Film and Literature

Some of my favorite actresses

June 21, 2016

Here are some random thoughts and cultural expressions of my own. It relies on no direct internet research but does rely very much on memory. Things have been a little quiet for me lately in the sense that I haven’t been able to get out much and go and see the latest movies on offer. So, what’s hot, and what’s not, well, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be of much help here. My memories take me back to some of my favorite actresses over the years that I have been watching movies. And because some of these shows are exceptionally good in my humble opinion, or because I happen to adore the work of the actress, I sometimes watch repeats of them. That’s thanks to the internet streaming services and large libraries of DVD collections at our disposal.

Let me try my best to mention as many of my favorites for you right now; Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchet, Judi Dench, Cher, Meryl Streep and, who else, oh yes, Halle Berry. I’ve probably left a few names off this surreptitious list, but there you go. I’m typing this post as I go and all will be revealed in the short space and time allowed. I might just mention, mind you, that I haven’t included Katherine Hepburn on this list. I do recognize, however, that she is probably the greatest actress of all time since the first reel of film was put on for a bewildered audience over more than a century ago.

It would be disingenuous of me to include Hepburn here. After all I have not yet seen any of her most famous works and know too little about the grand dame of theatre and movies. Australian-born Cate Blanchett won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her own biographical portrayal of the legendary actress in Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator some years back. She also won her second Oscar, this time as leading lady, in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine in which she characterized a day in the life of a hapless woman suffering from bipolar depression.

There are pretentious critics out there who still believe that my favorite Cat Woman, Halle Berry, cannot act to save her life. But did any of you happen to see her in her award-winning performance in Monster’s Ball. Now, anyone who has as much of a keen interest in our cultural diversity as I do should see this film. But I do also enjoy her ability to play the erotic parts, and that’s even without taking any clothes off. It has more to do with her skillful ability to express herself through the use of her facial contortions to give you a clear impression of what her character may be thinking or feeling.

Did any of you see her science-fiction TV series, Extant? The crucial opening scenes would be a good example of what I’ve just said. Nevertheless, Ms. Berry’s acting abilities go well beyond what I’ve briefly outlined here. But, on the contrary, Julia Roberts, as a matter of principle, will never, ever disrobe in front of a camera. Not even an acting double is allowed to do this. But, she has had some wonderful romantic roles during her long career, hasn’t she. I have to say that Nottinghill happens to be my personal favorite, and I can’t recall the number of times I’ve re-watched this show, particularly when those sentimental moods strike gold.

But Moonstruck goes down as my favorite romantic comedy, for both subjective and objective reasons. Subjectively-speaking, I adore Cher. I have been a fan of hers since her Sonny and Cher days. But I’ve also always enjoyed her acting work. Mermaids with the late Bob Hoskins and Winona Ryder was quite sweet. But Cher’s Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck was justifiably solid gold. This film also won a number of other Oscars, most notably for direction and writing. A crucial element of the story was its distraction from the key star-struck lovers to focus on the love lives and reminiscing of supporting characters.

It was altogether quite charming. I have only a moment to mention Dame Judi Dench before closing with a word on my favorite actress, Meryl Streep. Forget about the now deceased boss of James Bond. This lady is one of Her Majesty’s finest screen and theatre actors. Time and space running out, I’d like to recommend that you watch her in Notes from a Scandal with Cate Blanchet. Streep comes closest to matching the great Katherine Hepburn in terms of prowess and achievements. She’s won at least two Best Actress Oscars. The earliest was for Sophie’s Choice and the most recent was for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady.