Friday, September 10, 2010

Renée Zellweger in Chicago

Renée Zellweger received her second Best Actress nomination for playing Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago. She was even the front-runner to win her first Oscar as she won some important awards like the horrid, sorry Golden Globe and SAG (her face is actually quite amusing in her video). However, she had to wait another year to get the Academy Award for Cold Mountain where she played with the actress, who beat her at the Oscar.

I really dislike Chicago as a movie and I'm constantly amazed (or simply shocked) that this nothing actually BEAT The Pianist (one of the greatest, most harrowing movies ever) in the Best Picture race. Chicago is like a gift which is in beautifully made wrapping, but inside, it's a useless gadget. Well, that sums up Chicago, which is a rather poor copy of Cabaret. I must say that the technical part is truly impressive. I would say it deserved four of its six Oscars. Well we got to the performance: John C. Reilly gives quite a great performance, which is probably only really outstanding achievement about this movie. I love Queen Latifah in general, but here she's not more than entertaining. Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones are rather average in my opinion.

And the same goes for Ms. Zellweger. Actually, her work in this movie is the definition of this previously mentioned gift theory. The role of Roxie is really for the stage and not the screen. I can imagine that on Broadway, an experienced theatre actress could give a brilliant, towering performance and I guess Zellweger wanted to do the same here. Where she failed, at least with me. I know that she's universally praised for Chicago, but here (or in general), Zellweger is quite simply not my thing. I never really got anything from her.

The character of Roxie is a rather slim one: she's a dumb little woman dreaming about having a grand career as a singer and dancer, but actually we never really get to see what she has inside. For the most of the movie, she's just an observer of the musical numbers (some are great, some are not that much) and gets nothing to do apart from playing a dumb blonde and a little bitch. I never really understood what she wanted to show me from Roxie. She made her very one-note and she really did not go into details.

Her juicy lines must be very amusing for some, well, they really did not give me that much fun. I mean, she's always such a common. That might have been the point that Roxie actually did not go through any changes, but it really bothered me. As I said million times: I did not have an insight to this character.

Zellweger's singing is good, even though her voice is not as strong as CZJ's. She solved the musical part quite well. She solved the technical part of her performance decently and I cannot complain about that at all. Well, she's no Liza Minelli in Cabaret, but she has her fine moments. Especially one in the end where she has to face the facts that she's nothing more than a temporary, fake celebrity. Her big number right there really impressed me (probably the only thing I found to be outstanding about this work).

I am not saying that Zellweger gives a bad performance in Chicago, because occasionally she is actually good. But again, damn it I was so dissatosfied. I was soooo hoping that I would like her, but I did not eventually. I really did my best, but I cannot force myself to appreciate her. As I said, this performance is not for me. The worst thing about it is that I cannot really write anything more. Sorry.
I'm the most comfortable with this grade. I really want to give her more, but it would not be honest from me.

So what do you think? I guess I'm just as alone with this as I was with the one about Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc. But sorry, I can't help it.


Louis Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe burns said...

I LOVE this movie, so I'm biased, but I really liked her, I felt that she really knocked it out of the park, and brought her character totally to life, but to each his own!

Can you do Lane next?

Louis Morgan said...

I agree with you that the Pianist should have won but I thought this film was fine, and so was her performance. Also I did not really think it was like Cabaret all that much since I felt it covered far different issues and themes. Your right she is not Liza Minelli in Cabaret but Minelli was truly great in that, plus Sally Bowles was a far more complex character.

Twister said...

Zellweger, to me, is diamond perfect here; absolutley luminous and charismatic.

She owned this movie, and that she carries it and keeps it running when she has Jones' awful performance bogging it down? That's skill. Her acting is precise and rings true - hitting notes (both literally and figurativley) that are hilarious, sad, and zesty.

Fritz said...

I love the movie and Renée! :-)

dinasztie said...

I said I was gonna be alone. :) I'm glad you all liked her.

Joe: I was planning to review Lane, so yes.

Allen said...

Ouch. I too really loved Chicago. It's one of the more refreshing BP wins of the decade imo, because it's a lot of fun and not so serious like every other BP winner. And because it's a musical and you hardly get well made musicals nowadays, nevertheless ones that win BP.

I also loooved Zellweger! Sure she's not giving a masterclass in acting here, but she's entertaining and does a fine job. I watch Chicago all the time and my feelings for her always manages to stay the same.