Thursday, April 21, 2011

NAOMI WATTS as Cristina Peck in 21 GRAMS

NAOMI WATTS

I love Naomi Watts but I just didn’t get MULHOLLAND DRIVE. I’ve seen it a bunch of times and I just don’t get it. If someone could enlighten me, I’m willing to mentor to the wiser. I haven’t completely understood a Lynch film since THE ELEPHANT MAN. He’s off his rocker – I love his tone and the commitment he gets from his actors – but he’s not playing with a full deck, not anymore. I especially loved a lot of the moments from his new arrival Naomi Watts – but it wasn’t a full performance. Not until 21 GRAMS. Overshadowed that year by Charlize – Naomi gave an absolutely thunderous performance here as the grieving wife and mother of two young children. Here the unthinkable happens.

Doctor Elizabeth Kubler Ross defined the various stages of death and dying – which was also later became the manual for grief counseling. Naomi’s Cristina Peck is locked in the anger stage like a runaway train with no breaks. With good reason, fractured by her grief, the sudden death of her husband and two young children, she falls back into her old demons of addiction.  Done to haunting perfection with no stone unturned, NAMOI WATTS is magnificent and terrifying in 21 GRAMS. She bolts through scenes and right through the camera. What I really noticed about her performance – something Amy Ryan also does as well  – is that they never pose or play to the camera – they let the camera find them. They are just in it. Naomi did it first and so remarkably here in 21 GRAMS – fiercely and furiously moves through scene after scene - catch up guys – I’m acting my ass off – stay with me. Her journey is the center of the film, her redemption; her heart is the one we want to see healed. The other characters make choices to a certain degree; Naomi’s Cristina is stuck with the bleak leftovers life has to offer.

21 GRAMS is a must-see motion picture. Naomi Watts, mesmerizing here as a broken woman, overflowing with pure hatred and bitterness — but little self-pity.
An unsaid, and sometimes said, bond connects the characters. A mere silent glance; a silent meditation of thoughts; or a silent desire to die. All this is captured by the performances, cinematography and a blank background score with passionate perfection. Watts’ tears leave you moist eyed, Penn’s pain can move a stone, and Del Toro’s self-condemnation make you alternatively pity and loathe him. Sooner or later, you find your ’self’ empathizing with the trials; the characters face tribulations and emotional turmoil.
Ultimately, moving performances augment Gonz├ílez’s unorthodox style of non-linear storytelling to transcend the boundaries of gimmick-editing, driving home the point that: akin to this movie, the roller-coaster ride called life too has an uncanny art of disclosing the naked truth only when the time is ripe, irrespective of when, how and for whatsoever reason one is thrown in to a life-changing situation. And instead of confusing you, this screenplay slowly opens up new doors of perception as it progresses, adding hitherto unknown dimensions to both the characters and the story, unraveling one layer after another, finally culminating into a bizarre, yet profound climax that leaves us pondering about life, death, relationships and the deep rooted desire of mankind to desperately seek redemption in this lifetime.
Like the story’s tumultuous nature, director Alejandro Gonz├ílez’s 21 GRAMS shakes your soul and stirs it too — all the way to redemption. Thoughts and ideas come at destroyed people in fragments. In the end the three disconnected souls come together and the truth is revealed to all.
Love, hate, revenge, death, and redemption drive the lives of Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro. One fateful incident intertwines their lives, simultaneously delivering them to the brink of self-destruction and redemption. This is her crowning achievement so far. Although I heard FAIR GAME she was fantastic in. Here she is completely wrenching. When she plays her husbands last call on the answering machine with the girls little voices in the background, seconds before they are killed, is shattering stuff. Watch what she's doing on the kitchen floor. She's completely in it; the sounds and the way her body moves is captivating.  It's primitive.  Like a deer that just got hit by a semi-truck, watching the poor thing find it's way back on to it's hoofs on the asphalt - crawling back into the woods to die.  I can’t imagine how she was able to put this character to bed – it’s a performance that lingers and gets you in the middle of your gut – right below your heart. The part that hurts. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MICHELLE PFEIFFER as Susie Diamond in THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS

Michelle Pfeiffer

The film follows two brothers trying to make their old lounge act work. Times are tough and the two brothers have hit rock bottom on the hotel circuit in Seattle, but maybe with a singer they have a chance to redeem themselves.
Enter Susie Diamond – Michelle Pfeiffer. Stunning.
Susie's had a hard life, and she's got the attitude to match; when she sings a song like ''Ten Cents a Dance,'' she's very nearly singing from experience. Michelle Pfeiffer is as unexpected a choice for this musical bombshell as Jeff Bridges is for the self-hating, lonely Jack, but, like him, she proves to be electrifying. "Introducing Ms. Pfeiffer's furiously hard-boiled, devastatingly gorgeous Susie into the Bakers' world affects the film the way a match might affect a fuse".
THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS, like its stars, has style and sultriness to spare. The warm, rich hues of Michael Ballhaus's cinematography contribute immeasurably to the film's invitingly intimate glow. And the cast members' ingenuous musical performances work surprisingly well, sometimes even spectacularly. When Ms. Pfeiffer, draped across Jeff Bridge’s piano and setting some new standard for cinematic slickness, performs in the above-mentioned New Year's Eve sequence with the camera gliding hypnotically around her, she just plain brings down the house. Watch her mid-section as she sings to Jack, Jeff Bridges. Her stomach literally waves into the bottom of the piano like a wildcat, while singing, spinning, acting, oozing. It’s remarkable – gorgeous – seamless – incredible acting. Redefining stunning.

The film doesn’t really travel that far in terms of its journey, but the characters each take a substantial step forward in their lives. It’s about finding your truer self, honoring ones own passions artistically and personally and finally opening yourself up to the possibility of love – as hard as that is for a cynic and a pro.
Michelle Pfeiffer is one of the sexiest screen actors ever and this was the film that made her a sensation. She becomes a triple – quadruple threat. Her singing isn’t perfect but she controls her voice in such a way that it fits the character and film beautifully.

Chemistry is something that is either there or it’s not. You can act it up to a point but the chemistry between Pfeiffer and Jeff Bridges is so palpable and disarming that it elevates the simple story and turns the film into magic. Even when they are putting each other off and trying not to show their feelings in front of Beau Bridges’ character – it’s there. Gangbusters there. Like a piercing laser-beam, the chemistry in this film is like that of Hollywood's golden age. Whether it’s in a look, a quick glance, or on top of a piano. I loved her as ‘Catwoman’ in BATMAN RETURNS and in DANGEROUS LIAISONS but this is was the one that made her legendary.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CHARLIZE THERON as Aileen Wournos in MONSTER


Charlize Theron 

It's not an awards seeking ‘transformation’ stunt. 

I had many reservations going into MONSTER. Well, one main one. I sensed the intentions of Charlize and the filmmakers were to win awards for it’s leading lady. It just screamed – ‘look at what I’ve done to myself’ – ‘look at my transformation’. I always had that vibe with RAGING BULL as well – it just felt like its origins of taking the real life personal story to screen were more for the actor rather than the story. The inceptions weren’t pure. Maybe everyone’s Oscar crazed from the beginning but the story has to be there.

When I first saw MONSTER in the movie theater I can recall thinking, 'I really don’t mind if it’s not 100 percent autobiographical / accurate – it’s a great fucking film. The story is here'.  Patty Jenkins (THE SAVAGES) deserves just as much credit as Charlize. The journey of past to present to tell this story is well crafted. A great script, beautifully directed and one hell of a DETAILED performance by Charlize Theron. She is truly possessed. Engulfed in the horrors of an abused childhood to a living killer. This is what happens when you don’t love your child. The bottom line of the story is love. The movie and performance was devastating and the actors and filmmakers felt like they had a mission far beyond the red carpets. Charlize made me a true believer.

Charlize Theron gives an extraordinarily powerful performance as the serial killer. And it was amazing how she was able to literally transform herself into the woman, Aileen Wuornos, mannerisms and all. This ‘transformation’ is not just make-up. It’s more than that – it’s a performance that is speaking directly at you. Yes, she speaks like Wuornos, walks like her, with a masculine swagger, flips her hair back, holds her mouth, captures her intensity, and her black eyes had always show a glint of madness as well as a yearning for love and a new beginning. More than an impersonation – it travels into the darkness and finds something we all have in common. The need to be heard, healed, and loved.

I remember Charlize talking about finding a real pair of Aileen’s ‘Capri Jeans’ from the time period of the killings - and that’s how she knew how big she needed to be and how she needed to stand and walk. How the knees buckled back a bit, it was all in the jeans. Charlize excavates Wournos physical and as well has her damaged psyche.  

My favorite scene that shows her strength and complex depth is when she is determined to give up prostitution and get a respectable job. Her attempts to rebound herself after feeling love for the first time, Wuornos, pumped full of unrealistic expectations but lacking a marketable skill, endures a series of humiliating job interviews that are made all the worse by her own grating refusal to accept rejection. When she tells off the final employer – you feel all the pain and abuse from her past, as if her life were riding on that moment. As she lets him ‘have it’ in this scene, she illustrates perfectly the chasm between the smug workaday world and the demimonde of unsocialized outsiders who are clueless about the job market. Here she is both frightening and fascinating as well as inviting your comfort, hope and console. You pray this jerk is going to give her a break, but of course, like the rest of the world – he doesn’t. "Fuck you Leslie!"

This is truly a damaged child beyond redemption and reckoning. Charlize somehow manages to play both killer and victim without judging or leaning in one direction or another. She just puts it all out there - the anger, the ugly perspective and lack of any solid moral standing, the impulsive / immediate needs, the violence, the sharp tongue, and most importantly …the need to be loved.

Watch that last moment of the film where she looks back – right into the camera. Ah-mazing.




Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LAURA DERN as Ruth Stoops in CITIZEN RUTH

Laura Dern

I was probably one of the five people that saw and loved SMOOTH TALK. I watched it a lot as a teenager. I felt like if I had a twin sister – she’d look a lot like Laura Dern. Long limbs, tall, long face. I have to say I was resistant to CITIZEN RUTH when it first came out. It seemed so on the nose, too deliberate or something but it’s not at all... it’s so sublime and covert. It’s incredibly smart. Every time I watch it, I can’t believe how I once misjudged its brilliance  – maybe it was the poster or the way they tried to market it but it’s Alexander Payne / Jim Taylor at their most genius and irreverent. I feel Laura Dern is one of those actors – who probably has to fight like Tyson to get every role. Her look is so unusual, beautiful, as my twin sister would be, but not conventional at all. Laura Dern has the talent and skills to spare and no film shows off her ability and smarts like CITIZEN RUTH. I have to thank my friend Jon for making me keep CITIZEN RUTH in the rotation. I finally get it.

It takes a very smart actor to play someone this dumb.

Laura Dern as Ruth Stoops in Payne’s nasty little black comedy about abortion only cements her status as the go-to girl for playing women who live in the crusty underbellies of society. Here, as the clueless, glue-sniffing mother of four who finds out she is unexpectedly pregnant, Dern must begin as a complete degenerate who by the end of the film remains a degenerate, just one that is more informed than most. Her performance is physical comedy and bravery to the ninth degree. Dern twists her features, her lanky limbs and mugs exaggeratedly for the camera; everything is big. Her gestures, her voice and gruff language, and in a few scenes, her hair, all take on a larger than life quality and rather than becoming a cartoonishly-drawn version of poor white trash, Dern expertly gives Ruth a palpable sense of hopelessness and scared confusion. When all is said and done, she is able to humanize a pure wretch of a character, and even make her funny, but the most impeccable thing about this performance is the way she does it in such an expressively unsympathetic way. We shouldn’t love Ruth Stoops, but we do. That is all thanks to the skill of Dern. As much as I love a lot of actors today: Adams, Naomi Watts, Kidman…etc – No one I could think of could pull off what Laura Dern in this film. The tone of the film is completely in Laura Dern’s hands – and she nails it.

CITIZEN RUTH is the first and probably least widely seen film from the team of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, who went on to make Election, About Schmidt, and Sideways. As played by Laura Dern, who embraces the role with a ferocity that deserves a medal of valor rather than an award, Ruth Stoops ranks among the most deliciously venal protagonists since Billy Wilder’s heyday—indeed, the movie features nobody with whom any sane audience member could possibly identify for a moment. CITIZEN RUTH satirizes both sides of the abortion debate, RUTH STOOPS is a drug addict who’s already had several children removed from her care, Ruth has just been charged with reckless endangerment of her current fetus, and may do felony prison time if she has the child; here, a “Babysaver” volunteer has dragged her to see some medicos with an agenda.

The scene where the “Babysavers” first announce that they’ll give her money to come back to them and she screams with savage glee. It’s the scene where you really put all the pieces together and acknowledge that Ruth truly lives in her own selfish universe…and is never going to change.

