Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Forgotten Characters

The Talented Mr. Ripley was one of the best films of 1999. Written and directed by Anthony Minghella [of The English Patient fame] it stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Palthrow and Jude Law. Despite seeing this movie until five years after its release I believe that Jude deserved the Oscar for this performance. It’s sad though, that despite being a great film it has shifted out of the consciousness of the average film lover. It’s probably because of the lack of popularity of the film that makes this character appropriate for this series.

Cate Blanchett in The Talented Mr. Ripley As Meredith Logue

We first meet Meredith early in the film as Tom Ripley is at the airport embarking on his quest to find Dickie. She seems like a nice girl, if a tad bit talkative. We like her, but after her few minutes of screen time she fades out of the film and we forget about her. It’s very much later, the film has taken a turn for the more macabre when Tom/Dickie meets her again. She’s not quite the girl we saw at the beginning. She’s still as affable, but seems a little more mature. She’s nothing like Marge. This isn’t a repressed and mysterious American. Meredith lays all her cards on the table an American heiress but without a false bone in her body.
This performance is often regarded as against type for Cate. Of course just won year earlier she had won her first Oscar nomination for the frigid Elizabeth. Despite her little screen time Cate’s Meredith is an essential character. As a member of the audience we may be at a loss to just how Tom is able to carry on his charade. But if Meredith, who despite her joviality is not a simpleton, is duped he must have some sort of innate charm that we may not be seeing.

My favourite part of the film with Cate occurs after Tom/Dickie has confessed that Marge will always be the one he loves. Her promises to meet her the next morning to day goodbye. Whilst waiting Meredith comes across Marge and a friend. As she speaks to them we can understand her feelings of despair. She really did like Tom/Dickie; and as she bids Marge goodbye with a smile we don’t find her fake. We almost wish that she could have her happy ending… almost. We last see Meredith late in the film, after Tim/Dickie has made his escape. He and she share a long kiss and then she’s gone. I don’t think this role is as easy as we tend to think , and in a way Meredith represents the only truly good and happy character in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

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2 comments:

Alex in Movieland said...

This is/was one of my top 30 films even. I saw at the cinema when I was about 13-14 yo, so it made an impact.
Surprisingly enough, I haven't seen it in 8-9 years, and I can't really say why. Was it because I'm afraid that I'll be troubled again by my Jude Law teenage crush? Will it depress me? I wanted to be in that bathtub so much. I was just a kid :)

and yes, I remember Cate being quite good and Gwyneth being excellent.

DEZMOND said...

Jude Law should get an Oscar for any of his roles, just like Cate Blanchett who is without a doubt the most talented actress ever and stands right next to Meryl Streep but will soon outdone her since she is much more diverse in her choice of role and her greatness in portraying all of them :)