My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Best Actress 1975: Glenda Jackson in "Hedda"

The love affair between Glenda Jackson, movie critics and the Academy is certainly one of the most interesting in Oscar’s history. Glenda Jackson basically appeared out of nowhere and won her first Oscar for her critically acclaimed performance in Ken Russell’s Women in Love. From this moment on, everything she did seemed to be impeccable. Not only was she constantly praised for everything she did, may it be in movies, on TV or on stage, but this level of appreciation seemed to go much higher than this – she was called ‘the intellectual’s Rachel Welch’ and therefore praising Glenda Jackson was not an option because not praising her would have disqualified you as ‘ignorant or simply stupid’. The first thing Art Carney did after Glenda Jackson presented him with his Oscar was to say ‘Thank you, Glenda’ as if singling her out would tell everyone that he, too, is among her loyal subjects. Glenda Jackson’s famous turn as Elizabeth I seems to be the perfect synopsis for her career – during her reign, she was basically unchallenged. Everything she did could not be praised high enough and every performance she gave seemed to top the previous ones. But just as quickly as her reign started, it was already over again. Her appeal and power over critics and Academy voters helped her to receive a second upset Oscar for her unlikely turn in the sex comedy A Touch of Class but her change of image again was welcomed by everyone who saw it. But after this win, things apparently began to change. Academy members apparently respected her enough to vote for her the second time in only four years but voting on a secret ballot and then see this vote actually turn into a win are two different things. Somehow, this second Oscar win was the turning point and the level of appreciation began to sink to a lower level and her reign ended – of course, she would later leave acting behind her and become a member of the British parliament but she did keep acting during the 70s, 80s and the beginning of the 90s without any more true further acclaim. A New York Film critics award was given to her in 1981 for her work in Stevie but the movie had already been in competition for an Oscar nomination in 1978 – without any success. Maybe Maggie Smith’s quote ‘Glenda Jackson never comes and she’s nominated every goddamn year’ in California Suite the same year was too true for Academy members. Glenda Jackson’s open dislike of the Oscars was probably another reason why she never returned as a true contender. And so she became a rather forgotten two-time Oscar winner who was not able to keep herself in the spotlight like other actresses from her era, like Jane Fonda or Ellen Burstyn.
Okay, all this talk may seem pretty meaningless – after all, Glenda Jackson did receive another Oscar nomination after her upset win. But the low level of enthusiasm after her nomination is announced at the 1976 Academy Awards surely speaks for itself and it’s doubtful if Glenda Jackson had been able to score a nomination for the small and largely ignored Hedda if 1975 had offered more female performances Academy members could have responded to. But does this mean that her nomination was undeserved? Let’s find out, shall we?

Like every fictional character, Hedda Gabbler is open to interpretation and different characterizations. Blanche DuBois can be played like a tragic victim of circumstances as Vivien Leigh did in 1951 or with more aggressive sexuality as Jessica Lange later did in a TV-version. Eleanor of Aquitaine from The Lion in Winter can be aggressive and unforgiving or desperate and helpless or maybe even both. And also Hedda Gabbler can either be a cruel and merciless manipulator of circumstances or a weak, helpless and mentally unstable creature who tries to gain some strength by using the little power she has. Considering that this characterization was given by Glenda Jackson it is no surprise that Hedda shows a strong, manipulating, domineering and almost obsessive title character. This is based on the fact that one thing becomes rather obvious while watching various performances by Glenda Jackson – her limitations. Of course, she is one of the most fascinating actresses that ever graced the screen – her strong, sharp voice, her overpowering screen-presence and that irresistible charisma that helps to make her characters so engaging even when they obviously should not be trusted helped her to become a truly unique and memorable character actress. But she used all these aspects of her own character for almost every character she played. Katharine Hepburn is often accused of having played every role in the same way but she always displayed an unforgettable range of emotions, making her characters strong and weak, common or exceptional. Glenda Jackson almost always focused on the strong and no-nonsense sides of the women she played – yes, she covered drama and comedy and excelled in both and she also gave performances that showed a softer, more delicate side in her acting and in her characters (mostly A Touch of Class and especially Sunday, Bloody Sunday) but she very seldom feels to truly disappear in her characters and leaving her own characteristics behind her. That is to say, Glenda Jackson never left her own comfort zone and instead of truly adjusting herself to the women she played used her strong screen presence to adjust the characters to her style of acting – but all the aforementioned qualities of Glenda Jackson helped her to excel in this comfort zone, never truly having to leave it because the sheer fascination and determination that she was able to display was reason enough to cherish her work. And what does all this mean for her work as Hedda Gabbler? Well, Hedda sometimes feels like Glenda Jackson on autopilot – she portrays Hedda with all her usual qualities and characteristics but even Glenda Jackson on autopilot is still a thrilling experience mostly because she, as mentioned before, knows so perfectly well how to adjust her characters to her own acting style.

