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My Meryl Streep problem
By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
A funny thing happened whenever I set out to see Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady.” I'd invite one of my moviegoing pals to join me and then find myself later that evening at “Shame,” “My Week With Marilyn” or the glorious “Pina.”
The reviews for “The Iron Lady” weren't all that glowing, but Streep came in for her usual chorus of hosannas. For some reason, this wasn't proving to be much of a lure. Even after the Oscar nominations came out, with two-time winner Streep making history with her 17th nomination, “The Iron Lady” was still a no-go with them.
Surely this was an aversion to Margaret Thatcher, I thought. But after I investigated their reluctance a bit further, I discovered that several of my well-read, culturally engaged, Pinot Noir-sipping friends are not just indifferent to Streep's greatness — they're actually put off by it. This was shocking news, and they were rightly ashamed to confess it, whispering their secret as though disclosing some white-collar crime they had gotten away with years ago.
Should a drama critic be associating with such a crowd? I could feel what I assumed to be my gorge rising. But after reflecting on Streep's recent spate of box-office hits — “The Devil Wears Prada,” “ Mamma Mia!” and “Julie & Julia” — I had to admit that, much as I may have been amused by her outsize portrayals in these films, I found them either too cartoonish or superficial (in that trading on personality way) to leave a lasting impression.
Yes, I guess I need to come clean: I too have a Streep problem.
Lately, it seems as if her acting comes in two varieties: artful drag burlesques (the Anna Wintourish tyrant Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” the cluck-clucking Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” and the holy terror nun in “ Doubt”) and relaxed diva charm-fests (aging hippie Donna of “Mamma Mia!” and the spurned Santa Barbara divorcée rediscovering romance in “It's Complicated”). And in both these modes the overriding effect is one of elaborate imposture. She's either impersonating a character quite unlike herself (ah, Streep the magician!) or one who bears a teasing resemblance to her starry middle-aged persona (oh, that lovable grande dame!).
Sadly, it seems that even the greatest actors have difficulty not falling into the self-parodying trap memorably summed up by Stephen Sondheim in “I'm Still Here”: “First you're another / sloe-eyed vamp / Then someone's mother / then you're camp.”
Her performances are always marvels of technical virtuosity, and her mimicry can indeed be dazzling. One senses her own delight in capturing the likeness of another. Perhaps this is why as she has gotten older she has tended to favor comic masks over tragic ones. But then comedy, which allows her to build a role through selected exaggeration, plays better to her strengths. She can zero in on a defining vocal or physical mannerism and thus flex her muscles as a talking mime.
Dramatic characterizations, on the other hand, tend to become lifeless when overly conceptualized. The psychology, if it is to resonate with our own, needs to be embodied rather than anatomized. Of course there's still interpretive emphasis, but an actor's choices should create a coherent inner life. This isn't Streep's strong suit. Drama critic Gordon Rogoff once referred to her as “that scholar of emotions, burrowing in the archives for card-indexed feeling.” Yet the issue isn't really one of authenticity. Streep can be piercing in grief, as her searing Oscar-winning performance in “Sophie's Choice” attests. But her characterizations are so well calculated that they call attention to their own artistry. The dancer is always distinguishable from the dance.
It may be hard to recall, now that Streep has become our thespian in chief, that her acting hasn't always been universally acclaimed. One famous detractor, New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, found Streep's studied perfection bloodless. “[A]fter I've seen her in a movie,” Kael observed in her “Sophie's Choice” review, “I can'
- “[A]fter I've seen her in a movie,” Kael observed in her “Sophie's Choice” review, “I can't visualize her from the neck down.”
By the time “Out of Africa” came around, Kael had had enough of the foreign accents. But her biggest gripe with Streep in this sweeping epic — and the cornerstone of her critique of Streep's acting — is that “her character doesn't deepen” or “come to mean more to us.”
Streep told the Guardian in 2008 how she felt about this rejection: “I'm incapable of not thinking about what Pauline wrote. And you know what I think? That Pauline was a poor Jewish girl who was at Berkeley with all these rich Pasadena WASPs with long blond hair, and the heartlessness of them got her.”
Streep's cool, self-protective analysis — wrongheaded, in Kael biographer Brian Kellow's view — is somehow telling. It reveals emotion yet deflects it fairly quickly with provocative speculation. It's the same cerebral pattern of her performances, which have a striking way of depicting pain without risking much personal exposure.
Not that this has held her back in the least. At 62, her star has never been higher, which is quite a testament to her gifts when you consider the paucity of meaty roles for middle-aged actresses. And she has generously attempted to use her box-office clout to advocate for a renaissance in moviemaking thinking, championing the work of her peers, young and old, and lightly pressing movie studios to recognize that grown-ups buy movie tickets too and that women in particular have been underserved by them.
Since playing fashion industry despot Miranda Priestly and proving that she can hang with the big boys in the $100-million-and-over club, Streep has taken great pleasure in portraying characters whom men can identify with. Her latest addition to this gallery of female firebrands is perhaps the fieriest of all. Her depiction of the unvacillating Thatcher, Britain's conservative former prime minister, has been heralded on both sides of the pond. (She won for lead actress at the BAFTA Film Awards this month in London and has a shot at the Oscar, though Viola Davis, star of “The Help,” is widely considered the front-runner.)
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (“Mamma Mia!”) and written by Abi Morgan, “The Iron Lady” isn't just built around Streep's uncanny impersonation but panders to it. The film is a montage of photo ops strung together with Wikipedia factoids. Jumping back and forth in time, it contrasts the widowed Thatcher wandering at home in a haunted senility with the ambitious young politician who put her career before her family and became the formidable historical personage with the steely nickname.
All that's missing is a driving dramatic perspective. Worried about taking political sides, the movie pussyfoots around Thatcher's divisive policies and tries to cover up the interpretive black hole at its center by throwing out thematic parallels to “King Lear,” which are irrelevant because Shakespeare's tragedy is fundamentally about self-knowledge and Thatcher's dementia makes this leap in consciousness all but impossible.
Streep's simulation of agedness, aided by prosthetics and hair and makeup wizardry, is undeniably astonishing. The tottering carriage she adopts as she shuffles from room to room or rinses out a teacup with arthritic deliberateness sets a new standard for realism.
- Less impressive is her portrayal of Thatcher's rise from political nobody to royal battleship. She leans too heavily on Thatcher's fancifully monarchical speech pattern and helmet hairdo. Morgan's screenplay doesn't give Streep much to work with, but the performance is almost purely presentational. Thatcher's bearing and unswerving determination may have isolated her, but the other characters come off as ciphers. All Streep has to do is masquerade as an eccentrically styled figurehead.
Such a star turn may earn her more bric-a-brac, but it certainly won't enrich her talent. There's no denying her authority, yet even legends need to return to interpersonal basics. Perhaps by the time Streep no longer has to cake on the makeup to play a senior, she'll be given a role that will allow her to intimately inhabit the private human drama she has long been second to none at illustrating.
- McNulty sounds like a pompous windbag and McNuts.
- Cliff notes version: familiarity breeds contempt.
Has any living actress, ever, consistently achieved what McNulty here is asking of Streep? I'd like a name.
- R3 is right. The guy just wants attention.
- Never heard of him and he'll soon be out of a job and start calling himself a blogger.
Meryl, of course, is one for the ages.
- You can watch an old Bette Davis movie like "Now Voyager" or a creaking bit of fluff like Stanwyck in "All I Desire" and understand immediately what Streep can't do.
- [quote]But her biggest gripe with Streep in this sweeping epic — and the cornerstone of her critique of Streep's acting — is that “her character doesn't deepen” or “come to mean more to us.”
Maybe that's because it was a boring-ass screenplay?
- OP, the author of this article and r7 are little contrarians self-combusting because Meryl won.
Streep was all kinds of great in Devil Wears Prada, she evenly split the critics with Doubt (garnering several critics' awards), and she richly deserved her win for The Iron Lady.
It's not her fault she's a supremely gifted actress.
- I agree with him.
- I agree with him too, and also with R7.
- [quote]OP, the author of this article and [R7] are little contrarians self-combusting because Meryl won.
You think that Meryl is better than Bette Davis in her Warner Bros. glory days? Really?
- This nailed her better than any commentary
- No, r12. I think they're about even.
Both had great range, something Katharine Hepburn had not.
Streep and Davis are equals.
- The article is as worthless as The Streep Troll (tm) @ R9.
- [quote]Both had great range, something Katharine Hepburn had not.
Davis didn't have much range, actually. She's flat in comedy. (Hepburn, of course, was a brilliant in comedy and drama.) But she had great emotional depth at her height, and is always--to borrow from Pauline Kael--vividly THERE.
- He should get over himself.
She's an accomplished actress and a very good one. Why does success on a great scale have to meet with such silliness?
One doesn't have to join a chorus of Meryl idolatry, of course. But why bash her work out of some kind of reactionary posturing? It happened during the 80s when she was hailed as the great new film star, and it seems as if it will happen again now.
It's a fucking bore.
I'm sick of this particular kind of kneejerk American idiocy that feels as if it has to tear apart someone who is lionized, or lionize someone who has been shortchanged. You can see it coming a mile away before it happens and it has no credibility whatsoever. It's just what people do whether they believe what they are saying or not.
When pressed, the reasons they give to back up their conclusions are always imbecilic.
- I just have to ask, does the amount of roles Meryl has had the opportunity to play factor into her being dubbed the greatest? Because there are actresses that have given performances superior to Meryl's who then could be considered at least equally as talented if not more so than Meryl.
But no one can touch her as far as number of roles portrayed.
- If that bitch and I are equals why didn't we share that fucking Oscar
- [quote]She's an accomplished actress and a very good one. Why does success on a great scale have to meet with such silliness?
I'd guess it's because of the puffery. If we're told over and over again that someone is the best thing since oxygen, then it's likely that someone else is going to be moved take a few potshots.
