My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 64: Teresa Wright as Carol Beldon in "Mrs. Miniver" (Best Supporting Actress Ranking)

In my first ranking, Teresa Wright made it right up to position 55 but now she dropped down a few spots for her simply and lovely performance as the ill-fated Carol, Mrs. Miniver’s daughter-in-law, who lives in an idealized England, full of lovely and nice people who have nothing more to say than ‘May I?’, ‘How kind’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Oh please!’

Teresa Wright is a very natural actress with a lot of personal charm – and it’s mostly this charm that helps her to turn Carol into a very sweet and memorable character. Carol may start out as a fresh and interesting woman but, before you know it, she has been turned into the little wife who fears for the life of her husband during World War II. In this way, Teresa Wright does not play a true character but rather a symbol – Carol seems to stand for all the new young brides who married her love as soon as possible because every day may be the last. In this context, Teresa Wright, despite being charming and lovely, does not really have that much to do apart from either looking happy or worried and the character of Carol might have been more interesting if a less sugar-coated actress had tried a more realistic approach but at the end of the day, Teresa Wright certainly does succeed in her performance.

With her first appearance, Teresa Wright easily lays the foundation for her storyline: she asks Mrs. Miniver to make the man who works at the station to withdraw his rose from a flower contest because Carol’s grandmother also takes part in this contest and isn’t used to competition. Vin Miniver, the son of the Minivers who is just back from Oxford, reacts angrily and accuses Carol of manipulating the contest because she is a member of a better social class. In the following conversation, Teresa Wright easily makes Vin look like a fool without losing her charm or her lively spirit. In this one scene, Teresa Wright has shown that Carol cares very deeply about her grandmother, that she is a lovely young girl – and that she obviously will fall in love with Vin sooner or later.

Unfortunately, Teresa Wright is also an actress who often tends to overdo her expressions – whenever a moment requires a neutral face from her she decides to smile brightly and whenever she is supposed to be a little sad she looks as if somebody just died.

In some ways, Teresa Wright failed to make Carol a truly interesting character – it’s easy to feel sympathy for her and the love story between her and Vin is done as enchanting as possible but, as I said, there is not much to the role except smiles and tears. But, thankfully, Teresa Wright still holds a tight grip to the part and obviously understood her. This is most clear when she is able to show perfectly just the right moment when Carol truly falls in love with Vin and realizes that he is a much more mature character than she had expected – when sirens announce a German attack, Vin immediately starts to take over the situation and even gives orders to Carol’s grandmother. And suddenly, you can see how Carol sees him with different eyes.

Her biggest moment is undoubtedly her speech to her mother-in-law in which she defends her right to be as happy as possible since there could be a lifetime of tears ahead of her.

Teresa Wright does show a woman full of hopes and fears and the performance is extremely easy to like and enjoy and it’s no surprise that she won an Oscar for it but my admiration has cooled down a bit.


Louis Morgan said...

I liked her here, but I always like here even when her performances honestly aren't that good.

joe burns said...

Interesting! I'm really interested in seeing movies from the 40's, which is why i picked to start with them for my Supporting Actress project, which will be updated this week!