Ruth, in this clip’s final seconds, turns and looks directly into the camera lens—the only time she does so in the entire film. I’ve never been able to settle on whether her look says, “Help!” or “Can you believe this shit?”—But, then, that’s precisely the line that CITIZEN RUTH straddles so expertly, in large part because of its willingness to eschew social realism. Ruth Stoops is a fantastic character, but place her at the center of a movie set in the real, recognizable world, and she’d be ghastly, not funny. Dern is able to make her ghastly and know deep down – the audience is laughing their asses off.

Dern is nothing short of brilliant. She manages to play dumb without lowering herself. Ruth is an uneducated waste of a life blob-force. Her Ruth is as crafty as an addict would have to be, and she hasn't an ounce of compassion for anyone but herself, but she is plucky and indomitable, and you can't help but admire her loutish essence. She is the last character on Earth anyone would claim as a heroine, but she bests all her supposedly smarter and more dedicated opponents by being sneakier and more underhanded than any of them. As Payne cunningly plans it, we root for her - bad and stupid as she is. This is a wonderful movie about rough justice.
It’s a genius dark comedy satire. Laura Dern understands the genre Payne is attempting and throws herself into the greedy simplistic mind of a total loser who doesn’t really want to change – she just wants to get by to her next glue fix

DIANA ROSS as Billie Holiday in THE LADY SINGS THE BLUES




DIANA ROSS

Lady Sings the Blues is an old-fashioned Hollywood biopic about a famous doomed singer. Except this film is about the black chanteuse Billie Holliday, and she would be played by the star thrush of the Supremes — Diana Ross. Barry Gordy believed that audiences of all races were ready for a female star in the old-fashioned mold — suffering like Bette Davis on screen, or Judy Garland off — and that the svelte, kittenish Ross could bring a burnished sexiness to the job. He got that right. LADY SINGS THE BLUES, directed by Sidney J. Furie, was a hit, and earned five Oscar nominations, including one for Ross as Best Actress.

This was one of those years like 1982 where two monumental lifetime achievements on film were going up against one another. Liza Minnelli for CABARET and Diana Ross for LADY SINGS THE BLUES. Both incredible performances – both singing. Any other year and Ross would won have been the first black actress to win the Oscar in a leading role.

In her first feature film Diana Ross delivers a tour de force performance as Billie Holiday not only capturing the Holiday persona but also delivering on the Billie Holiday sound. The soundtrack did shoot straight to #1. From a child in pig tails playing hopscotch to her satin-gowned debut at Carnegie Hall Ross delivers a flawless performance worthy of an Oscar or two. The chemistry between Ross and Billy Dee Williams (Lando of the Star wars saga ) smolders on screen, the way they play off each other is touching and tangible. Ross`s reaction upon first seeing Billy Dee Williams is shear brilliance. Richard Pryor as Piano Man adds a spark of humor as only he can. Other notable performances include Isabell Sanford (of the Jeffersons) as the Madam and Scatman Crothers (One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest, The Shining) as Big Ben. The exchange between these two in a brothel is classic, the sense of delivery, the timing, its hard not to think of Ross as a seasoned pro. She holds her own and delivers a touching portrayal, she makes you believe she is Billie Holiday. And then there is the singing. Ross takes on the Holiday catalog with a hunger unsurpassed, her renditions of Good Morning Heartache, God Bless The Child, Strange Fruit and others rival that of Holiday herself. To think that a singer with no acting experience, sans a few television spots from the Motown stable had it in her to tackle the heavy handed material in this movie makes this film even more of a must see. I watched it the other night for the first time in about 15 years and thought – this isn’t acting – this is pure guts and glory.

