Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon in Twilight

In the opening scenes of Twilight, 21-year-old Reese Witherspoon appears topless. It may seem gratuitous, but I like to think it’s really a subtle way of taunting the 72-year-old Paul Newman, a private investigator who confronts the nude Witherspoon with the aim of whisking her back to her parents. If Witherspoon’s nubile body is a reminder of Newman’s status as a geezer, what follows is an insult to his virility — the girl gets hold of his gun and shoots him in the thigh. And maybe she hits something more important than his thigh. For the rest of the movie, other characters eye him with sympathy. “We heard about what happened in Mexico,” he’s told when he asks why he’s being treated with kid gloves.

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