I like Streep just fine. I think the press agentry that accompanies each performance she gives is irritating beyound compare.
- Agreed, r17.
Funny, when Jack Nicholson got his third Oscar, there was none of this talk. And he is as one-note as Meryl is multi-dimensional.
Yes, there is a lot of sexism at play here. OP/the author of the article are exhibit A for this.
You can moan all you want, but it's the truth.
- Hepburn was always playing the grande dame in every role she ever played except ALICE ADAMS (her only truly great performance).
Davis was a great actor in the 30s and early 40s; then after she left Warner's she basically was parodying herself for the rest of her career. But she got one great self-parodying role in Margo Channing.
The best of the Golden Age of Hollywood actresses to my mind were Barbara Stanwyck and margaret Sullavan. Stanwyck also got self-parodying after a certain point, but she lasted a really good while (until the mid 50s or so).
- Oh, shove it r20.
Streep is an exceptional talent, and should NOT be swept under the rug so that more attention can be lavished upon JLo or whoever else is your favorite actress.
There isn't even that much 'press agentry' accompanying each of her performances. Prada and Mamma Mia were blockbusters, but otherwise she and her films are pretty low-key.
- r16, Davis was great in All About Eve and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, both of which are comedic. Yes, the latter is a horror film, but in the Grand Guignole style, which is humorous/macabre by its nature.
In other words, she did have great range.
Where Streep bests Davis (and certainly Hepburn and Stanwyck) is in the accent and mimicry department.
So, I suppose she and Davis aren't equals. Streep can do everything they could, but she has more arrows in her quiver.
- Streep Troll, you're pretty fucking obnoxious. I was GLAD to see you proven wrong last night about Max von Sydow, after your obnoxious constant pronouncements that he was going to win on the Christopher Plummer thread.
- The Streep Troll has been shitting all over this board today. Jesus, give it a rest and go outside.
- I wouldn't be quick to criticize her performance in Out of Africa.
She did, after all, have to act with Robert Redford, who is a wooden actor and was wildly miscast.
- I'm amazed the Streep Troll is posting at all today. I thought they'd still be too busy masturbating to Meryl's acceptance speech on a running loop.
- This reminds me of the backlash against her that happened earlier in her career, about the time the "Magic Meryl" Newsweek cover article came out.
Sexism is part of it, but I also think there's this attitude in America that our actors shouldn't be too talented in order to seem more accessible and avoid any kind of elitist air. If Streep were a British or European actress, she wouldn't be hearing a lot of this crap about accents, etc.
If you notice, most of the celebrated American film actors like Pacino and DeNiro tend to lean toward the same type of roles, and become increasingly identified with such parts. That results in a kind of familiarity that I guess audiences find more comforting vs. a virtuoso chameleon.
And let's face it - even DeNiro has become more popular now that he's parodied himself in the Focker movies and the like.
- r25: one can't be right about everything, can one? The Streep victory is all I needed.
r26: kiss and a hug from me.
Mwah to you both!
- You're absolutely right, r29.
- Meryl Streep is an old friend of George W. Bush. Has she disowned him? I don't think we should be cheering her if she has not.
- [quote]My Meryl Streep problem
No one gives a fuck about your 'problem'. Tell it to a shrink, freak!
- The problem is that someone on another thread made the mistake of telling "The Streep troll (tm)" he was funny.
That is like a prolonged injection of meth to such people.
After scores of tedious posts, this person doesn't realize how easy it is to wear out a welcome, especially one so recklessly given . . .
- Cute, r32.
- I'm a pedophile!
- oh, and you're cute too, r34.
It's a lovely day today, and I'm happy sharing it with you loony Streep-haters!
- Oh and I'm a pedophile!
- Critics - their opinion is worth the same as mine and if I like it that is all that matters to me. I have never seen Streep give a bad performance and yes, she can at times be very mannered but so what? As another poster says, who, male or female, is great in every single film they make. At the age of 62, she is still working in a variety of roles in an industry that shuts older actresses out or relagates them to the understanding grandma role.
- bitchy queen.
- Agreed about jack nicholson. Never heard this kind of debate in 1998 when he won his third oscar over favorite peter fonda. Sexism is at play here too. Meryl has her detractors. But no actress working today has the range she does. I have to admit her third win was in part due to her respect in the industry and her track record of nominations. She will never be liked by everyone. I thought iron lady could have better script and pacing wise but she was brilliant in it. When she lost to sandra bullock 2 years ago it was embarassing. It was time for her third and she was more than overdue. Meryl always challenges herself as an actress. This is what an actor should do.
- I love the streep troll. I love Meryl. Nuff said!
- This McNulty dude doesn't know shit about acting, and he clearly doesn't like hugely successful women.
Streep is a wonderful actor, one of the best, and despite a handful of bad performances - she was all wrong for DOUBT, for instance - she is consistently excellent, and will continue to be so. It's true that her Maggie-in-her-prime-as-Prime-Minister moments weren't as effective as her Old Maggie stuff. But as Old Doddery Maggie, she was a-ma-zing. Amazing. There isn't an actor out there who could've done better, and hardly any who could have done even as well. Maybe Dustin Hoffman! Once upon a time.
That said, I wish you'd click on the below video and let it play through to the end, just as a favor to a desperately needy man; and then "like" it, what the hell:
- Reaction to Meryl Winnin!
- Thanks, r41 and r42.
Isn't it a wonderful day today?
We've waited 29 years for this!!!
- R44: That video is so fake.
- r46 so is that fake handbag you are sportin!
- She does much more than mimic. Julia Child'' ebullience and happy huge heart, the sister's empty heart with a glimmer. She goes way beyond the accent and tics. So did Philip SH as Capote- aside from his mesmerizing impersonation, he totally captured the emptiness in Capote being soaked up by alcohol aside an incredible drive and courage to seek the truth of those murders. Daniel Day Lewis is the only peer of these two in my opinion.
- Honey it's not just your Meryl Streep problem, it's EVERYBODY'S Meryl Streep problem.
- the problem is that everyone has seen so much footage of Margaret Thatcher that it is clear the movie (and Meryl) missed very important negative sides to her character.
So this was the one movie that should not have been rewarded.
- [quote]Streep is a wonderful actor, one of the best, and despite a handful of bad performances - she was all wrong for DOUBT, for instance...
Why she she was all wrong for DOUBT.
Why yes she was.
- On the other hand, she should have won for Postcards from the Edge
- I'm a pedophile!
- Hi, Michelle Williams troll at r53!
- That McNulty piece is really well-written and well thought out. Move past the hype machine and it's obvious Streep, though genuinely talented, is overrated.
He's right when he says she's better at comedy than drama. She's one of our finest comedic talents, but her dramatic performances are always slightly forced and it almost always LOOKS like she's acting, with a visible technique. She never makes the action look like it's genuinely happening, it never looks entirely unforced and spontaneous.
With comedy, it's different. With comedy she's often completely natural and makes it look effortless.
It's time people admitted that lots of people find Streep's acting style artificial. And it's not because we're too stupid to get it, or because we're sexist and expect actresses not to have that much range (BTW, I've read plenty of comments bemoaning Nicholson's undeserved third Oscar, so stop trying to make this about sexism: it's not). I never get lost in her serious, prestigious performances or enjoy them as much as her comedy ones. I reject the claim that she has a wider range than anyone else. I think that's a myth. Her range isn't actually any wider than Bette Davis' except in superficial ways: the only difference is she draws a lot of undeserved acclaim for performances that are feats of mimicry and imitation, not psychological depth. Her genius for mimicry and accents camouflages her limitations and leads critics to declare performances brilliant that are actually just decent.
The test of an actor is not a gift for mimicry. We don't give Oscars to Frank Caliendo. Mimicry is a good tool to have, and it helps her play real-life celebs like Thatcher and Julia Child (and actresses without any skill with mimicry couldn't and shouldn't be cast in those types of parts), but it's not the only important skill or even the most important skill for an actor to have.
McNulty is also right about why she's so much better at comedy than drama. Don't come back to me with Sophie's Choice: none of these movies have become true classics, so it's irrelevant how much acclaim she drew at the time. She hasn't made her mark in any true masterpieces, so it's fair to question whether her own limitations as an actress have something to do with that. Unlike Davis and Hepburn, she's never starred in a masterpiece. That tells me that there's legit reasons to believe Davis and Hepburn were better actresses overall than Streep.
I hope more pieces like this get written. I don't think Meryl is the greatest ever, or even the greatest of her generation, and it's a good thing that some critics at least are willing to express their reservations about her inflated reputation.
Thanks for 'sharing', r55.
Another hater who is self-combusting today.
- I hate this sort of reverse-snobbery. "Everyone thinks she's great, so she mustn't be." This is what passes for analysis in 2012 America. "I hate what everyone loves, therefore I am greater than all the rest". Bullshit.
She's a great actress. She embodies her characters in a way that few other actors do today. It just became cool and the 'in' thing to hate her wigs and accents, and to say that she wasn't really the great actress she'd been made out to be. And this numb nuts is trying to revive that.
The Thatcher movie is not very good, but she's great. And frankly, given the poor direction, it showcases what a truly splendid and talented actress she is that she was able to rise above it.
She plays strong women because she's a feminist. Which is partly why I think sad, superficial know-nothings like this writer hate her. She's not doing 'drag', and if this loser can't distinguish between what she does onscreen and drag, then he's fairly pathetic.
This is just an attack on a strong woman playing strong women. I'm sure he LOVES the Marilyns, because imbeciles like this prefer their women weak, vulnerable, and suicidal. Not that Williams wasn't good; she was. But Streep deserved that Oscar. To take a person like Thatcher and make her even remotely human...that's quite an accomplishment.
- So true, r57.
- [quote]Another hater who is self-combusting today.
A well written contrarian opinion is now labeled a "hater?" Who talks like that, other 14 year old girls at ONTD. Get real. Your shit got old 100 posts ago.