Hedda Gabbler is an extremely exciting part for any actress and for Glenda Jackson it seems almost tailor-made because Hedda is such a silent force, a woman who feels no mercy or regret, who enjoys the downfall of others and who can wait in the dark of her mind for the right time to come. Right from the start, Glenda Jackson shows a woman who despises the life she leads – when other characters leave the room, Hedda just grunts, making it clear how superior she feels to everyone else and how she is only thinking about ways to improve her own situation. In her characterization, Glenda Jackson turns Hedda into a vessel of her own attributes and that way crafts a woman whom she clearly understands and guides with clarity and complete determination. In this way, Hedda may not appear like a true challenge for Glenda Jackson but she so wonderfully sinks to the lowest levels of human behavior with her, using her domineering presence, her sneering smile and the biting dialogue to form a woman who may have been played more complex and more mysterious by a more daring actress but still stands as an exciting and intriguing creation nonetheless. Despite Hedda’s constant boredom with everything around her, Glenda Jackson was still able to fill her with a marvelous energy, a true inner life, a restless soul who would like to retire but is unable to until life goes the way she wants it to. Hedda is a woman who wants to get as much out of life as possible and when she has to be married to a man she obviously doesn’t love there should at least be some financial compensation – but also this plan soon begins to fail and so she has to take various dark steps to fulfill her own needs and wishes. Glenda Jackson’s Hedda does never seem to act only out of necessity – but also because of pleasure. In this way, she makes her a very intriguing villain as she, like Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched, never gives an answer to why she enjoys the manipulation of the people around her. When Hedda burns a manuscript and that way destroys the life of a man, Glenda Jackson’s eyes turn into windows to her a very dark soul, displaying the madness that Hedda is experiencing and enjoying in these moments, a sadistic pleasure in ‘burning your baby’, as she calls it.

Glenda Jackson also does some wonderful vocal work in this role. Her talent to use her voice almost like acid always come best when her characters are forced by convention to keep a proper façade and they consequently find delight in sarcastic or little, hidden insults – her delivery of a line about a hat looking as if it belongs to the maid when she actually knows it’s the hat of her aunt is just one such example.

Overall, Glenda Jackson’s performance is a great example of an actress using her own talents and abilities to create a character according to these abilities. Only sometimes, Glenda Jackson’s own screen presence also stands in the way of her performance – she enjoys to create Hedda as such a non-caring woman who never makes her dislike for everything and everyone a secret that it is hard to believe that she is able to find any human contact at all. Her husband may call their house ‘our dreamhouse’ but it’s clear very soon that Hedda does not think so and she also makes no secret of the fact that she does not share his fond memories of his slippers. Glenda Jackson shows how Hedda visibly absorbs every bit of information she can get to maybe use it later and sometimes misses a certain charm that a character like this could have needed to be completely believable. She’s fascinating, yes – but in a dangerous way that is too often too obvious.

