment from Marie about Esther was interesting. I’ve wondered that about several children’s roles that I’ve seen. Right off the bat, The Omen comes to mind. I know there are others where children are asked to play questionable roles or use questionable language (at least for children). Another interesting one is American Horror Story. My younger brother has Down Syndrome, and I thought it was interesting to see the girl in that series with Down Syndrome. She is obviously old enough to make her own choices and such, but still, I thought it was interesting role.

    I’ll be sure to get back to this post when I’ve seen Inception 🙂


    • I really liked the actress in American Horror Story and found the character refreshing. They could have played it cheap or gone for sentimental but they ended up portraying her as essentially just another person. Her mother’s attitude was another matter, but given the character that made sense.

      Now go watch Inception!

  2. I still think you should mention the tranya guy from Star Trek (played by Clint Howard).http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090302050713/memoryalpha/en/images/a/a0/Balok.jpg

    • Good choice, but unfortunately I’m just not into Star trek enough to speak to it. I’m going to look him up, though.

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