Friday, 11 June 2010

Forgotten Characters 2:12: Finale

I like to have my own weird ideas of continuity, so it makes sense that my final entry in Forgotten Characters* will be a continuation of the original entry. So many months ago I covered a performance that I would have given an Oscar nomination to from an excellent 1999 entry. It is weird how one exceptional could manage to have so many excellent – and forgotten performances. I’ve been having this woman on my mind for some time, so it makes sense…
                         
Gwyneth Palthrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley
 As Marge Sherwood
Gwyneth really impressed with that 1998/1999 one-two punch of Viola DeLesseps and Marge Sherwood. It’s also more than a little ironic that she was once again in direct contention with a certain Ms. Blanchett. Marge plays the girlfriend to Dickie – Jude Law in a performance for the ages. When the duplicitous Tom Ripley wheedled himself into the duo he becomes a contented confidante to both Dickie and Marge and it’s the portion of the performance where Palthrow thrives. With it’s obvious feeling of overt darkness in the latter portion, there’s something oddly enticing about the film’s first half and Gwyneth is a large part of that. It’s easy to think she’s doing too little but it’s just her character of Marge (an excellent one, I might add). She manages to make Marge’s inclination to Tom unromantic and believable and perhaps it’s this reason that her performance in the second half doesn’t hold up quite as excellently.
The only false note I can find in the performance is her hysterical confrontation of Ripley towards the film’s end which is not exactly her fault – it’s also Minghella’s only false note, and I forgive her for it nonetheless because she’s so willing to portray Marge as self-deprecating it ends up working even when it shouldn’t. Like Jose, I hope that Palthrow’s familial duties eventually subside so she can return to the big screen. She’s not given enough credit for her natural cadence and affability which is something that’s decidedly difficult to forge. Of course with Jude and Matt giving performances of their lifetimes it’s not difficult to forget Gwyneth (and her psychological doppelganger) but it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments of your time to recall her brilliance. Like her costar, she would have rounded out my Supporting Actress line-up that year with Jolie, Bonham Carter and either Keener or Diaz. But, oh well, such is life.
                   
*as the post title implies, Forgotten Characters will be in recess for the next few months. Next week I’ll debut a new feature.
  
Did you remember Gwyneth’s subtle performance? Or were you too caught up in the main duo?
            
Forgotten Characters: Season 1
Blanchett in The Talented Mr. Ripley
Richardson in The Hours
Hawke in Training Day
Monroe in All About Eve
Castle in The Lion in Winter
Bean in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings

Payne in Walk the Line
     

Forgotten Characters: Season 2
Mulligan in Pride & Prejudice
Law in The Aviator
Poehler in Mean Girls
Firth in The English Patient
Bates in Revolutionary Road
Farmiga in The Departed
Richardson in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
Noni Rose in Dreamgirls
Beymer, Tamblyn et al in West Side  Story
Ryan in Changeling
Friend in Pride & Prejudice

4 comments:

Heather said...

I'm so infinitely in love with this film to begin with it's difficult to know where to begin. It's where I discovered how incredible Matt Damon actually was as an actor and learned exactly how mind blowing an actor Jude Law was. I loved love loved love loved this film and Cate and Paltrow were ever brilliant as well. Paltrow in particular to me. She played her role with a quiet elegance, and so subtle amongst the shock that was going on, but then again it was such a quiet simple film with such interesting characters. The realism of each of them is gripping.

Now I just want to write about the movie. Blows me away.

Danny King said...

What a great movie, I keep harping about how overlooked it is. The entire ensemble is magnificent. Paltrow really shines in the second half.

Jose said...

I love you for this.
Gwyn was so fantastic in this and nobody talks about her now! All they bring up is Cate, who was also magnificent but still...
What Gwyn does with Marge is reminiscent of what Grace Kelly would've done if this had been directed by Hitchcock.
It's such a nuanced, worked performance, I simply love her in it!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

heather so glad you like this, the movie's so often forgotten among the glut of excellent 1999 pieces.

danny the entire ensemble is excellent indeed, even psh in a bit role shines.

jose i find it weird too. i mean, i love cate to no end but gwyneth is similarly excellent and it's like no one remembers her. (i wish they had a scene together, even though it wouldn't work...)