Thankfully, Glenda Jacksons did not make Hedda too strong – she may be a force to be reckoned with but it is just as believable when she suddenly finds herself cornered and her fates suddenly lies in the hands of somebody else. This also helped her to succeed in the most difficult part of her performance – the ending. Even though her character leaves the movie off-screen, she still has to make the actions believable. And Glenda Jackson has created such a strong and dominant woman that it is completely believable when she decides to take her fate into her own hands again without thinking about it twice. She is determined to keep her freedom even if it means giving up everything. Her delivery of her last line in which she congratulates Judge Brack is particularly memorable simple because she almost spits it out, congratulating, mocking and planning to escape him at the same time. Even in these final moments Glenda Jackson kept Hedda strong and the judge of her own fate.

Overall, Glenda Jackson may never truly stretch herself in this role but she perfectly understood to move herself in her own comfort zone and displayed exactly all the reason why she is such a fascinating screen actress. She may be harmed both by the limits of her movie which is basically a disappointing TV-production and the limits of her acting which never explored the full character of Hedda but focused mainly on her sinister side but the results are still strangely satisfying, mainly because of Glenda Jackson’s own screen presence and impressive talents which allowed her to give an exciting and memorable performance for which she receives


Best Actress 1975: Ann-Margret in "Tommy"

Tommy is…how to end that sentence? There seems to be no adjective that can explain this movie so it may be best to simply say: Tommy is unlike anything else than you have ever seen before. This could certainly sound like a big compliment, like a hymn to creativity and originality but (sorry, Tommy) I don’t mean it like that. I can understand that Tommy may have a lot of fans, some even passionate, but I rarely ever felt so much…anger and annoyance while watching a movie. Tommy feels like such a cheap attempt to create something meaningful, it’s as if the movie makers thought to put as much senseless and chaotic scenes into it as possible and hoped that somewhere along the way someone will think that they actually said something here when in reality they didn’t say anything at all. I can live with empty, meaningless movies, especially when they are musicals, but Tommy appalled me in so many ways that I needed all my self-control to stop me from throwing something at my TV only to free myself from the over-the-top camera movements, the horrible storyline and the never-ending, awful musical numbers (my apologize to all fans of Tommy). I guess I should have expected something like this from director Ken Russell who had already showed his love for extravagant movie-making five years earlier with Women in Love but there was still a lot of style and substance in this one and the actors were at least asked to act instead of posing for one number after another. With Tommy, Ken Russell basically threw everything together that appeared as ‘different’ and ‘unique’ as possible and turned it into an empty, visually appalling concert. Since my first viewing, I have warmed up a bit to the artistic intentions and some of the songs have begun to find their way into my memory but overall, the movie itself remains a red flag for me.

So, what does all this mean for Ann-Margret? Usually, it’s very easy for me to separate a performance from the movie it stars in. I find Sophie’s Choice to be a lifeless and banal production but Meryl Streep still gives one of the greatest performances of the last century. Monster is certainly no masterpiece but Charlize Theron blew me away like hardly any other actress before. And A Star is Born also remains a rather uninteresting experience for me despite Judy Garland’s towering portrayal. But in the case of Tommy, it became very difficult for me to judge Ann-Margret properly simply because the movie does not offer her anything that even comes close to what one would usually expect from an Oscar-nominated performance. It makes perfect sense that Ann-Margret won a Golden Globe for her work – the musical category is simply made for a performance like this but the words ‘Oscar’ and ‘Ann-Margret in Tommy’ don’t truly connect. The problem is that there was nothing that Ann-Margret could have done to give an Oscar-worthy performance – Tommy is a simple sequence of over-the-top musical numbers which swallow everything and everyone in sight and even when an actor is actually carrying such a musical number, the cinematography, editing and horrible execution destroy every good impression somebody could have made. Besides that, the screenplay also does not offer anything that anyone could have worked with – no character, no depth, no growth. And that’s why this nomination is so often referred to as one of the strangest in the Academy’s history – it’s the combination of a movie like Tommy actually convincing a majority of Academy members and the fact that Ann-Margret’s performance is simply so unlike anything else they usually go for. The fact that 1975 is so often considered one of the weakest years ever for this category (even though Louise Fletcher’s and Isabelle Adjani’s performances alone are reasons enough to refute this legend) may somehow explain this nomination but most of all it’s probably the simple fact that Ann-Margret worked her way up the ladder of success with great determination and impressed a lot of people by doing so. That she would be able to turn herself into a two-time nominee must have seemed impossible several years ago but in 1975, enough people were convinced that she earned this title. I realize that I have not really talked about Ann-Margret’s performance yet – does her work itself not justify a nomination? I want to save the answer for my review but I think that her performance itself probably was not the major reason for this nomination simply because I find it impossible to see a lot of Academy members actually making it all the way through Tommy. I do realize that there a lot of people who like this movie, that it was very successful and that the 70s were a decade in which the Academy was certainly changing but still – old Hollywood was still powerful enough and so I think that Ann-Margret’s personality and her Cinderella-like story of success were the major key to her nod for her work as Nora Walker in Tommy.