I've never seen such a childish, idiotic mind who can't handle people holding a different view point than their own. And why a person would care so much. It's utterly bizarre
FF this cunt.
- Streep Troll(s), since you, unlike McNulty, have no argument to make, you resort to ad hominems, like we're just trying to be contrarian to get attention. Like posting on an anonymous messageboard is the best way to draw attention to ourselves.
It's not contrarian to think Streep is overrated, since she (like every actor) has had vocal detractors from the very beginning of her career. Were they just being contrarians too? It's not like the charge of mannerism and lack of spontaneity is a new one. It's been levelled at Streep, with good reason, from Day One. Her chorus of admirers in the media is just used to drowning out everyone who thinks differently (not suprising considering most journalists and critics are not spontaneous or instinctive themselves that they would put on a pedestal one of the least instinctive, most calculated and cerebral movie stars of our time). Left-brain
You may not admit it, but McNulty's piece actually thinks about what kind of performer Streep is, what makes her different from someone like Greta Garbo, say, or Barbara Stanwyck or Helen Mirren. She's *A* major talent, not *THE* major talent in movies.
- r59. Elder alert Elder alert!!! hater, hater, hater!
Deal with it gramps...
- Interesting to note that Meryl Streep received the first Bette Davis Award and that Davis wrote to her to say that she reminded her of herself when she was younger.
At her best, Davis had no equal for emotional expressiveness and intellectual insight--especially given the studio system and the conventions of screen acting. Unfortunately, she was saddled with a lot of crappy scripts, particularly once she got over forty ("All About Eve" is one of the last great ones, though I have a particular weakness for her Aggie Hurley in "The Catered Affair," and her Baby Jane Hudson is a wonderful blend of operative camp and genuine I-can't-believe-I'm-actually-moved-by-this melodrama/tragedy).
Stanwyck was an acquired taste for me--always smart on screen, only occasionally emotionally gripping for me (though the final scene of "Stella Dallas," aired this morning on TCM, always reduces me to a puddle), but THERE in that way Kael talks about.
I loved Katherine Hepburn when I was younger--now I find watching her a fairly monotonous experience, except for a handful of astonishing performances, such as her own Jane Hudson in "Summertime" and her Mary Tyrone. Funny, her famous "click click click" line about Streep--I often feel that way about Hepburn, who seems never to have tried to lose her persona in a role, but demanded that the role and the audience come to where she always was, with her Bryn Mawr vowels.
- Uh, I'm 30 years old, R61.
But keep going with the elder shit. Laughable.
- I'm a pedophile!
- Give me Vanessa Redgrave over Streep any day
- I like Meryl. A lot.
I also don't terrifically disagree with many of this critic's contentions. The best and deepest of her recent performances, to be honest, was Miranda Priestly.
What I will say is this: Jack Nicholson gets to do the same - lean into camp or his own persona, be comic - and he's lauded for it and few people question him. I think it's interesting Meryl comes under the microscope in a way that no critic would think to do to someone like Nicholson. I don't see Pacino, who hasn't made a good movie since Clinton's first term, under that sort of critical fire.
Just a thought.
- I'm curious to know, after reading r62 post - as I have read the Keira Knightly concerning her Frued movie I believe, and her awful acting in it, emotionless, etc etc. Can you please explain what you mean, or specific scenes from any Bette Davis movies of Meryl etc where they are expressing emotion, without yelling or screaming, crying? I would love to see what you are talking about from the great's of times past and present. What really makes a good actress great? scenes, clips. Please... thanks.
- My main problem with Meryl Streep is that I can see all the acting choices that she is making. It's so apparent as to be distracting.
- r63, I'm 18, you an elder gay 2 me! Elder Nelder Delder! Need a cain?
- [quote]Dramatic characterizations, on the other hand, tend to become lifeless when overly conceptualized.
That is exactly my problem with Streep playing Thatcher. She looked and talked like an old person, but there was no person. Streep does nothing in the first 15, 20 minutes of the film that gives you a sense of who this character is; the shades of a person are completely absent.
It is good to see some backlash coming her way. I can imagine that a lot of actresses of her generations are not too impressed by her, either.
- R69 Is English your second language, or are you just a complete fucking idiot?
Also, Streep plays it really safe. She never opens up on the big screen, tries to take risks. I guess she'd rather be repetitive than try something new and, possibly, fail.
- R70, perhaps, the problem is that you don't see women, particularly old women, as people. I found myself very surprised to be empathizing with a woman whose politics I abhor and my reaction certainly wasn't a result of the director's efforts.
And I really have never understood the Stanwyck love; she was always completely dead behind the eyes and ten steps emotionally removed. And then there's the always phoney voice...
And, r67, Knightly's performance, on its own, wasn't bad in that Freud abortion; the problem was that the script was so bloody dull and the other actors all seemed to be in the throes of catatonia so her outbursts, the only lively moments in the film, appeared to have been intercut from an entirely different production.
- [quote]And, [R67], Knightly's performance, on its own, wasn't bad in that Freud abortion; the problem was that the script was so bloody dull and the other actors all seemed to be in the throes of catatonia so her outbursts, the only lively moments in the film, appeared to have been intercut from an entirely different production.
Mortensen and Fassbender worked with the same scrip and the same director, and yet, they give solid performances. In fact, Mortensen is quite good. The film is dull, I agree, but KK's acting is all on the outside; completely physical, and not in a good way.
[quote][R70], perhaps, the problem is that you don't see women, particularly old women, as people.
I love it how you immediately suggested that I must have a personal problem, because my experience of Streep's performance differs from yours. The stupidity and arrogance of some of you is simply amazing.
- R60...but she's not "over-rated" at all. In fact, there was a backlash against Streep for a while. When "A Cry in the Dark" came out, it became fashionable to bash her.
I think she elicits negativity from those who think that playing strong women is somehow 'one note'...as if all these women were the same. The irony is that male actors show far less range and yet get accolades all the time.
Part of this is an antipathy against strong women. People like this writer prefer their female characters vulnerable, helpless, or suicidal. At the very least, they want them oppressed in some fashion. Streep takes on characters who refuse to be oppressed, and that pisses some people off. It's sexism, basically.
- R74 they were both absolutely lifeless and gave the worst performances of their careers in this.
And, yeah, you do have a personal problem if you can't empathize with a woman who has lost everything of value to her.
- 66 no one is calling Jack Nicholson the best American actor above all others. That is why Meryl gets the heat and he doesn't. Jack is one of the many great male actors America has. He does his schtick and people who love that, love him.
If you are going to declare someone the supreme best above all others, they better be able to hold up to scrutiny.
I would argue that Rooney Mara is a better actress than Meryl. Show me any time that Meryl has played a character so far from herself and actually become that character completely. You look at Mara and you don't see Lisbeth Salander. But you watch that movie and she gives a beautifully textured performance. You can see her inner life, you can feel it. Amazing transformation.
Streep cannot do that. Steep is a good actress that has picked good material for her skill set. As someone up thread mentioned there is not one film that Streep has been in that is a classic or that people talk about. They talk about her but not so much the films themselves.
- R77...you're just completely wrong. Totally wrong. She's consistently given amazing performances. She has, absolutely, given textured performances in which you can see the character's "inner life." If you can't see that Streep is at least as good a performer as Nicholson, then your opinion is completely without merit.
- Compare Streep to her contemporary, Sigourney Weaver. Weaver is capable of great emotional transformation without accents, costumes, or make up (e.g., Alien, Gorillas in the Mist, Death and the Maiden). Streep needs the aesthetic props and physical mimicry to make her performances work. Meryl is a good actress, but certainly not the best of her generation.
- LOVE Meryl.
And I finally got around to watching Death Becomes Her the other night. Campy fun.
- R79, Sigourney Weaver could not have done "Sophie's Choice." You have to admit there is no actress today who could have done it justice as Streep did.
- If I may point out a generality here, it seems to me, the complaint is always focused on the actor. Never do we here an in depth analysis of inferior directing, or editing, or a really bad script.
Nowhere are there analyses of preposturous, improbable situations or plot lines, etc. that destroy a film. The actor carries the burden of the success or failure of a project. Even tho critics glibly acknowledge that the Director is in charge and it is his vision that is being depicted.
If a film loses tens of millions at the box office was it poorly executed? Poorly marketed? No it was the actor. Talk about superficial.
I think Weaver would have made the role work in her own way. You don't need to do a stellar German accent to get to the emotional core of Sophie's Choice. Don't tell Meryl, though.
- Particularly since the character was Polish
- R83...wow. You could just not possibly be more wrong.
- Sigourney Weaver invented the cat.
- The one thing that's clear from reading through this thread? People who think Streep isn't a great actor have absolutely no perspective about what constitutes great acting. Clearly.
- Pray, do tell R85. Weaver speaks German fluently, so she could've one-upped Meryl in the accent game without even trying.
- I'm getting a real kick and huge laughs reading the posts of people trying oh-so-hard to criticize Meryl Streep.
I mean, really. You're embarrassing yourselves. Badly.
- R88...are you mentally impaired? Sophie was POLISH not GERMAN.
I can see how you're qualified to comment on this!
- [quote]People who think Streep isn't a great actor have absolutely no perspective about what constitutes great acting. Clearly.
Oh, please. There may be a few actors and directors posting here, who may or may not know a thing or two about acting, but for the rest of us... we're just shooting shit. Lighten up.
- Same could be said for you r87.
Of course Sigourney could have done Sophie's Choice. There are many actors that could have done it. It would have been different from Meryl's that is all. And if you only like Meryl then you couldn't have appreciated their performances.
No part belongs to one person only. That's why they eventually could do another Gypsy or Hello Dolly or Street Car. . .
- Well, when the opera version of "Sophie's Choice" finally is produced (it has been written I believe), we can all see. My choice for the role of Sophie wold be Lola Heatherton in her long-awaited comeback.
