Age of Consent

I was struck by a photo on Facebook the other day, a friend had shared a picture of Helen Mirren, who is now in her 60s posing naturally without make-up, and she’s gorgeous. That got me thinking back to Helen’s film debut age 24 in Age of Consent from 1969.

The film was the last directed by the great Michael Powell. Powell’s career was effectively over with the release of Peeping Tom three years earlier. He managed a couple more minor films after this, but this is the real last film of master.

Powell’s film is set in Australia, I think he was out there for the money and he’s somehow stumbled into this project with James Mason in the lead and a young stage actress from England making her film debut.

The story is about an aging painter who discovers a young muse on a desert island, and paints her, often naked as she learns about life.

Despite the title, this isn’t a salacious film. Although Mirren is often filmed without clothes on. The film is arty, stunningly photographed and has some amazing underwater photography. There’s not much in the way of story but Mirren is captivating, very beautiful and clearly a star in her first film.

It’s worth seeking out, not just for fans of Helen, but also to learn how a master director can use images to take a slight story and turn it into something much more…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour