Monday, December 20, 2010

Geneviève Bujold in Anne Of The Thousand Days

Geneviève Bujold received her only Oscar nomination to date for playing Anne Boleyn in Anne Of The Thousand Days. It's interesting to think about the chances of Bujold that year: she won the Golden Globe previously, but I don't think that she was the front-runner to win as she was neither much of a great star, nor a popular young starlet, who would become a world-famous star. I guess she was fourth or fifth after all, but the Best Actress race of 1969 is one of the most perplexing ones ever.

Actually, so far I said nothing. The movie is quite simply one of the most boring films I have ever seen in my entire life. Sometimes I really had to force myself to go on with it and not finish it. Gee, it is so corny, theatrical, uninteresting and it says nothing new about these characters unfortunately. However, I must say that I enjoyed the first 20 minutes or so, and I thought that it would be just fine. Well, it wasn't in the end. Richard Burton starts well, but he is unbearably overacting later on. He really had a tendency towards overacting, and if I'm really honest to myself, I don't consider him one of the greatest actors.

Geneviève Bujold is an interesting case here, and I can feel right now that this will be one of the hardest reviews to write. It's not a very complex performance, but it's extremely difficult to rate. On the one hand, she has some boring, useless, weak and pale moments, which really left me unimpressed and disappointed. On the other hand, she has some extremely strong scenes, and she's so damn beautiful and seductive that you just cannot take your eyes off her.

When we first see her in the movie, nothing interesting happens there, she's just dancing, though I realized that this wasn't going to be the best performance ever. I just saw the king's reaction, but I never understood the reason for it. She wasn't different of anybody else in that crowd and I never got it, why the king was so attrected to her quite suddenly. I think that this early scenes are probably the weak links in her performance since they don't have any effect on the viewer and I felt that Bujold wasn't trying hard enough to be special.

However, I also felt that sometimes she was trying too hard to make Anne a very complex personality. She wants to make her sexy, mysterious, seductive, manipulative, (silently) aggressive and stubborn. There are a lot of adjectives in this sentence which describe Anne's personality quite well and yet Bujold is not able to show them together. She shows bits and pieces of all of them and I think that she should have concentrated on less of them, because she would have been able to make her complex that way. Instead, she becomes totally one-note and uninteresting (and not only in the beginning unfortunately).

I have to admit, though, that sometimes she was able to impress me with the manipulative side of Anne. She has whatever she wants and nobody could step in her way. Henry thinks that he's much stronger and has power on Anne, but it's Anne in fact who controls her husband, the king of a great nation. Bujold was able to show this part of Anne quite well and gained some strength in these scenes.

Her scenes of childbirth are very good and memorable too: she's unwilling to accept that she had a girl and her son died. Bujold perfectly captured the feelings and emotions of Anne and she impressed me once again. While watching them I thought "this might not turn out to be a mediocre performance after all". I was wrong in a way.

Although the scenes of the trial were supposed to be extremely showy and the look as if it had Oscar written all over them , they are really ruined by the bad directing and writing choices. Bujold does not have much to do, except for standing there, being strong and proud. Anne's stubborn personality is also there, but it's always used in a wrong way. However, after that Bujold delivers her thousand days monologue excellently and it was extremely moving. There was so much bitterness and disappointment and it was extremely touching. And yet Richard Burton was able to totally ruin it after he appeared.

After all, I can say that despite some very strong and memorable scenes, Geneviève Bujold put on an extremely mixed performance, which strong and weak at the same time. She suffers from a bad movie, an overacting lead actor and a boring screenplay. I give her some credit for the excellence of her last monologue, but I could live without watching the rest.
And I'm extremely lenient with this 3.5.

What do you think? It's time to give your final predictions! :)
Maggie's profile comes tomorrow or Wednesday depending on how much strength I will have.


Louis Morgan said...

I will keep my predictions the same, even though I think the winner could be anyone besides Bujold.

Anonymous said...

Kind of surprised, her performance seems to have a big following on the internet.

joe burns said...

I think she's great in this, she would have been a very worthy winner....

But the movie is boring, and I sort of agree on Burton..

dinasztie said...

Joe: I know you liked her, but I was just never impressed by her.