The 40-year-old Version Analysis Essay

Richard Schertzer
2 min readJun 8, 2021
indiewire.com

In the new 2020 comedy The 40-year-old Version, the audience is introduced to Radha, a struggling playwright in New York trying to get her plays produced by a crooked and perverted Producer (Reed Birney).

Radha quickly becomes despondent at the thought of trying to sell out just so she can get her content produced. As a way to pay the rent, she works as a playwright teacher at a local high school, but has some serious issues with some of the residing students.

Radha’s character arc is best exemplified through her work, but not her work as a playwright. It’s better understood through her work as an aspiring rapper. While stumbling a few times to get where she wanted to be, she opened herself up to new ideas and life experiences.

Radha’s character bio hearkens back to that of Spike Lee and Woody Allen movies from the 1970s and 80s. A down and out-on-her-luck character is struggling to make it big in the prospective industry, but they feel that they cannot get away from the aggravating underdog syndrome that plagues them like a cloud over their heads.

That all changes when they have an epiphany that they are destined for something more and something greater. Many of these character biographies often feel overused and possibly stilted, as they are rife with cliche after cliche and it can sometimes bore the audience member after listening to the backstory.

The 40-Year-Old Version is able to slightly transcend that stigma and that incessant character recapitulation. It may not offer much in the sense of story as it is a been-there-done-that type of feel but it does ground the audience in the struggles of a playwright. This will certainly inspire others.

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Richard Schertzer

Richard is a Howard University grad student and is working as a content writer and filmmaker with the dream to make films in Hollywood.