- Nobody acting in US films at that point in movie history could have done SOPHIE'S CHOICE as beautifully as Streep. Sigourney Weaver? Are you bonkers? Jessica Lange? She's all instinct - she has no technique. She'd've been an exhausting Sophie, you'd've wanted to drown yourself in the Hudson after you saw it, or at least sleep for three days. No one would be safe from her aggressive emotionality.
Streep - like Jack Nicholson, I might add - leaves a small space between herself and the part she's playing. Just the smallest space. It's not "click click click." (And by the way, who's clickier than Katharine Hepburn?) It's the space in which we are allowed to take pleasure in a great artist doing her work.
Watch a gorgeous movie like Jean Renoir's RULES OF THE GAME, and you will have a sense of wonder at the director's choices - at his brilliant way of keeping the story or stories airborne, and his ingenious casting, at the role he himself chooses to fill, at the way he fills it, at his awareness of the symbolic import of himself as both director and disappointed romantic character in the movie he's directing. . .
It's a beautiful film, all the moreso because you see the director's great humanity and craft at work.
I never understand when people complain that they're "aware" of an artist's work.
Of course you're aware. You're watching an artist do something amazing!
Isn't that the greatest pleasure of all?
Streep's monologue in SOPHIE'S CHOICE where she first tells Stingo she went to Auschwitz is emotionally rich, completely connected, spontaneous, apparently entirely unrehearsed but at the same time exact, revealing, funny, sad, devastating, and true.
Just the way she says, "Ja, safe."
Is fucking amazing.
And isn't the pleasure precisely in knowing Streep is not Polish? I mean, if we thought she were Polish, if we thought, "That's just a Polish actress reading lines in English," well, what would be the point? Where would be the pleasure?
We're dazzled by Streep's ability to have a Polish accent AND be emotionally real from scene to scene AND convince us that she has given away one child to save another AND act convincingly with the egregiously over-acting Kevin Kline, a selfish actor and scene hogger who, at the time, had clearly not stopped doing his schtick from PIRATES OF PENZANCE.
People who say "I'm too aware of her technique" don't understand how art works.
Go and watch a bunch of motherfucking Sandra Bullock movies if art intimidates you so much.
- R94= EXACTLY right. Thank you!
- I ate Meryl's used maxi pads and I tell you they made Sissy's pizza breads from the "Jill learns about periods" videos look like a light spotting!
- r96 is not ME, r94, even though he/she calls himself/herself/itself "Not the Streep troll."
I'm not 9.
I'm r96, and I endorse this message.
- When I say I'm not 9, I mean I'm not a 9-year-old, by the way, not that I'm not the number nine. Just to clear that up.
I'm r94, and I don't hate successful women, and I'm not an angry 9-year-old who should not be allowed to play with adult toys.
- McNulty pretty much nails it. I would disagree with him, though, on Prada - that was one movie where Meryl's "all external, nothing internal" style perfectly suited the character. If Helen Mirren in "The Queen" hadn't also come out that year, Streep would have been my choice for the Oscar win.
He only hints at it, but she's gotten too precious. She pretends she's not taking any of this "best actress of all time" stuff seriously, but you know she does. And really - put her up against the best of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave - she can't hold a candle. She simply can't.
- [quote] No part belongs to one person only. That's why they eventually could do another Gypsy or Hello Dolly or Street Car. . .
I'm imagining Sophie played by a drag queen....
- [quote]Sophie was POLISH not GERMAN.
Yes, but Sophie's value to the Germans is that she speaks German fluently with a German accent - Streep speaks Polish in the movie, but most of her non-English work is in German.
- "take Mamie"
Sophie 2012:the sequel
- Streep is always Streep...and that's the problem.
I've never once seen her disappear into a role. She was a little better at it when she started but once she became STREEP, that's all should could ever be again.
I'm not a big fan of Pitt but, while watching Moneyball, I wasn't constantly saying to myself, 'Ooh, look, it's Brad Pitt playing a role!'.
From Sophie's Choice to Silkwood to Devil Wears Prada and The Hours, all I ever see onscreen is Meryl Streep, never once do I just see her character.
- You simpletons can't divorce her fame from her acting. It's not that she can't disappear into a role. It's that you can't let her. Morons.
- R104, you forgot to sign your post, Streep Troll.
I know a lot more about Brad Pitt's "celebrity" and "fame", but I don't have the same problem with him.
Meryl Streep won for being Meryl Streep dressed up as Margaret Thatcher.
- R104 is right - come on, everyone, we MUST let Meryl disappear into her roles! All of you who have not been letting her disappear into her roles, call her right up and let her know you won't stop her anymore - that from now on she'll be free to disappear into her roles unimpeded.
- First, since this is a war and one must take side – I'm a Meryl Streep fan.
1. Meryl Streep is a superstar. I'm using this word not because I'm a fan but as a technical term. A superstar is a successful actor who becomes a cultural fixture with the public beyond the effect of particular performances and more importantly, is conceived as such "forever", without having what might be called an expiration date. Katharine Hepburn was never, at any given moment, a popular star the way Janet Gaynor was in the early '30s, or Betty Grable was in the '40s, or Doris Day was in the '50s and '60s. Van Johnson was a huge star in the war and the following years, yet it's Humphrey Bogart we still cherish as a representation of that era. Hepburn, Bogart, Grant, Davis, Cagney, Crawford or Wayne remained an imprinted present in the collective conscious beyond the memory of the actual films they were in or the acting talent they had. So did Brando, Newman, Taylor and later Nicholson, Redford, Fonda or Hoffman. Streep is there with them and in a way she's the last bona fide one. Arguments can be made, I guess, for Hanks, Foster, Cruse or even Roberts, but I think they haven't stood the test of time yet. And superstars tend to keep working and get offers other actors don't. Being the only current female superstar of her generation does mean she's active in a way other, very talented actresses who should have, don't.
2. The public has distinctive, accumulated, perceptions regarding superstars. It's often referred to as their persona, or mannerisms or trademarks. It's not necessarily about "always playing oneself", but about having a recognizable human traits which the spectator carry from one film to another and from being aware of off screen information too. The obvious variation Streep demonstrates seems to suggest she doesn't have such accumulated baggage, but off course this is wrong. Her detractors like to point out some distinctive mannerism she does tend to rely on – her intensive use of her hands was much ridicule early on, not to mention the accents. But I'd like to suggest a different, content oriented, "trademark". Streep was called here a feminist, and she definitely is, I'm sure. But interestingly, though she became a star after the wake of the feminist movement, all of the parts she played, certainly during the first two decades of her career, were of woman in traditional roles, hardly any full blown career woman, mostly wives and mothers. She started with playing a woman with some incestuous background in Julia, then a woman who gets involved with her boyfriend's best friend, a threat to Allen Alda's perfect marriage, a woman who leaves her husband for another woman, a woman who leaves her husband and child, a Victorian threat to society's morality AND a potential modern home breaker, a seductive and probably murderous "other woman", a mother scarifying one of her children, a woman who was declared in court as an unfit mother. Then came the barrens trilogy: a woman who can't hold a pregnancy AND having an extramarital affair, a miserable woman who can't get impregnated neither by her husband nor by strangers, a woman who's sterile since her husband infected her with syphilis AND having an extramarital affair. Then a woman whose marriage falls apart, a woman living with a man who deserted his family, then the dingo ate her baby but no one believed her, then she broke Roseanne's marriage. And at the age of 40, for the first time, she was on her own. Ok, she was a drug addict with a domineering mother, but no one's perfect. During the '90s she played more adulteresses, women whose marriages are on the rocks or whose families are in some kind of crisis or another. And in the '00s – Susan Orlean was having an extramarital affair, Julia Child was sterile and Miranda Priestley's marriage fell apart, since that's what Meryl does.
(to be continued).
- Her career can be read, whether consciously or not, as a subversive portrayal of womanhood which can be quite unnerving. Combine that with the fact that she was never offering the audience the comfort of the possibility of sex, the way Sarandon or Lange were doing, and the fact she was always more popular with women than with man, and we might be on something. There is a kind of American male, straight or not, who might be intimidated by her, as was Pauline Keal, who clearly wanted to be one (a male, that is).
3. The key performance to understanding Streep the thespian is her first leading one in The French Lieutenant's Woman. I find her double role, as a character and the actress playing that character, to reflect what I see as her unique talent. R94 put is nicely – there's indeed this space, what some may call an alienating element, in which she offers her comments on the character she's playing. I find this ability to simultaneously present us both with an extremely well defined characterization and the possibly of having an extra, exterior point of view to be highly rewarding. I can see and respect others who find this approach distracting, but I'm happy I'm able to experience it in real time, as I was from the beginning of her career.
4. She is an extremely beautiful woman.
- I like Streep but she's not my favorite actress and I don't feel inclined to see something just because she's in it. Her fans however, are just as bad as fans of TWILIGHT. They cannot acknowledge that their idol would have detractors and perhaps she cannot do every single thing perfectly.
There's no use trying to make a point with someone like the Streep troll whose every response is akin to plugging one's ears and shouting 'Na na na na na, I'm not listening! Streep is the greatest, I'm sorry you feel that way!'
- Did anyone read R107's post? my eyes glazed over after two lines of manic nonsense.
- I don't understand what anyone ever means by an actor "disappearing into a part." When did Brando ever disappear? Bette Davis? Dustin Hoffman? Jane Fonda? Liv Ullman, for that matter. I never forget about the actor. I go see a movie specifically to SEE a particular actor. I think most people are the same.
Name a performance where you have COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that such-and-such an actor was onscreen.
- Really R111, you don't understand what "disappear into a part" means? Really?
It means you're not constantly thinking you're watching an actor. Your rational mind may know it (you would have to be psychotic not to "know" this about a movie), but you're not constantly **thinking** about that when you're seeing the movie.
Obviously I knew Sigourney Weaver isn't the real Diane Fossey in "Gorillas in the Mist," but i also wasn't thinking that during the actual watching of the movie. I wasn't remarking on her craftmanship, I wasn't even thinking about her craftmanship, I was simply lost in the moment. With Streep, I often am thinking about her accents and her mannerisms, which are so ostentatious they take me out of the moment, out of the "flow" of the drama.
