Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Standout Performances: January

Welcome to a new semi-regular feature here at Movies with Abe. A lot of great performances from the first half of the year are forgotten by the time Oscar movies roll out and awards season comes around. This feature is designed to pay tribute to those actors and actresses who have demonstrated excellence in movies that likely will not be remembered at the end of the year. Maybe praise like this can help. Each edition of Sunday Standout Performances will look at a different month, referencing my reviews of the films mentioned. Since we’re playing catchup now, let’s start by taking a look at January. This one is all about the lead actresses.

Portia Doubleday (Youth in Revolt)

“In the midst of the expected quality of [Michael] Cera’s work, there’s an even more exciting discovery for both Nick and audiences in the form of his muse, played by lovely unknown quantity Portia Doubleday. It’s the romantic chemistry between Doubleday and Cera that drives the story of “Youth in Revolt.” The drooling gaze that takes over Nick’s face after he first sees the impossibly attractive and enticing Sheeni Saunders is especially telling of the lasting infatuation that has overcome the young hero. Their conversations are excessively and hyperbolically mature, and they act as if they’re the only people in the world.”

Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank)

“The most astounding aspect of “Fish Tank” is the debut of its leading actress. Katie Jarvis was only seventeen years when the film was made (she’s now eighteen), and delivers an exceptionally mature performance that resonates well beyond her years. Her casting in the film, which came about as a result of a loud argument with her boyfriend in a train station, proves that Jarvis has an intimate relationship with this character, and she understands and sympathizes with the anger she has inside of her. Mia, the protagonist in “Fish Tank,” is like a cross between Jenny from “An Education” and Precious from “Precious,” but there’s something starkly different about her.”

Émilie Duquenne (The Girl on the Train)

“Few films are fortunate enough to find a starlet whose mere presence serves to electrify and enliven the entire film, where the surrounding story might as well be inconsequential because the lead performance is so captivating. The feat is even more impressive when the film and actress in question are French, a culture where charm might be very present but politeness often is not. Émilie Dequenne, who has been actively appearing in almost two dozen French films over the last decade, is the star whose radiance and beauty, coupled with a disdainful attitude towards productivity, serve to make her an extraordinarily enticing protagonist, Jeanne.”

1 comment:

Greg Boyd said...

I'm dying to see "Fish Tank", but it's in such limited release. That's one I will definitely be catching on DVD.