So, this seems to be the perfect place to actually start talking about Ann-Margret’s performance. Tommy starts just like you would expect a Ken-Russell-movie to begin – with pictures of nature, wild and free, and a couple making love under a waterfall. At some point you would expect Glenda Jackson and a herd of cattle to run by but instead, the tone of Tommy begins to change drastically very soon when Nora Walker and her husband run through fake ruins and Nora retreats herself into a little cage after he is gone to fight in World War II – from this moment on, Tommy becomes a never-ending attack of loud and exaggerated numbers filled with empty symbolism. The major female character in all this is Nora Walker, the mother who sometimes cares and sometimes doesn’t. This may sound like a strange characterization but it somehow fits to describe a character that is written completely differently in every scene and is never allowed to become a true human being. The problem can be summarized in this simple fact: this is not a performance. Tommy does not allow this – instead, Ann-Margret gives a sequence of different impersonations, of single scenes that never connect with each other. Nora Walker seems to consist of 100 different personalities that always change between scenes for no apparent reasons – she is a faithful lover, an adulteress, a worrying mother, a non-caring mother, a bored socialite and much more. Of course, all this sounds like a multidimensional character but she definitely is not – because she never becomes one character. Every scene asks Ann-Margret to give a different interpretation of Nora Walker and she is not able to create something whole out of the many parts (the only thing that does present a consistency are Nora’s looks – Tommy may age from small boy to grown man during the movie but Nora Walker stays as young and fresh as ever). Nora Walker does go through some kind of process during the movie but as mentioned before, it’s only a succession of single scenes that never create one flow but feels constantly interrupted, overthrown or redefined. Tommy is not interested in characters but only in superficiality. But – yes, sometimes the word ‘but’ can also mean something good – the surprising thing is: you simply cannot blame Ann-Margret for all the mistakes in her ‘performance’. Rather it feels like she is constantly misdirected by Ken Russell who seemed to have told her every single day to act this scene like this and this scene like this without ever trying to find Nora Walker in all this mess. It’s obvious that Ann-Margret wanted to do everything that was asked of her and even more. When Russell wanted her to be over-the-top, run her fingers through her hair and scream ‘What about the boy?’ she did that without any hesitation, when he wanted her to run around her room and throw her son through a window, she did that that without any hesitation, when she is supposed to be a non-caring socialite, she did that without any hesitation and when she is supposed to be sad or regretful, she made sure to look like Nora Walker was not only carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders but of the whole universe, too. Yes, Ann-Margret held absolutely nothing back in her role and while everything around her fails under the weight of its own pretentiousness, she appears shockingly honest and even real. In the world of Tommy, she is the one constant, the one aspect you can cling to. Don’t get me wrong – when I say that she is the best thing about Tommy then this does not mean that she is great or even good. Ann-Margret’s performance has so many flaws that you get lost if you want to count them all – but this does not mean that there aren’t also some good things. The thing is, her single scenes always work surprisingly well – in every single scene, she goes as far as humanly possible in her acting without becoming too appalling (something Tommy did not achieve) and she also makes it somehow believable that Nora Walker actually cares for her son (well, whenever a scene allows her to display this characteristic). But as mentioned in the beginning, she does not create a character but simply…moments, actions, completely unconnected to one another. It feels very easy to praise Ann-Margret for everything that is good about her while blaming Ken Russell for everything that doesn’t work – but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a performance is flawed because of a lack of talent (which isn’t the case here) or misdirection (which certainly is the case here) because what remains is simply one thing: a flawed performance.

