Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meryl Streep in One True Thing

Meryl Streep received her eleventh nomination for playing Kate, a perfect housewife with a beautiful family. However, things get a little darker when she turns out to suffer from cancer. Soon her carrerist daughter, Ellen (Renée Zellweger) has to take care of her and their distance becomes true love, they become very close and naturally, Ellen finds out that family is very important and it's very difficult to be responsible for a household.

One True Thing is a very dull cancer drama from the 90s. It has absolutly no depth or reality in it, it's full of clichés, "moving moments", Christmas and piano music. It's not able to deal with cancer properly (very-very few movies can) and throughout the movie I constantly thought Terms of Endearment part 2 - The reverse or Marvin's Room - Another family tragedy. It has absolutely no credibility and you should see Cries and Whispers to see a great movie about the effects of cancer both emotionally and phisically. William Hurt gives a so-so performance in the one-note role of the husband. However, Reneé Zellweger gives a very decent performance as the true lead of the movie, Ellen (would have deserved a nom more).

And marvellous Meryl here is simply Meryl. My most reasonable argument against this nomination is that her role is not really the lead of the movie and leans much more towards supporting. She's there between the fights of Zellweger and Hurt, cries, shows dignity, says a monologue and leaves. Her role is just like the one of Diane Keaton in Marvin's Room: it lacks every credibility or depth. With the exception, that you don't get as close to her as you got to Keaton (who was not at the top of her game either).

Despite this, the beginning of her performance is very well-done. She's the very happy housewife preparing for the birthday of her husband, her vitality and lust can be extremeily well felt and these are probably the only scenes where we can say that "yes, this is Meryl Streep". She solved the first scenes of her disease decently, but I don't really know where this performance loses everything. As the disease of Kate becomes more serious, Meryl goes more and more downhill.

But this is not only Meryl's fault. The screenplay is horrible and although it offers tear-jerking monologues and scenes for Meryl, the creation of a true character was not at all successful. Kate is so one-note and clichéd, it's the typical smiling housewife, baking cookies, doing charities and so on. The fact is, that in her scenes with her daughter, there's no conflict seen, even though there should be som real emotion between them (I did not even dare dream about tension) .

Although the Christmas scene is very sentimental with Meryl singing Silent Night, she's able to do it in a very subtle way, so I was satisfied with that scene. However, towards the end, her gigantic breakdowns are so far from what Meryl usually does that I was certainly surprised. She breaks the plates in her anger, which is illogical from this character and does not fit the story in general.

When I read comments about this movie, I saw the most of the people were truly moved by this it and Meryl, yet personally I felt nothing. I was even more neutral than in the case of Emily Watson. I knew and felt that this was a horrible thing, but I just did not feel anything unfortunately. Too bad, as I really hoped for something heartbreakingly sad.

To sum up, I was disappointed once again unfortunately and this was certainly more shocking than in the other cases (as we're talking about Meryl Streep). However, to tell the truth, Meryl gave her weakest performances in the 90s (and received the worst noms too) and this thing lasted until Adaptation, where she found herself again, I guess. Nevertheless, this performance was not as bad as it might seem to be from this review, yet I was just very-very disappointed. Too weak from Meryl.

What do you think? What are your prediction for the final results? :) I need comments. :)

Anyway, Happy Birthday Meryl! :) This review was not a great way to celebrate, but she won my award for 2009, so that's my gift. XD


joe burns said...

Great review! I haven't seen her yet, but I will when I do 98. My guess for your ranking:

1. Blanchettt

2. Montengro

3. Paltrow

4. Watson

5. Streep

dinasztie said...

Thanks and given the very low grades (so far) that ranking will not be very different from the actual. :) Have you seen all of them?

joe burns said...

I've only seen Blanchett and Paltrow, and I would pick Cate from those two. But I should rewatch both of them.