Diana Ross tackled this role like a hungry rabid dog might attack a huge piece of raw sirloin. She is astonishing both in her performance, singing and her timeless beauty. She show's you Billie Holiday, (as well as herself), from the inside out. She was able to throw any sense of personal vanity out the window, something actors today never fully do. I literally gasped watching her during the heroin withdrawal scenes it is so real, ('girl I feel ya'!), and her ability to mood swing from convincingly sweet, to wild eyed hellion is nothing short of miraculous. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

DIANNE WIEST as Holly in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS






DIANNE WIEST


It’s difficult comparing Allen films, there are so many good ones, but if I were forced at gunpoint I would say HANNAH AND HER SISTERS is his best. Then if they took the safety off, I might even say this is the best film of all time. This is the one he’s been working towards ever since ANNIE HALL and INTERIORS. Brilliantly structured Dickens meets Chekhov ‘three sisters’ we meet these women in ‘chapters’. Smart, rich characters like a classic Chekhov play, as well as being silly, like another one of Allen’s heroes – The Marx Brothers. Opening and ending at a Thanksgiving over a two-year period. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the very complex – very different sisters. The most compelling is Holly – played by the transformative, fabulous  Dianne Wiest.

He met Dianne Wiest a few years earlier before doing THE PURPLE ROSE OF CARIO and gave her a small part as the good whore ‘Emma’ in the local brothel. Dianne Wiest – whore - whodda thunk? It was the beginning of Allen building a troupe of actors that he constantly pulled from. And Dianne was at the top of his list. He said “she walked in and she just lit up the room”, she changed the molecules in the air and he just knew he wanted to work with her. Dianne left the 90 second audition in his cutting room thinking, “Well, I definitely didn’t get that”. A line which he later re-worded and used for Holly in HANNAH. Woody says in 'Allen on Allen' “She is truly a great actress, in comedy and drama. She is one of the greatest actresses we have, stage or screen.” I met Dianne Wiest in the early 90’s and asked her about how she builds a character. After she’s read the script... what then? She was very sweet, “Oh Michael, you know in acting classes where teachers talk about the list of questions and the objective and super objective of a scene?”  Yes... “Well, to be honest sweetheart, I kinda blanked out when teachers went on and on about that stuff. I just kinda nodded my head and pretended I understood. I really wouldn’t know my objective or super-objective in any of my scenes. Even if they were painted on the broadside of a barn, I’m not sure I would agree. I don’t think you can break down a persons’ single objective, do you? I just do it and pray it’s gonna be there.” I was in heaven. To have Dianne Wiest tell me she wasn’t sure what her objectives were – I was dying. I remember leaving the theatre that day after talking to Ms. Wiest thinking – it’s just innate. She reads it and she knows and it’s there for good. It's in her. She doesn’t have to remind herself or go to a technique. She’s not so caught up in her own acting that she forgets all 'the givens' – it’s just there. She’s playing the script and available totally for her partner. Wow.

Her character HOLLY makes the biggest changes. She goes from insecure, desperate, longing, druggie, needy wanna-be actress, wanna-be-caterer, wanna be settled to being very much settled, embraced, acknowledged and pregnant. When I asked my brother, (the person that knows me better than anyone) years ago which character in all the movies we’ve seen, and he’s seen em all, reminds you of me? Which character is most like your brother. I was hoping for someone a little more emotionally stable but within seconds he said – “Easy: Holly in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS”. Great. So, I’m a mess. Thanks. I’ll take it.

I love that Holly is constantly morphing and searching. The only thing getting in her way is her-self. Yeah, that’s me. Dianne Wiest plays restless Holly with an excitement and sweet warmth. Even when she’s making huge mistakes or needing some tiny acknowledgement for making the ‘shrimp puffs’. Her brilliance as a comedian and strength as a serious actress is displayed in the pivotal scene when Woody's character bumps into Holly in a record store. Like great jazz, the scene is pure magic and genius subtle acting from Wiest. The way she bounces off him, gets in her little playful jabs and holds her ground. It’s a combination of everything you want for this film – It’s the new Holly, solid Holly, but she’s also seducing, caring and moving forward and doing it all with such ease. Making it look easy anyway – that scene and her last line in the film is movie magic. I always cringe a little bit when anyone has to kiss Woody Allen, but in this film, I didn’t mind it so much.  
Brilliant Movie – glorious Dianne Wiest.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

GLENN CLOSE as Jenny Fields in THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP

GLENN CLOSE

I first heard about THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, from my Aunt Linda who read a lot. She read it by our pool during the summer of 81 and I remember thinking – what a weird title, what’s this about? Is he a philosopher wandering the earth?  So when I saw ads for the film a year later I was intrigued even though my aunt thought the novel was ‘very bizarre’. I was curious to see Robin Williams. I knew it was a serious turn for him but I knew nothing about the story. The movie is one of my brother, mother and my favorites. It was one of those bonding films for us and a point of reference for years and years after - still is. I never thought of it as being unconventional or bizarre. Everything about it was completely real and characters in it felt like people I knew. The loved poured into the characters, from the entire cast, was so filled with passion it left my brother, mother and myself very moved by the end credits. Addition to the absorbing story it was great to see actors we had never heard of - be so incredible. This movie had a few: John Lithgow, Amanda Plummer, Mary Beth Hurt, and of course, the superlative, Glenn Close.
Like the novel, which I read later, the movie is one of those films that  either works or doesn’t. I think the plausibility, extreme characters and situations in one novel – in one lifetime - set people off. I think if I had only read the novel I might have not connected to Jenny Fields. The film character played by, than newcomer to film, Glenn Close is undeniable. It’s one of those knockout new arrival performances' that come once a decade if we are lucky. She performs miracles with the toughest of roles, Garp's mother, largely unbelievable caricature in the novel, becomes a full-blooded woman here without losing one bit of her firm convictions. 


Glenn Close understands Jenny Fields deeply felt positions and embraces her eccentricities rather than plays them.  It's acting from the inside out. She digs into the psychology of her character with a special stamp of simplicity, love and joyous acceptance. This one my favorite examples of playing age and playing eccentricities. She did her Jenny with very little aging make-up and wigs. A 29 / 30 year old actress today would mock - probably walk with a cane and hold her hip and shake violently. She captures Jenny’s strength and her dignity and her grit with fearless acceptance – never playing merely the externalizations. It’s all deep within, thoughtful nuances; a detailed construction. Her physicality comes from within - no tricks. And Glenn Close answers all the previous circumstances to her Jenny Fields, her moments before, at the same time giving all her scenes a feeling of - spontaneous levity. 

Glenn Close has talked about incorporating bits of Katherine Hepburn – Kate's sense of herself for Jenny. I believe it was on the original casting sheet - 'Looking for east-coast Kate Hepburn type'. Her original audition was really overboard but the casting director and director knew from the first moment in BARNUM - that she was their Jenny Fields. Glenn ended up capturing the essence of Katherine Hepburn's pride and her ability to hold strong against a male dominated surrounding. She talked about the way she held her chin and hit her consonants with an extra little kick. Even though it’s externalized technique talk – Glenn connects them with a breath of humanity that would have skipped most. One of my favorite scenes is with the prostitute, another great theatre actress, Swoozie Kurtz, asking her about her work life, personal life, men who pay for her body. The direct ways she asks her questions and stays utterly engaged and focused on them - that one person and takes in everything that they say. As if collecting evidence like an alien cop. As if the person she's talking to is only the person in the universe. It is a great character trait and perfect fit for Jenny Fields.

Glenn Close has always been a serious actress with a specialty with disorders and twisted passions. She’s not one to go searching for the lighter side or humor in her characters. Here, the humor comes from her utter commitment and that makes it funny in the dark places. She knows exactly what she’s doing. Glenn gives Jenny sarcastic, funny and playful edges - always with an inner smile. The looks she gives Garp – “With whom?” “Dadda’s dead” "... "or are you going to stay up and think your weird thoughts for awhile?" and extremely difficult lines later like “I did a good thing having you son”, so good. So moving, inspired, touching, and light. Lovely – simply lovely. Raw. Actors like poets and other artists, if they keep at it, have the possibility of breakthrough moment / role / inspired ‘lighting in a bottle’ moment w/ proper preparation accompanied by opportunity. Usually happens after a few films – after they’ve worked with a camera a few times. Glenn Close nailed it the first time out. A very rare occurrence. She was a skilled actress with ten years behind her of Broadway, Off Broadway and a dedicated student of acting. She makes all the right choices, not a moment doesn’t work. Glenn Close’s Jenny is luminous, tough, sharp yet ethereal. Not a year in her life doesn’t ring true. Her beliefs are grounded in a deep commitment – from her experiences and her own unique perspective. Everything is perfectly logical, rational and real.  Brilliant. It’s rare that a film can capture the absurdity of life and all it’s fullness (both the tragic and the humor)  – this one did and still does. I always love Glenn Close in everything she does – probably cause she got me off to a good start. I always had hunch that THE BIG CHILL and THE NATURAL nominations were fallout (Academy IOU nominations) from this performance being so stellar.


Jenny Fields is one of those characters that feels like family.