‘He doesn’t know who Jesus was or what paying is’, Nora Walker says during one of her more affectionate moments when she watches her son Tommy who became blind, deaf and mute after he witnessed the murder of his father – but these lyrics seems so meaningless since there is no reason to believe that Nora Walker does know that, either. Later, she again pushes her son aside whenever it is possible for her only to become a loving mother again minutes later. In one scene Oliver Reed announces that he found a doctor who could help Tommy while Nora is lying in bed, reading and eating chocolate. Ann-Margret uses this opportunity to show ‘bored, rich Nora’ and delivers the line ‘Let’s see him tomorrow’ as if she couldn’t care less – in the next scene at the doctor’s office Ann-Margret turned Nora into ‘caring, loving mother’ again and uses her close-ups for an over-the-top portrayal of grief and sorrow that contrasts with anything that has been done by her so far in this role. Again, it seems more fitting to blame Ken Russell for all these mistakes but at the end, poor Ann-Margret is the one who has to answer for them.

But – here comes the b-word again and it’s good news, Ann! – even with all the problems in this ‘performance’ it just can’t be denied that there is a certain level of – gulp! – fascination that Ann-Margret achieved in this role. Okay, it’s on a very low level but it’s there. No other performer in the cast is able to achieve this like her – not Elton John, not Tina Turner and not even Roger Daltrey in the lead role of Tommy. Despite her limited screen time and secondary importance to the plot – Tommy is Ann-Margret’s movie. It’s often easy to say that an actress receives bonus points for fitting her performance to the style of the movie. But of course, if the movie is such an over-the-top mess like Tommy, is this a good thing? Well, Ann-Margret is over-the-top, her performance very often is a mess but even with all this, there are some…moments that simply stand out and make it impossible to forget her (in the good and bad meaning of the sentence). All the other actors, the directing, the cinematography, the editing, the screenplay – all this can easily be blamed for the overall failure of Tommy but Ann-Margret somehow escapes this. She seems like the only one who really takes this movie seriously and more often than once presents the only true moments of real emotions and feelings. When Nora is rolling herself in beans and chocolates and penetrating herself with a long pillow it again symbolizes everything that is wrong with this movie but Ann-Margret does not truly appear to be touched by this. Instead, she attacks her role with a very serious aggressiveness while obviously also enjoying the sheer silliness of it all – a combination that helped her to achieve a level of integrity and fascination that could have helped her to leave the awfulness of her movie behind her if she had been allowed to create a real character instead of an always-changing empty vessel.

But –unfortunately, this times it’s bad news – all these positive aspects of her performance do not come from her acting. In this department she does too many missteps, from her over-the-top facial work to her inability to prevent herself from being swallowed by the movie around her too often (Ann-Margret is certainly no Glenda Jackson who was able to fight against Ken Russell and his visions) – but rather from her own personality, from her ability to sell her material no matter how meaningless it is and from her talent to appear utmost serious even in the most laughable situations. She moves, dances and sings so wildly as if her life depended on it and she is able to turn Nora into the most interesting aspect of her movie, despite all obstacles. Of course, Ann-Margret also sings well and has the ability to get the most out of her songs, emphasizing the catchy parts of the melodies and filling her voice with the emotions she is supposed to convey at this moment.

So, Ann-Margret most definitely earned her reputation as being one of the strangest ‘performances’ ever nominated for an Oscar – she’s bad, she’s good, she’s memorable, she’s forgettable, she jumps from one scene to another without any creation of a character but still comes out as the most recommendable aspect of Tommy at the end. Hardly any other performance is so confusing and makes it so hard to rate for the sheer awfulness that surrounds it, the sheer over-the-topness that almost destroys is and the sheer dedication that saves it. When all is said and done, the flaws in this performance certainly outnumber the goods (by far) and usually, a performance like this would get an easy 3 from me but for the sheer…spectacle of it and for being strangely captivating even when she is bad, Ann-Margret gets a little upgrade and receives


YOUR Best Actress of 1969

Here are the results of the poll:

1. Maggie Smith - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (48 votes)

2. Jane Fonda - They shoot Horses, don't they? (9 votes)

3. Geneviève Bujold - Anne of the Thousand Days (7 votes)

4. Jean Simmons - The Happy Ending (5 votes)

5. Liza Minnelli - The Sterile Cuckoo (4 votes)

Thanks to everyone for voting!

