Saturday, 27 March 2010

Forgotten Characters 2:5

It's been quite some time since I've done one of these - over a month actually, so here goes.
2009’s Revolutionary Road was one of my favourite films of that year. For me it was a perfect blend of good writing, good acting and good direction featuring two outstanding performances from the two leads. The film was unfairly ignored by a majority of the Award ceremonies. So I’d like to shine a light on
Kathy Bates in Revolutionary
As Mrs. Givings
As Mrs. Givings, Kathy Bates gives what is arguably my favourite supporting performance from her. As a duplicitous realtor her thoughts are enigmatic at best, until the very end. We meet her right at the beginning after April’s travesty of a play. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that it wasn’t a hit. Her first few words to Frank are "I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed it. You have a very talented wife." It seems like just a few kind words, but Mrs. Givings profuse praise is just a tad bit unnerving, only setting the tone for what her character is like. Even when we feel something near sadness for her situation it’s never sympathy. When her son John makes his appearance and she is on the receiving end of his caustic words we never can feel sorry for her. It’s a good acting choice on Kathy’s part playing Mrs. Givings as a sort of Stepford Wife.
My favourite moment from her comes during John’s second visit to the Wheelers. There’s that moment when John hits at the core of the Wheeler’s façade and Frank picks up the chair in anger, the look of terror on Kathy’s face is so controlled and so real at the same time. It’s a good acting moment and I always remember that look on her face. Of course the revelation of her character in the final minutes of the film is proverbial punch in the gut. It severs any chance we had of liking this fickle woman. And it is that moment that we truly realise that she is as inconstant as the wind. As the film ends with her droning voice and her husband attempts to block out her voice, we too are only happy to be rid of her. Never before has Kathy Bates been so disagreeable.
Did Kathy have any effect on you?


Simon said...

I thought she was perfect in this...but it's Kathy Bates, so I never find her entirely disagreeable. Her character was pretty low-key awful, though.

joe burns said...

Very good, but she would have been great with more material!

simoncolumb said...

Yeah, Kathy Bates can never really go wrong - and in this her subtlety often shows how great an actress she can be. Though often type cast.