“When we remind people of the idea of death, life seems more wonderful and precious to them,” says King, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri in Colombia. Always politically open, Thompson says that over time, she has become more willing to see things from the perspective of others. To find the meaning of life, since it will inevitably end one day, one might imagine the need to accomplish something great – a lasting contribution to the world. “With this turning point anniversary, I’ll think about what I really want to do next,” she says in an interview at her London office, where she just finished shooting last Christmas: a romantic comedy inspired by the George Michael song she wrote with performance artist Bryony Kimmings. Thompson spoke frankly about plunging into work to help her deal with depression in the 1990s, when she divorced Branagh, but said she hasn’t had any serious discussions about it lately. “We’ve realized that even good humor, playing with the dog, eating well with friends can make you feel that life makes sense,” she says. “You don’t need to hire a life coach or find the perfect book to help yourself,” King says. But social psychologist Laura King, PhD, found the opposite in her research: After the memory of death, people value life more and find it more meaningful. It’s hard to imagine Thompson’s peripatetic “just sit”. “Since Thompson became known in 1989 for her role as Princess Katharina von Valois with her husband Kenneth Branagh in Henry V., she has appeared almost every year in at least one major film, sometimes several. Thompson’s life has been “full of losses” lately, she says. But she is always more than willing to put values before careers: in late February, she published an urgent letter explaining why she abandoned the animated film Glück after producers hired a former Pixar manager accused of inappropriate behavior toward women. For young women like her daughter Gaia, now 18, and women her own age, Thompson has a message: “Call your powers,” she says. Spending time thinking about death, as Thompson plans to do in his 60s, may not seem very attractive. Thompson is also a writer: she wrote and acted in Nanny McPhee’s two films and won an Oscar for Writers for Sense and Sensitivity in 1995, in which she played Elinor Dashwood. For any reserved, enigmatic, emotional and brilliant character like Miss Kenton or Judge Fiona Maye in The Children Act 2017, there’s a crazy Sybill Trelawney, Harry Potter’s fortune teller and Azkaban’s prisoner, or a passionate and ardent Beatriz in Much Ado About Nothing.