If a composer's soundtrack swamps the action and draws attention to the music to the extent it takes you out of the movie and you're focused on the music, not what's happening onscreen, the composer might have a brilliant technique, but he's using his compositional skills in a distractingly ostentatious way. This is true even if the music he's composed for the film is gorgeous (this is why most film score composers save up their full musical abilities for the closing credits, and then let loose).
He's actually a worse soundtrack composer than someone else with less melodic skill, maybe, but knows how to weave the music in and out of the images onscreen in a way that doesn't overpower the dramatic moment. Even though he's more technically gifted, he's a worse composer as far as effective film scores are concerned.
Streep is the same way with her acting. She might have more technnical skill than most, but she draws attention to her own virtuosity instead of integrating her skill set into the movie as a whole. Just as a virtuoso composer who constantly draws attention to his own technical virtuosity might be a gifted composer but he's working against the needs of the movie as a whole if he was hired to compose a film score rather than a stand-alone symphony or an opera.
- Meryl disappears into Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.
She must disappear into character in "It's Complicated" because her character was annoying I wanted to kill her. And I would never want to kill Mary Louise.
- Who are the men, and what scenes best describe People vanishing in their roles? emoting without posturing? Which movies, what scenes, men and woman? GO...
- Yeah, but R113, as I said all along, her forte is light comedy. And McNulty says right in his article he thinks comedy comes more naturally to her than drama.
We're talking mainly about her dramatic performances, all the "prestigious" middlebrow Oscar pictures she's made.
I agree that she does disappear in comedy and is generally a superb comedian, and she's perfect in Prada. It doesn't significally alter my point about her ostentatious acting style she tends to employ in dramas, though.
- I would love to know who R112 and R115 admires as an actor. We get that Meryl is not your cup of tea. But who is?
- I guess Streep should consider herself lucky that this backlash against her has come after 30 something years of being respected. Most celebs have a very short window of being beloved before they age and are forgotten.
- "I've never once seen her disappear into a role"
Then you're blind. Completely blind.
- She disappears into her character for me in Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice, French Lieutenant's Woman, Bridges of Madison County so it's not just comedy roles.
Not everyone shares your inability to enjoy a movie with Meryl Streep.
- The people suggesting Sigourney Weaver could have done Sophie's Choice are hilarious.
You do know that Goldie Hawn was originally slated for playing Sophie, don't you? After Private Benjamin this was supposed to be her next big role. Not a joke. But I'm sure you think she could have done an excellent job too, no?
Streep gets accused of making 'decisions' when acting. Maybe Hawn, Weaver and Lange should follow suit - it would certainly improve their acting.
Meryl Streep is indisputably in a league of her own. Vanessa Redgrave cannot do comedy as convincingly as Streep; Lange cannot approach a character with the same intellectual depth as Meryl; Weaver is too stiff to convey the vulnerability of many of Streep's parts.
None of these actresses possess Meryl's range. And among male actors, only Daniel Day-Lewis has that kind of range.
Streep and DDL are therefore the two best actors of our time.
- Maybe that's because Meryl is more talented than most, r117?
It does happen, you know.
Mozart and Beethoven were remembered longer than their contemporaries, because they were supremely gifted.
Meryl has left all male contemporaries in the dust. That includes DeNiro who is not even trying anymore.
She is a woman who is more talented than all her contemporaries, and naturally, she gets attacked non-stop, because people cannot handle that.
- Stop with the sycophantic self-delusion. She is not the fucking BE ALL and END ALL. Sarandon. Lange. Sigourney. Judy Davis. Now shut your mouth!!!
- Then let MS DO Blanche, or Gertrude, or Lady Macbeth, or any number of classic, established, and highly-regarded roles that are the tests of acting mettle.
- R120, Daniel Day-Lewis can't fucking act. He has absolutely no sense of subtlety. He's fucking awful and should go back to cobbling. Every character he attempts to play just turns into a giant hammy cartoon.
- r123, she herself has created a role that is now a 'test of acting mettle'.
Sophie's Choice IS synonymous with highly-regarded acting.
And r122 illustrates what I've said in r121. Streep is the be all and end all in acting.
Susan Sarandon? LOL
Judy Davis: fun to watch, but way too manic.
Weaver: too stiff.
Lange: as someone else said upthread, she drenches EVERY role in aggressive emotionality, leaving you exhausted. Every performance is the same.
Meanwhile, Streep's Miranda Pristley is NOTHING like the nun in Doubt who is NOTHING like Julia Child who has got NOTHING in common with her portrayal of Thatcher.
Show me an actress with a similar arc of widly disparate characters and performances.
- [quote]I like Streep but she's not my favorite actress and I don't feel inclined to see something just because she's in it. Her fans however, are just as bad as fans of TWILIGHT. They cannot acknowledge that their idol would have detractors and perhaps she cannot do every single thing perfectly.
[quote]There's no use trying to make a point with someone like the Streep troll whose every response is akin to plugging one's ears and shouting 'Na na na na na, I'm not listening! Streep is the greatest, I'm sorry you feel that way!'
And it has grown so, so tiresome. So somebody doesn't think Streep is the be all and end all. I simply don't understand how somebody could possibly CARE this much.
- I'm a pedophile!
- [quote]Who are the men, and what scenes best describe People vanishing in their roles?
Claude Rains in "The Invisible Man."
- The Streep Troll is already having another psychotic meltdown. I would've thought your girl's Oscar victory would've made you happy for more than a couple hours at least. What more do you fucking WANT?? Universal worship for your personal diva? It ain't gonna happen.
Your girl got the gold she's been chasing for years, just be happy for her and STFU.
And don't any of you Streepheads tell me you'd like to "see what actresses I do like." Dozens of names have come up on dozens of threads. I've mentioned Davis (Bette) and could also mention the other Davis (Viola), and Hepburn, Mirren, Lange among others many times on many Meryl threads. Someone else mentioned Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith. Lots of names out there.
"Show me an actress with a similar arc of widly disparate characters and performances. You can't."
If I don't find most of those "disparate" performances believable, it doesn't matter how different they are from one another. I'd rather watch Sigourney be convincing in ALIENS and convincing in WORKING GIRL and convincing in GORILLAS IN THE MIST and convincing in DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, all while using her real accent and speech patterns, then watch Meryl give another grandstanding, drag-queen-style turn as Julia Child and Maggie Thatcher. Why should I give a damn if she "transformed" herself if the transformation never looks fully authentic and real to me, and if it takes me out of the moment?
And as I said in another thread, there's nothing unique about that approach to acting anyway. While the Nicholson approach is still way more common, where you riff off your real personality in film after film, Streep isn't unique when it comes to playing "wildly different characters." I said elsewhere that Day-Lewis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Samantha Morton, Gary Oldman, and others of that ilk tend to develop a new set of external details - different accent, different body language - for each character as well. It ain't just Meryl who does that. It's not like she's the only one actor who's ever utilized that approach.
Your approach is your approach. If transformation is your thing, then it is. If not, then not. For Nicholson or Brando, it's not. For Day-Lewis or Oldman, it is. But each performance has to be judged on its own merits, and for me, Streep is not as interesting or compelling or moving or intelligent a dramatic actress as Helen Mirren or Glenn Close or Vanessa Redgrave or Maggie Smith or many others whose names have come up.
The notion that it's set in stone, that it's some law, that Streep must be the greatest is ludicrous. There is no single greatest actress or greatest actor in film, or greatest musician or greatest novelist, and there never can be and never will be. W.C. Fields is actually a GREATER actor than Brando or Olivier: in COMEDIES. Outside of comedies, he's not. I admire Day-Lewis but he can be a terrible ham, too. He can be brilliant in one movie and fucking terrible (an ostentatious ham like Meryl) in another.
- "Sophie's Choice IS synonymous with highly-regarded acting. And [R122] illustrates what I've said in [R121]. Streep is the be all and end all in acting."
Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael, who rarely agreed about anything and spent years sniping at each other, both felt unenthused about Streep in Sophie's Choice. We all know how little regard Kael had for Streep, but less well-known is Sarris' claim that Streep's Sophie "is flawless, prodigious, yet somehow lacks fire and music. I tire of her very quickly on the screen."
It's often forgotten that Kael's rivals, like Sarris and John Simon, also had mixed feelings about Streep. They might have liked her more than Kael but they didn't think she was the pinnacle of her profession or anything. Simon claimed that despite her "sizeable" talent, there was something "already frozen into mannerism" about Streep's acting style.
So, no, for Simon, Sarris and Kael at least, Streep was not synonymous with great acting and was not the "be-all and end-all" of acting.
- 'Show me an actress with a similar arc of widly disparate characters and performances.
You can't because there aren't many roles that go around and those that do are only offered to Streep. I'm not blaming her, just the lack of imagination of Hollywood. If it's a dramatic role it automatically goes to Meryl whether she's right for it or not.
There has been a dearth of good female roles since the 1970s so most contemporary actresses are lucky if they have two good roles in a decade and even rarer is to have those performances featured in a good film. Because Streep is the only actress considered for serious Oscar type roles, of course she has a canon of tilmes that no other English speaking film actress can match.
But I still hate her fans.
- r125 - you are hilariously pathetic in your perception. You think actings about dressing off and looking different for the sum of a whole career, instead of how effective a role is as a STAND ALONE PIECE.
Just what the hell is wrong with you?
- Streep would actually be a wonderful Blanche du Bois, though she is too old for it now.
I don't agree that she is not as good a tragedienne as she is a comedienne.
She is equally good at both. I love her in POSTCARDS as much as I love her in DINGO GOT MY BABY.
And as for this being the "first backlash" against her: There has always been anti-Streep fervor at large in the land. At the beginning of her career, she was accused of being too "technical." People didn't like to see her "make decisions."
