Saturday, October 4, 2008

Star alignment

In some spooky cosmic alignment of stars, so to speak, this weekend's releases feature the two actresses for whom I'll admit being somewhat in the tank - Anne Hathaway and Gillian Anderson. I mean, I would never, ever write that they did well when they did not, but I do take special pleasure in seeing them succeed. The good news is that they are both making me look good.

Hathaway is drawing Oscar talk for Rachel Getting Married. I've yet to see it, as it doesn't arrive in Dallas for a couple of weeks. So I can't say either way. I'll say more when it gets here.

One or two negative critical notes aside, Anderson has drawn praise for a 10 to 15 minute support role in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People , with words such as "divine," "scene-stealer," "a vicious treat," etc. Her work since 2000's The House of Mirth (for which she came close to winning the New York Film Critic Circle's Best Actress award) has been generally hailed as very good to outstanding - this one, the BBC's Bleak House, The Last King of Scotland. Even The X-Files: I Want to Believe is one of the few times so far this year that I've seen an actress own a film, even if a lot of critics and audiences think it might not be much to own. All of which raises that ultimate question about her - how does a world-famous sex symbol with genuine acting talent coming off a bravura turn nearly disappear? How does Eva Mendes keep getting roles while Anderson sits in London collecting X-Files royalties?

I talk about her now, because you never know when you'll have the next opportunity. Her career is a riddle, one that hopefully is now moving toward better things. But the work has always been good.


Alexander Coleman said...

I feel your pain vis-a-vis Gillian Anderson. As I said over at Coleman's Corner, I've been watching all of the mythology episodes of the first four seasons of The X-Files (who knows, maybe I'll summon the bravery to keep going). Every time I look at these episodes again, I think, "Damn, she's just as beautiful as I thought she was." So much for the theory that my twelve-year-old hormones were getting the best of me.

I don't understand how her screen career dwindled, either. Part of it seemed to be her own choice, as she took up more and more plays in London.

K. Bowen said...

I have had the same experience going through season six and seven of The X-Files. She was every bit as gorgeous as I recalled. She also was a very good actress by that stage. I remember walking into The Last King of Scotland and wondering if HOM had been a fluke. It clearly wasn't. she toys with McAvoy in that thing before leaving him wimpering. With a couple big Oscar-y scenes that weren't there, she might have gotten some buzz.

There's a lot of what might have been in her career. What if she had stayed in Hollywood and not moved to London? What if she had starred in Dogma, as Kevin Smith supposedly wanted, if you believe IMDb? What if she didn't have to turn down Clarice in Hannibal b/c of contractual restrictions? That really makes it frustrating.

On the other hand, you would be hard-pressed to find such a consistently critically praised
actor or actress who emerged from 1990s television.

I don't run around wondering what might have been about David Duchovny's career. It's good to see that he is having success on cable. But Anderson is better than that.

Nonetheless, she has this Gellhorn thing going that looks promising. Be hopeful.,,20209670,00.html

Alexander Coleman said...

Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: what might have been.

She would have been a great Clarice. FBI agent for life!

Alexander Coleman said...

Come to think of it, Gillian Anderson was certainly my first crush, seeing her initially when The X-Files commenced when I was eight. She occupies a special place in my heart.

K. Bowen said...