Wednesday, December 14, 2005

She Loved You Rotten

I was very pleased today to see that one of my favorite movies this year, The Constant Gardener, was nominated for a Golden Globe for best picture. Also, the incandescent Rachel Weisz got a nod for supporting actress. Sadly, Ralph Fiennes, one of my all-time favorite actors, was snubbed. As usual.

The Times has a great piece today on Ralph, talking about why he is perpetually snubbed despite his gifts. As they say: "The essence of his acting is to play off the tension between his characters' restraint and his genuine movie star ability to hold the screen. That subtle balance may be great for a film but it is hardly an awards-winning gambit."

True, true. Ralph completely stole the show in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - and that was not an easy task. I can't think of any other actor in the world who could pull off Voldemort - the mythical personification of evil - without becoming a complete caricature or being weighed down by the makeup. I mean, Peter Jackson had it easy on that count in Lord of the Rings - Sauron never fully materializes and the Dark Riders don't require great acting.

As for The Constant Gardener, besides having a very important message about the pharmaceutical industry and super powers' treatment of impoverished Africa, it is also largely about Quayle's struggle against what he has always been - a person who follows the rules - and his need to be more like his deceased wife, to throw caution to the wind and learn the truth. And it's also about losing the truest of loves, and finding out more about them after they're gone, which is always bittersweet. We watch Quayle struggle with his fear that his wife was disappointed in him, his fears that she was unfaithful. But the film never beats you over the head with this. It's not an easy part to play and in certain scenes, Ralph shows more in one facial expression than most actors will convey in their entire lives.

So, Ralph, sorry you got snubbed, but I will continue to follow you to the movie theater.

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