Friday, September 24, 2010

Geraldine Page in Interiors

Geraldine Page received her sixth Best Actress nomination for playing Eve, an interior decorator having mental problems in Woody Allen's bergmanesque drama, Interiors. Well, poor Geraldine Page. In my opinion she had the least chance of winning as she was campaigned in the wrong category. I'm more than sure that had she been nominated supporting she would have won the Oscar (just like she did at the Baftas). I'm not certain though if I would pick her over the great Dame Maggie, but I may give her the win in a tie.

Interiors is a pretty much love-or-hate movie and your attitude and reaction really depends on your own mood. When I first saw it I couldn't stand a minute of it as at the time I was a bit anxious. But now when I was totally relaxed looking forward to the weekend, I really was crazy about it. In fact, it was so good sometimes that I got creeps. It really is a grabbing piece with excellent performances by Maureen Stapleton, Diane Keaton and mostly by Mary Beth Hurt and Geraldine Page. I especially loved Hurt in the last scenes. It's interesting that for the first time I hated the movie mostly because of her.

And Geraldine Page. What can I say about this masterful actress? She was so unique and versatile that whenever I see a movie with her I am really not surprised at all how brilliant she is. For her it wasn't a problem to play a forgotten movie star after a shy spinster, or a suicidal, theatrical interior decorator before a lovely old lady desperate to see her home. She had so many faces and really never could be stuck in a typical character.

You might think that when I said in the beginning that I would give her the Supporting Actress win, I really wanted to suggest that she belongs to the supporting category. But if I really think about it, SHE is the lead. Despite not having much screentime, everything is about her and the effects of her actions on her family. It's tricky that she is even on-screen when is not (if you know what I mean), because her impact in this small (at least in terms of time) role is probably the most significant one.

When we first see Eve, Page makes it very clear that she's a very controlling, ultra-sensitive woman with over-the-top reactions, mood swings, huge screams and breakdowns, but also that she's a very intelligent and gifted person, who's probably way too perfect for her family and even herself. She loves being worshiped and pampered, but she always makes sure that it's the decision of the other person. Actually I can think of her profession (decorator) as a symbol of her role in the family. She always sets the stage for everyone, guides, helps, but also mercilessly controls them.

It's also fatanstic to witness how carefully Page built the relationship between Eve and Joey. In one of the first scenes they are chatting, but all the tension between these two women come to the surface. Eve really corners everyone emotionally and almost kills them with her mood swings. She always refers to the other one and has problems and she causes so much pain.

My favorite scene comes at the beginning during the birthday party. Eve is having a usual conversation with her daughter, when she suddenly (after a brief sentence about her husband) suffers a theatrical and almost laughable breakdown in front of everybody. Right there, Page was really on the edge of being too over-the-top, but she solved this very hard sequence with such dexterity and ease that it's amazing.

Her suicide attempt is really chilling. It shows, how theatrical and over-the-top Eve is, lying down gracefully in a beautiful dress. She's really madness in person.

People mostly praise her (well sort of) last scene in the church, when she has another breakdown as she finds out about the marriage plans of her ex-husband. I cannot really say enough times how well page shows Eve's personality. She screams "It's humiliating" with such passion and I even dare say, pleasure. Actually there and in the birthday party I became quite sure that Eve actually enjoys being in the centre of attention. Not to mention how incredibly haunting she is even when she's silent.

So to sum up, I saw once again fantastic, brilliant and unforgettable acting for the ages and I'm really hoping that more people will discover Page's brilliance. Although I could have arguments that she's supporting, the impact of this performance is so strong that it truly stays with you. Terrific work by a terrific actress, which gets
So, what do you think? I haven't decided about who should be the next, but you will know in time.


Louis Morgan said...

Seems 2nd and 3rd might be tricky to predict but I will stick to my original predictions for the moment.

Her question of supporting is interesting, and brings up the question of whether or not you would give her a higher rating if she was supporting. The most obvious way to test this is the nominee who was nominated in both categories for the same role. Would you give a different rating for Barry Fitzgerald's two nominations in the same role for his performance in Going My Way? I am interested to find everyone's opinion on this matter.

Fritz said...

Great review even if I 'only' gave her 4.

Louis, yes, I would give a performance probably a different ranking in another category because my expectations and demands are simply different.

dinasztie said...

Wow, Louis, that's interesting. Well, I couldn't give Geraldine or Patricia Neal (where this question was also relevant) more, because both got five Meryls. I agree with Fritz that I have different expectations, however I wouldn't rate them differently. I decide the rating by the effect someone has on me. And I would give Fitzgerald a five in both categories as I loved his performance.

Louis Morgan said...

I made a mistake I thought she was a 4.5, so I think your ranking will be then
1. Ingrid Bergman
2. Geraldine Page
3. Jill Clayburgh
4. Ellen Burstyn
5. Jane Fonda

joe burns said...

Your review makes me think I probably missed something, but I personally felt she was underwhelming.

I hated the film: To me, only Hurt and Keaton were the actors doing they're job and both should have received Oscar nominations. Stapleton's nomination is one I don't understand: Anyone could have played that role, and the role was not much at all. But that's just my opinion!

dinasztie said...

Well Joe, I hated the movie for the first time too. But this time I liked it much more. But even then I loved Geraldine. And I agree a bit about Stapleton. I think she was great, but quite overrated and I think Maggie deserved that Oscar hands down.

mrripley said...

hi,oscarnerd where would you put mary beth hurt whom i enjoyed immensly.