Best Actress 1975: Isabelle Adjani in "L'Histoire d'Adèle H."

With awards from the New York Film Critics, the National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics, Isabelle Adjani was the kind of critical favorite that seems destined to lose the Oscar in the end because of various circumstances – her movie was too small and too foreign and Louise Fletcher was right there with a strong and dominant performance in the Academy’s favorite motion picture of the year (but it should also be noted that Isabelle Adjani not only lost the Oscar but also the César, so there was quite a lot of diversity in the race that year). 1975 is certainly an interesting year for this category as it is usually considered to be one of the weakest in the Academy’s history and the fact that that a borderline supporting role, a foreign performance, another borderline supporting role in an over-the-top musical and two extremely unseen performances in small movies made the cut this year certainly seems to indicate that Academy members had to look in every direction to find five suitable nominees. But does this automatically mean that it was a weak year? Louise Fletcher as cold-eyed Nurse Ratched certainly added a huge amount of quality to the race that year and another celebrated performance like that of Isabelle Adjani also seems to indicate that that was actually a much stronger year than usually given credit.

It’s easy to see why Isabelle Adjani was such a darling of the award-giving critics that year – hers is a very emotional but also intellectual performance, she carries her movie with ease and self-assurance despite her youth and quite simply had a very showy role which she mastered with stunning dedication. L'Histoire d'Adèle H. tells the story of real-life Adèle Hugo, the daughter of the famous writer Victor Hugo, who suffered from obsessive and unrequited love for a naval officer. Because of this, her story is a constant display of humiliation and self-destruction, a slow process of coming closer and closer to the edge of insanity. Adèle Hugo has caught herself in a trap in which she denies reality while handling this reality with a stunning ease – she understands that her obsessions are not real but she is dominated by them at the same time. All this provided Isabelle Adjani with a carefully constructed character that demanded a performance that both inhabits the passionate and sexual spirit that is lusting after the officer but also an intellectual and thoughtful core which helps Adèle to cope with most situations and always adjust herself to new circumstances – and her performance combined all these tasks with a stunning and almost exhausting realism that is as painful to watch as it is fascinating. Isabelle Adjani possesses an almost magnetic screen-presence and has an undeniable talent for bringing these kinds of characters to life – even at the age of 20 and this way her performance became the complete center of L'Histoire d'Adèle H. and turned a rather ordinary movie into a mesmerizing character study.