Me, I like nothing more than seeing the decisions actors make. It thrills me. I love when Meryl makes a decision that it would never have occurred to me - or anyone else - to make. She can be a wonderfully unexpected actor.
Some parts are outside her range. She cannot play Jews! Ugh, she does an awful job of pretending she's a Jew. For some reason, Jewish characters haul all of Meryl's clichéd impulses into focus.
If you don't believe me, watch HEARTBURN, or that dreadful thing with Uma Thurman.
Listen, but name me another actor, male or female, who could have made that woman in DINGO GOT MY BABY work.
Streep is just uncompromising in playing that woman as pinched, unfun, small, scared, and charmless. And yet you care about her. Amazing acting.
I like to watch actors exhibit their craft. For me, it's a huge part of the pleasure of seeing them work.
Some of you want to forget altogether that you're watching a movie.
I have never been able to forget that it's a movie, and I have never for a minute believed, for instance, that Don Corleone was not Brando with cotton wads in his mouth. And I liked his performance all the more for being aware of the choices he made.
- STOP! THE LOT OF YOU! ENOUGH!
- Sorry Chuckles, but for me it was pure loathing for Margaret Thatcher and a complete lack of desire to see her represented doing anything other than keeling over dead. The fact that Meryl Streep can act and has been amply applauded for it would do nothing to dissuade me from seeing a movie I want to see.
- Thanks R128. I almost spit out my coffee!
- It's not really a movie about Margaret Thatcher. It's a movie about Meryl Streep convincing us she's an old British woman slipping into senility. And it's nowhere near as obscenely stupid and dishonest a film as, for instance, THE HELP or THE DESCENDANTS or WAR HORSE or the first 40 minutes of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.
- Geesh. The Streep lovers and Streep haters both seem equally unhinged.
- In her tv interview with Dick Cavett from the early 1970's, Bette Davis talks about how the audience "should see you act a little." She was talking in response to the Method school of acting where you are just supposed to disappear into the character.
I thought it described perfectly Davis' own style of acting where (sometimes) you could see her acting quite a lot but often it was just "a little." And I think Davis liked Streep because she could see her "act a little" as well.
(Wouldn't it have been great if Bette Davis and Meryl Streep had a chance to perform together?)
The problem that all actresses from Hepburn and Davis to Streep and Close have had is the problem of script quality. Most of their best performances came from having a good script. Iron Lady won't wear well not because of Streep's performance but because the script is a mess.
- Poor Meryl.
- "Sarandon. Lange. Sigourney. Judy Davis."
Sarandon has phoned in many a peformance since her oscar win.
Judy Davis has become a fucking ham, bringing new meaning to the term "neurotic".
Lange destroyed her face with hideous plastic surgery.
Sigourney is as good as Meryl. I would add Anjelica Huston to that list. And Kathy Bates.
- [quote]Sigourney is as good as Meryl. I would add Anjelica Huston to that list. And Kathy Bates.
I'll take your Kathy Bates and raise you one Cherry Jones.
- "My Meryl Streep problem"
- It truly boggles my mind that the Academy can give superficial melodramatic hysteria like Marion Cotillard and 'look at how clever this acting choice is' impersonation like Streep's Iron Lady and not honor the truly searing and terrific performances - Julie Christie in Away From Her springs to mind immediately.
- R144, the Academy has been doing this since the beginning. Doesn't make it less problematic but it's not a new phenomenon.
Mary Pickford in Coquette over Jeanne Eagels in The Letter?
Luise Rainer in Good Earth over Garbo in Camille?
- Another "Streep is overrated" piece here:
- Not everyone is gonna love meryl. I love her to death. But to say she is the best actress in the world is more of a general thing. There are many actors in the world. Art is subjective. It really depends how exposed you are to actors, films, theaters, plays, tv etc. Meryl has had many opportunities in this world that many many actors never dream of. I feel she deserved the third oscar just in terms for near 30 years of consistently fine and versatile work AND the iron lady. At least she strives to do different films and challenges herself which a lotta actors dont do. Love or hate her you cant deny her talent. Awards are pretty silly because it pits talented people against each other. In the final analysis its what a film, a book, a painting, a play or any other form of art mean to YOU. Some people love transformers (oh well!) and some love shakespeare. Its just the way it is!
- Good god YES, r145!!!
Garbo in Camille is perhaps the most captivating cinematic performance I have ever been thrilled and elated to witness. She sent be into bloody rapture.
That's what Streep is missing. She's too much of a fucking scientist with her characters, and knows nothing of the spiritual. Garbo wipes the floor with that insipid impersonator.
- Streep's clip during the Best Actress category announcement was terrible. Not only 'cause the dialog was cringeworthy, but I could tell she was acting the entire time.
- Oh stop it.
She was on Broadway in 1976 and made a notable film debut the next year.
THIRTY FIVE YEARS LATER she's still a major force in show business.
You don't have to be a fan or like her but to go on and on about it is silly.
Supposedly this is a reaction to her alleged deification by The Media. No, it's the usual hatred here of anyone who succeeded in the entertainment world and had longevity.
- Why don't you Meryl haters admit that you can't stand powerful, successful women.
There are no men of Meryl's generation and/or shortly before who continue to be A list leading role players who can open movies.
De Niro, Hoffman, Nicholson, Pacino, Hackman have all largely vanished.
Kevin Kline? Jeremy Irons? DDL doesn't work enough to rival Streep's record. Jeff Bridges, maybe. Gary Oldman? George Clooney doesn't have Streep's long career. Brad Pitt is a generation after Streep and so's Tom Cruise. Christopher Walken? Redford has vanished. Denzel? Morgan Freeman? What happened to Tom Hanks? Johnny Depp has basically flushed his career down the toilet. DiCaprio and Matt Damon and Affleck are a younger generation. What happened to William Hurt? He's roughly Streep's contemporary. It hardly matters: None of them has had anything like her career.
In terms of her longevity, in terms of her ability to roll with the ups and downs of a film actor's career, in terms of her coming back from bombs and making hits, in terms of her making big money-making films that are not just boyteen fart joke films or action star car crash pictures, in terms of the range of different roles she has played: It's hard to think of a man currently and consistently working who has as important a career.
She is a woman in her 60s who is one of the world's biggest film stars AND one of the world's most respected actors, with more awards that anybody.
And her career will continue on that high note for the foreseeable future.
Name one man or any age who can say as much.
Whether or not you like her, you must see her success.
And I'm sure that drives a lot of men completely crazy.
- R150 and R151, just stop it.
Your arguments are pathetic.
We have outlined perfectly legit reasons not to like Streep. Plenty of high-profile critics have found fault with her acting over the years for reasons that have nothing to do with sexism. The idea that we're afraid of powerful women is ridiculous. Helen Mirren's portrayals of strong women are far more interesting than Streep's and I'm an unabashed fan of her. And she's still working and she's slightly older than Streep, and she also won an Oscar in her 60s. And for the record I also hate Nicholson's performance in As Good As It Gets and think his third Oscar is even more unjustified than Streep's.
Your argument is like saying we have to love everything Margaret Thatcher did as a politician because she broke through all these barriers for women. Well, she did succeed in ways a woman had never succeeded before. She is admirable in certain ways and she did break through the glass ceiling.
But we're still entitled not to like her politics and we're still entitled not to like everything about Streep's acting and consider her acting overrated. You are such a fucking thought police.
- Also, R151, your whole post is a total non-sequitur.
You would earn an F in any Philosophy 101 course in college.
You ramble on about sexism, about how Meryl's career is so much better than any man's, then list a bunch of male stars whose careers have fizzled out.
This is your logic:
1) Meryl detractors are all motivated by sexism and misogyny!
2) Meryl has outlasted De Niro, Hoffman, etc. That'll show 'em!
3) I've beaten their arguments by showing that Meryl's on top while De Niro's down for the count!
Yeah, except we're NOT hostile to successful women and we DON'T resent her for outlasting all these guys. That has ZILCH to do with anything.
It's like I said, "The boiling point of water is 100 degrees celsius," and you came back with, "No! You're wrong! The real truth is mercury freezes at minus 38! Take that!"
How many times do you have to be told that some of us simply don't like her showy, visible acting technique: which is the same reason that virtually every one of her detractors, from McNulty to Kael to Sarris, has offered. Shouldn't Occam's Razor tell you that the real reason we don't care for her acting is the one we've offered, not some secret hidden misogynist agenda?
Ironic that you keep claiming sexism is at the root of anti-Streep sentiment when everyone knows her two most vocal critics among famous people were Pauline Kael and Katharine Hepburn.
- You are aware, R149, that she was playing a character who's constantly preforming, aren't you. In a way, only the old Thatcher and the young one played by that other actress are supposed to be naturally behaving. The point is that Thatcher at her prime was always "on", never out of control of the way she presented herself to the world. And the same can be said about most of the recent Streep's laureled turns. In Prada, Doubt and here she plays women in a position of power who must be detached from their inner fears, insecurities and doubts in order to keep their hold of their surroundings. As women in power they must constantly fake it. The problem with Streep is that when she's called to play a "ordinary" woman, as in Mama Mia or It's complicated, she "on" two, probably in desperate attempt to compensate for the frivolity of the material and lack of real "profound" character to play, which is a pity.
- This is the Oscar she was meant to win for Julie & Julia, but Sandra Bullock stole that. Now Meryl has Viola's Oscar and the bullshit goes on. Viola is solid. She'll get nominated again, and (hopefully) win for something less deserving than this performance. The Academy is always off this way. They should wait five years and give the awards out to the films and performances that we still remember and enjoy, as Matt Damon once (jokingly) suggested.
- McNulty is a poof
- If she didn't win it for The Iron Lady she never would have won - although August: Osage County is also ideal and exactly what she needed.
Here she finally had the role that would do it, classic Oscar material and exactly what they go for these days, unlike the fluff of Julie and Julia.
Even some Meryl loons will tell you that Adaptation and Madison County were really the last real deserving times. But then they kept stretching out her nominations, it was getting silly.
- She sucked in both Adaptation and Madison County but she definitely deserved it for Iron Lady.
- August:Osage County=#4!!!!
- Well, it's day 3 of the new Streep era. 3, like the number of her Academy Awards! And it still feels so fresh, so wonderful, so RIGHT!
I told you the girl from Dawson's Creek wouldn't win.
I told you Viola 'supporting' Davis wouldn't win.
I told you Rooney Mara was but the flavor of the moment.
I told you Glenn 'so' Close wasn't up this time.
I was ridiculed, I was attacked, but like Noah on his Ark, I persevered. And it paid off!
Well, my work here is done. I shall leave you now.
But I'll be back in a year or two, for Meryl's 18th nomination!
Because we all know she will win more Oscars...
- Yay the Streep Troll's gone!
- Can we ff the Streep Troll? She is way too much stupidity even for a thread about an actress.
- [quote]we're NOT hostile to successful women
Shit gets flung here at successful women all the time, for over the top, irrational, and sexist reasons. But then again, shit gets flung here at unsuccessful women all the time too, for over the top, irrational, and sexist reasons.
I will say this about the Streep criticism - for the most part, it's more thought out and less vitriolic than the usual barrage of insults thrown actresses' way.
- Meryl Streep embodies and disappears into every character she portrays. .. If that isn't the hallmark of every great actor, what is?
- I was waiting until the accusations of misogyny would surface. I'm surprised I had to wait until page 8.
- Oh, duh. Meryl Streep is the most awarded actor of all time, and last year she was basically knighted, what with the Kennedy Center thing and all. She is over 60 years old and she is one of the biggest stars on the planet - the only A+ list star over age 60, I'd guess. Plus, she does not come across as: a drug addict; a vicious narcissist; a man-hating bitch; a Republican. And her fame has never been all about her body. She appears to be human and kind of nice and reasonably smart, for an actor, and she is still married to the same guy with 4 kids who are not Lindsay Lohan. It's hard to imagine an actor - for that matter, an individual - more successful than she is. And she can act.
And that drives you women haters crazy crazy crazy crazy crazy.
- She's not one of the biggest stars on the planet. Iron Lady flopped. She has no box office appeal. It's just somewhere along the line she became known as the best actress in human history and the luvvies are saying it today. The paying public couldn't give a damn about Meryl. It's all about people like Bieber and Gaga these days.
- "I was ridiculed, I was attacked, but like Noah on his Ark, I persevered. And it paid off! Well, my work here is done. I shall leave you now."
Somebody get this freak back on its meds, stat. This is the kind of paranoid shit cult leaders like Jim Jones and David Koresh would spout to their flocks.
- The Streep troll has said she was going to go away about 50 times now...but she never does.
- She's a ham that was left in the salt too long. That is the bottom line on Ms. Meryl Streep.
- "She's not one of the biggest stars on the planet. Iron Lady flopped. She has no box office appeal."
Though the film was a critical flop, it was in no way a box office flop. It had a production budget of only $15 million and it has grossed $25.8 million domestically and $46.7 million foreign, with a total gross of $72.5 million. Thus, it has made back its budget nearly 5 times. A financial flop would be if it didn't recoup. A movie doesn't have to cross the $100 million mark to be considered a hit or success, as long as it makes a profit. And "Iron Lady" made a lot of money in comparison to its budget.
- Of course that doesn't include P&A costs and god knows how much Weinsten spent on Meryl's Oscar campaign. I'm sure her award didn't come cheap!
- I'm a pedophile!
- Well if it took Weinstein and a campaign to get her to put on that gold dress and win, so be it. She obviously changed her mind about playing the game and why not.
Usually I have a problem with that disgusting fat cunt, but I love The Artist and gorgeous Jean was the highlight of the night. This at least makes up for the horror of Gwyneth and Roberto Benigni.
- I'm so glad Davy Jones was able to see Meryl win her third Oscar. He held out against all odds just to be part of Sunday's magic moment. Davy, Consider Yourself a true Streep fan and so sorry you won't Be Back Soon. If only our beloved Lucy could have shared this wonderful moment.
- "Of course that doesn't include P&A costs and god knows how much Weinsten spent on Meryl's Oscar campaign. I'm sure her award didn't come cheap!"
I was under the impression that as long as a movie makes back its budget double (in "Iron Lady"'s case $15 to recoup and another $15 to cover its P&A costs), then it can start to make a profit. "Iron Lady"'s budget was $15 million X 2 = $30 million, subtract that from $72.5 and it made a $42.5 million profit. Even if Weinstein spent another $15 million (doubtful) for Streep's Oscar campaign, there's still $27.5 million left over, which is almost double its budget.
- You're woefully ignorant of how movie financing works, r176. Try TRIPLE the budget and you'll get closer to the ballpark of what it needs to make to make back costs.
- [quote]McNulty sounds like a pompous windbag and McNuts.
Probably a DL poster.
- [quote]McNulty sounds like a pompous windbag and McNuts.
Which is actually what the Streep Troll sounds like, too. I think they're the same person. McNulty takes drugs and turns into the Streep Troll.
"I hate her AND I worship her! Understand?"
- Wasn't the role of Maranda Priestly really a supporting role?
Why couldn't Sigourney have played Sophie? I think she would have been brilliant in it and I bet she could have done the accents perfectly. Meryl didn't invent accents and she didn't invent good acting. These things are available to a wide range of people.
- Sigourney Weaver is a horrible actress. That's why she couldn't play Sophie or much of anything else.
- I think Streep is a wonderful actress but she's a little overrated probably due to her, unlike other equally talented actresses, having worked consistently over 3 decades.
The US (and other countries) have fantastic actresses around Streep's age but they don't get to show their stuff as regularly has Streep does. French cinema seems to do a much better job of writing movies for mature women. It's embarrassing that the US with its huge film industry is lagging so far behind by comparison.
- LOL @ 181
- And Meryl couldn't have played Ripley.
There was nothing "supporting" about Viola's performance. She deserved the Oscar and she was robbed!
- She wasn't robbed. She gave a mediocre performance in a horrible, insulting, pedestrian movie.
- Everybody knows that Sophie's Choice is a masterpiece, and Miranda Priestly is a classic character.
When you look at the careers of Mirren, Cate Blanchette, and Kate Winslet, for example, you see the wildly varying quality of work you see in Streep's. Yet the best of their work is comparable. I think comes down to a matter of taste. What is it that one feels and thinks while looking at these women's faces and bodies, and what resonates in their acting choice: that goes beyond craft to the personal.
It's like wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc: both potentially great wines when served correctly - which is better? It's a nonsensical question.
- [quote] She gave a mediocre performance in a horrible, insulting, pedestrian movie.
And Streep gave a ham-fisted, "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" automaton performance in a horrible, insulting, pedestrian movie.
- Streep stinkers: DOUBT, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, IT'S COMPLICATED, LIONS FOR LAMBS, RENDITION, BEFORE AND AFTER - She's either mediocre or embarrassing in all of those.
Streep Gold: JULIE & JULIA, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, ANGELS IN AMERICA, THE HOURS, ADAPTATION, MARVIN'S ROOM, THE RIVER WILD, DEATH BECOMES HER, IRONWEED, OUT OF AFRICA, DINGO ATE MY BABY, SILKWOOD, SOPHIE'S CHOICE, STILL OF THE NIGHT, KRAMER VS KRAMER, THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN, MANHATTAN, THE DEER HUNTER, HOLOCAUST, JULIA - She's brilliant or one notch down from brilliant in all of those
She's great in PLENTY, but not as magnificent as Kate Nelligan was in the same role on Broadway
She horribly miscast in THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, and POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, which detracts a little from her excellent performances in each.
I haven't seen her TV movie, "First Do No Harm" - have no idea, she may be great in it
In everything else, she's okay - not great, but far from awful. Just fine, no problem, but nothing special.
- "The Iron Lady" was a horrible film. Meryl's performance was over-the-top and not that impressive.
- She's great in Doubt, r188.
- Oh, please, R190! "Doubt" was one of her worst performances. I felt embarrassed for her and cringed when she was on screen. This was one of her least deserved nomination.
- You guys need to let it go. Watch another actor if you dont like her. She won her third oscar. Its done. She earned it.
- [quote]Streep stinkers: DOUBT...
"Doubt" was one of her worst performances. I felt embarrassed for her and cringed when she was on screen. This was one of her least deserved nomination.
For YOU. "Doubt" wasn't just a single nomination for her like a bunch of her other movies. The entire fucking cast was nominated, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams & Viola Davis. Meryl was nominated for the Oscar, The Golden Globe, The Bafta, She won The SAG, National Board Of Review, Washington DC Film Critics Association Award, Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, & Broadcast Film Critics Association Award. You should be so embarrassed.
- Doubt is one of the best examples of Streep's weaknesses as an actor. It tells you all you need to know to find the flaws in her other performances.
- After reading R186's post I have to go vomit.
- [quote]She won her third oscar. Its done. She earned it.
No, Harvey bought this one. You bitches can't moan about him buying other things, like all the Shakespeare in Love Oscars among others, and then keep quiet when it's clearly the same deal here.
- [quote]Doubt is one of the best examples of Streep's weaknesses as an actor
Indeed it is.
- R196 No bitch. I never thought harvey actually BUYS the oscars for his films. He is a master promoter when it comes to the academy awards and it pays off. He cant bribe every damn voter! I dont agree with all his tactics though. By your rationale anyone voter can be paid off its just who pays the most. If the precious viola davis won would you be saying her oscar was bought and paid for?! Hell no! If you think meryl streep didnt earn her oscar for iron lady and after almost 30 years and consistently fine and varied work there is something wrong with you! Go back to watching lindsay lohan movies! Harvey just drew attention to her work. The voters can vote how they want.
- I'm a huge Meryl fan, but I agree with a lot of what McNulty wrote. The truth, though, is that she's being held to a much higher standard than any other working actress.