Like Louise Fletcher in One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Isabelle Adjani succeeded in the most difficult but also most important aspect of her character – the determination to follow a single idea, to emphasize the limitations of the character and fill these limitations with a fascinating and captivating performance that actually even benefits from the narrow range of the character instead of suffering from it. Louise Fletcher turned Nurse Ratched into a never-ending mystery and never gave an answer to her actions and intentions – and Isabelle Adjani did the same with Adèle Hugo. Of course, both performances come from completely different ends of the acting spectrum – Louise Fletcher underplayed her role to the point of almost being completely emotionless while Isabelle Adjani gave a very emotional and lyrical performance but both actresses understood that their characters are driven by single desires that remain unexplained and both carefully constructed these mysteries as part of their overall performances. The reasons for Adèle’s obsession, for her aggressive love are never explained and thanks to Isabelle Adjani’s performance, there are no reasons for this – her work always speaks for itself and even though she may not fully explain Adèle, she still makes her understandable in her incomprehensible actions and thoughts. She shows that Adèle does not live in her own world – she knows that Albert does not love her, she knows that she is not married to him and that she is following a lost cause but she still proceeds her actions and doings with firm dedication. She follows him under false names, invents one lie after another and does everything to get close to him but once she finally sees him again after a long time she cannot do anything else but put her hand to her mouth, unable to talk, stunned by his presence in front of her. Isabelle Adjani made the wonderful and startling decision to avoid any emotional over-acting in a part that usually screams for it – instead, her work feels very subtle and almost down-to-earth despite its almost dreamlike quality. When she talks to Albert about impossible suggestions, she does it with a performance that remains calm and quiet even when Adèle is loud and emotional. There always seems to appear a greater logic behind Adèle’s intentions that maybe cannot be grasped rationally but helps Isabelle Adjani to add much more depth and dimension to her character than other actresses might have done. When she tells the father of Albert’s fiancée that he is actually married to her, she again talks with this conviction and clarity which shows that Adèle is much more aware of her own doings than others might think. Overall, Isabelle Adjani achieved the admirable task of taking a calculated and intellectual approach to a very emotional and passionate character which helped her to give a performance that seems to escape rational understanding while never distancing itself from it. Isabelle Adjani makes it very clear that Adèle is very much ‘in control’ of her own situation – but only as long as she actually has control. During her scenes with Albert, her acting becomes much more alive and hectic, presenting the desperateness and neediness of Adèle and her inability to connect with Albert the way she would like to. And also in various other moments, she shows how thin the aura of self-assurance around Adèle is – when a man in a bookstore gives her a book from her father or she is told of Albert’s behavior at a party, she also retreats into a more vulnerable and delicate part of her character which cannot handle reality as it is and fights these impressions with anger or tears. Here, Isabelle Adjani again demonstrates how much Adèle is able to understand reality around her, how she is actually able to deal with it but only in her own way and how she always gets lost when she cannot decide the terms of the situation. Her obsession for her love but also her own influence goes so far that she even sends a prostitute to Albert, only to make him happy and control his behavior in a way she can accept.

Isabelle Adjani gives a performance that gives her almost endless opportunities to display a wide range of emotional states which she all handles with beautiful and shocking dedication – the way she reads the letters to her father, with a decisive voice that constantly repels any suggestions, how she remembers the death of her sister, talks to Albert late at night or constantly re-thinks her options is a tour-de-force that overwhelms with its open and clear presentation of such a deep, withdrawn and troubled woman. It’s also a tour-de-force that was handed to Isabelle Adjani on a silver plate – Adèle is the kind of character that must be a dream for any actress since it allows such a variety of emotions but Isabelle Adjani must always be recommended for choosing such a controlled characterization which never went overboard in its display of insanity and obsession. She shows how unstable Adèle is inside but how she found a way to handle this instability until it all becomes too much for her – but even in the end, when Adèle truly begins to lose her mind and becomes a shadow of herself, walking through the streets of a strange city, almost unconscious, not noticing anything around her, she never exaggerates these moments but always stays true to her own interpretation and also the tone of the movie which never tries to gain either sympathy for its main character nor glorify her obsession – both the movie and Isabelle Adjani present Adèle’s journey as a slow downfall which cannot be stopped since Adèle herself seems to see this path right from the beginning, unable to change her fate since her obsession does not allow her anything else.

Despite her youth, Isabelle Adjani gave a brilliant and haunting performance that stands as one of the most memorable and effective displays of human downfall ever presented. She kept herself in perfect control over every aspect of Adèle’s character while giving a performance that always feels like a stream, slowly going along, changing directions and tempo without truly changing its nature. She never tried to hide the limitations of her role but instead presented Adèle’s constant lies, her almost rational way of inventing stories, her growing obsession and loss of stability as a thrilling journey which she presents with a subtle and provoking performance that is much more effective than any over-the-top-acting could have ever been. She beautifully understood the thoughts and ideas of her character and turned her into a fascinating enigma. For this, she gets


Let's celebrate Louis!

Well, the incredible events are really happening fast now, aren't they?

After Sage I now want to applaud Louis who achieved the incredible task of seeing and reviewing all Best Actor nominees on his blog! What an amazing and exciting achievement for which I send all my respect! So, go over to his blog and take a look at the men if you're tired of the women!

All the best Louis and many congratulations!