I guess we all have our preferences. If they asked me to vote on a special Best Actress Oscar for the past 50 years, I would vote for Sophie.
On the other hand, I'm shocked at the number of people on this thread who rave about Prada. I thought she was so cartoony as to be, frankly, boring. Sigourney was 100 times better in Working Girl.
Meryl's performance is Prada is cartoony because it is high-camp drag. Weaver's performance in Working Girl is timeless because it is authentic, and Sigourney doesn't depend on hair, make up, and accents to carry the role.
- r200, Meryl doesn't do an accent in Prada.
Andd Sigourney had 'hair' and a 'look' in Working Girl.
She most definitely did attempt a WASP patrician accent in Prada, it just wasn't the hammy Eastern European one we now all expect from Meryl's drag acts.
Mike Nichols had Sigourney dressed as a successful 80s businesswoman (what the part called for). Sigourney still did all of the legwork in terms of building the character in an authentic way. The wardrobe and hair were seamless with the character.
- [quote]No, Harvey bought this one.
Honey, the people that voted for her gave HER a standing ovation, not Harvey.
- Streep NEVER could have done what Weaver did in The Ice Storm: the quietly brooding, unhappy housewife. Streep would have been ticy and demanded the camera pay full attention to her.
- "it just wasn't the hammy Eastern European one we now all expect from Meryl's drag acts"
Speak for yourself.
- "Streep NEVER could have done what Weaver did in The Ice Storm: the quietly brooding, unhappy housewife"
She did exactly that in Adaptation, which, like Weaver's Ice Storm, was a supporting role.
The difference between Meryl and Sigourney is that Meryl plays the lead role in most of her films, whereas Sigourney mostly does supporting parts now.
A lead actress will be much more in focus - of the picture, of the camera, and of the storyline. By definition.
In Aliens and Gorillas in the Mist, the camera paid full attention to Sigourney too.
The Streep haters need to give it up. Seriously.
- You just know it's a lesbian trying to make Sigourney Weaver happen here.
- Most of Mery's recent work have included her playing ice queens. She's a mean bitch for about 90% of the movie and has a breakdown at the end so we're supposed to feel sorry for her. Miranda, the nun in "Doubt," Thatcher....all ice queens!
- Julia Child wasn't an ice queen.
- La Streep is a great TECHNICAL actress but not a very soulful one. And that is why she hadn't won in 29 years. She'll get the costumes and accents (not always successful) necessary for the character but you can always tell she's "acting." It's like Celine Dion versus Mary J. Blige. Celine is amazing at what she does but Mary (with her off-key singing) will make you feel it a tad bit more. Bette Midler is a great soulful actress and I FEEL her. Streep has just not found the ability to do so. In "Doubt," the character is a nasty bitch and doesn't even seem like a real human being. Viola Davis verbally bitch slapped Streep with ONE scene in that movie.
- [quote]In "Doubt," the character is a nasty bitch and doesn't even seem like a real human being. Viola Davis verbally bitch slapped Streep with ONE scene in that movie.
That is because no one would let Cherry Jones do the movie version of "Doubt." They should have had Cherry Jones do the movie version of "Doubt" and just have someone really well known and popular in cinema play the Priest. But, Cherry Jones is an out Lesbian and the movie going public would never let a out Lesbian play a Nun.
Viola Davis kicked ass in her scene in the film and rightfully so. She is just that good. Not her fault.
- [quote]La Streep is a great TECHNICAL actress but not a very soulful one. And that is why she hadn't won in 29 years. ... n "Doubt," the character is a nasty bitch and doesn't even seem like a real human being. Viola Davis verbally bitch slapped Streep with ONE scene in that movie.
Blah Blah Blah, she hasn't won in 29 years is because people simply took her for granted because she is that good. And as for "Doubt", it's the writing. Adriane Lenox won the Tony Award for the same one scene on Broadway.
- Always an excuse! Took her for granted? Please! The Streep fans are so damn annoying.
- Here's the thing: Streep might have portrayed supremely certain characters, but the characters themselves have not stood the test of time, defined by me as "being portrayed over decades by various and sundry actors."
- Meryl was soulful in Music of the Heart, Bridges of Madison County, Marvin's Room, House of the Spirits, Julie & Julia, One True Thing.
Warm, soulful, human - her acting transports you.
And her role in Doubt is supposed to be icy. A woman under pressure, forced to ignore her own fears and insecurities in order to do a difficult job.
She nailed it, and got the SAG award for a reason.
- [quote]And her role in Doubt is supposed to be icy. A woman under pressure, forced to ignore her own fears and insecurities in order to do a difficult job.
I take it you did not see or read the play, eh?
- I don't think the Meryl loon has been employed since the Reagan era.
- r216, why does it have to be a faithful adaptation of the play? It's hardly the first time a film is different to a novel/play.
Meryl created her own character, which was full of truth and insight.
Hats off to her!
- Meryl loon when was the last time you held a job?
- [quote] Most of Mery's recent work have included her playing ice queens. She's a mean bitch for about 90% of the movie and has a breakdown at the end so we're supposed to feel sorry for her. Miranda, the nun in "Doubt," Thatcher....all ice queens!
Let's not forget her ice queen roles in The Manchurian Candidate and and Rendition. A good case can be made that her Eleanor Prentiss Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate was the precursor to her Miranda Priestly in Prada. Same mannerisms, same sardonic, patronizing tone with that WASPY accent (it wouldn't be a Dame Streep performance without some type of accent). Take a look at the clip below that shows the screen test of Dame Streep & Liev Schreiber in The Manchurian Candidate. She recycled the same performance for Eleanor Shaw in Prada and recycled it again in Rendition. So, please, Streep Loon, not all of the roles she play are that radically different from the rest.
And she's not even all that convincing in those ice queen roles -- not like a Bette Davis (in her prime at Warner Brothers), Sigourney Weaver or Faye Dunaway. Unlike those three, Dame Streep has a difficult time or perhaps she's afraid of releasing her inner-bitch on screen. As McNulty noted, she's too protective of an actress to ever sacrifice herself fully to a characterization (this makes her the opposite of a Charlize Theron).
- Unfortunately in that clip she comes across as supremely self conscious. I was annoyed that she kept trying to get as much of her face as possible in the camera even though she is supposed to be turned away.
- How come screen tests are put on YT? There's no mystery anymore.
- I don't think Meryl can carry off playing just a regular person. She has to be a cartoon of a person. Ever see her in "Marvin's Room"? She really sucked! While Diane Keaton was perfectly able to play a normal, though eccentric, person.
Meryl's stinker screen test
- [quote]Sigourney is as good as Meryl. I would add Anjelica Huston to that list. And Kathy Bates.
I'd put Michelle Pfieffer on it as well.
- R223 she was pretty normal in "It's Complicated."
- [quote]I would add Anjelica Huston
You mean that gargoyle from Smash?
- Streep is a great actress. Period. No one comes close to her and in 20 years this debate will be irrelevant.
Bette Midler is great singer? LOL! Best observation I have read here on the thread. Honestly, I burst out laughing when I read that one.
- [quote]No one comes close to her and in 20 years this debate will be irrelevant.
That's not even true for English speaking actresses, let alone foreign ones.
- [quote]No one comes close to her and in 20 years this debate will be irrelevant.
In 20 years, there won't be any over-the-top "greatest actress since time began" drumbeat, and the few people who see her films will assume that she trained under Norma Shearer.
- Streep's Thatcher movie is better than anyone says.
It's not an especially good film, but:
It's better than a lot of crap that got lauded last year, and no worse than some of the stuff that won big prizes.
The Streep hate is irrational.
She's spectacularly good as Doddering Old Lady Thatcher, not all that good as Prime Minister Thatcher.
On balance, though, she deserved the Oscar, just for the Doddering Maggie sequences alone.
- I think she's the most overrated actress of our generation.
Her performance in "Defending Your Life" seemed to lampoon the undeserved hype she gets.
Ghe's a talented actress, one of many, but hardly a hall of famer.
Faye Dunaway or Jessica Lange in their prime were every bit as good. Even Talia Shire (Godfather, Rocky) has more talent, and I'd still rather watch Marisa Tomei anytime. Not that these names are as "accomplished," but I find them quite talented.
One other name I'd put above Meryl is Naomi Watts.
- If they could have been they would have been...and that's showbiz
M's Turn (3!)
- I never liked Meryl until I saw her in "She Devil". She fit that part to perfection and after seeing that performance I realized I could like her in comedy. But some of the same things bother me about her no matter if she is doing drama or comedy.
The one thing she has over other actresses is material. I don't know if she is offered the roles first or if all the others turn the material down but she chooses her parts well. They fit her capabilities. So many of the others who are equal to her in talent just choose horrible material or parts that either don't fit them well or have been at the mercy of inferior directors that didn't get the best out of them.
- [quote]Streep's Thatcher movie is better than anyone says.
I have to say, I found it unwatchable. Rather clumsy in going back and forth in time. No emotional core. No interesting insights in who Thatcher might have been. And Streep's middle age Thatcher was something out of an SNL skit.
Streep is a great actress, but directors are so in awe of her, they do not give her any direction. And like any other actor, she needs guidance or she can go overboard.
I see the same tendency to overdo a performance in Cate Blanchett. She didn't start like that, but once she hit Hollywood stardom some of her natural charisma was lost and she started to over-think her characters. I am glad I saw her in Streetcar, because Ullmann got the best out of her. It was like watching a combination of young, intuitive Cate and mature Cate.
- God was she gorgeous.
- Yet another writer takes a swipe at Streep.
Nothing we haven't heard before, but it's interesting that Charles McNulty's complaints about her overacting, rarely aired a couple years ago, are no longer heresy and now a recurring refrain:
- Show me an actress who isn't a personality, and you'll show me a woman who isn't a star.
- Who is that crazy c-word writing more text on Meryl Streep. As if she needed more attention from critics.