Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin

The first reviewed performance of the year is...

Goldie Hawn received her second Oscar nomination for playing Private Judy Benjamin, a woman going through a big change in the comedy, Private Benjamin. It's always so much find to think about how the voting was going. I think that Goldie was third or fourth in the voting. She was a previous winner and she starred in a wacky comedy, but I think her popularity really helped gain some votes. I think that she did not win the Globe only because Coal Miner's Daughter was considered a musical, which is insane, I believe.

Private Benjamin is a fine, entertaining little comedy, which is a bit mixed: the first half of it is simply brilliant and hilarious, I so loved it and I hoped that the whole movie would be like the first 50 minutes. However, after they graduate, the whole thing becomes so weird as if it wasn't the same movie. It's so perplexing and I think it's mainly the screenplay's fault. I believe, though, that nom was richly deserved because of the first part. The acting is just great: Eileen Brennan gives a very memorable and funny supporting performance, which in my opinion was deserving of the win in that very weak field. The others are fine, too, but they don't get that much to do.

I have to confess: no matter what people say about her, I love Goldie Hawn. She's a terrific comedy actress, who is always able to make me laugh and despite the fact that she always plays annoying characters, I have never been annoyed by her because she makes them so adorable. I will go even further and now grab something so that you don't faint: I think she deserved her Oscar for Cactus Flower. She takes these annoying characters adds her charm to them and does miracles with the parts she's given. Too bad that nowadays she's only seen in the tabloid papers. :(

The thing I like about Private Benjamin the most is that she's not a really typical comedy lead. She's not the suffering loser in the army. She's a spoiled Jewish princess, who has only one desire: to live a fancy life in a fancy house with a rich hubby on her side. She's kind of like Rachel Green in friends: after doing basically nothing in life, she just has to face with reality alone without daddy's credit card. It's so hilarious, but also touching when she says that she never understood An Unmarried Woman, because she would have married Alan Bates at once. It's quite a short sequence, but I think it's the best line of the whole movie.

Goldie so perfectly showed how naive Judy is. Judy firmly believes that she can get the fancy life from the army, and she can even feel than that she worked for it alone. She thinks that this whole army thing is just a big fun, where you don't have to do much. She's so utterly hilarious in the scene where she gets her uniform and asks if there's one in a different color. I mean, it's such an awkward moment, but Goldie delivered that line so well.

Also, her scenes with Eileen Brennan are simply brilliant: the two worked together so thrillingly well. One is the perfectly looking, very feminine woman, the other one is bossy and masculine. They are so great together though when Goldie talks to her as if she was a hotel manager and she's complaining about her room. And then we see Goldie cleaning the toilets with her toothbrush and it's just hysterical. I mean the whole thing is so absurdly funny.

Goldie also nailed the scenes of the training. She's so adorably clumsy, she's always falling, she can't run, she's an extremely funny cliché. It's just perfect and the whole thing made her so loveable. And this is probably the greatest achievement of Goldie Hawn in this movie: she made me care about Judy, I loved her, I rooted for her and most importantly, I was constantly amused by her. It was just brilliant.

However, when the movie weakens considerably, Goldie's performance also slows down a bit, though not that much. She was still great and she did not lose her great screen presence, but I felt that I lost my interest in her. She tries to work against this, though, and in these scenes we see real development in Judy's character: she becomes a hard-working, strong, self-conscious woman, who likes her job, loves working and finds real passion. She's so hilarious in the scene where she has presumably great sex and says something like "I guess, this is what I was faking until now". She just said my thoughts and I just loved that.

The ending is thankfully just as strong as the beginning, and Goldie is really at the top there. The comedy is less wacky, but she's just great. We all know how important a good ending is and it was very memorable. I loved her.

So to sum up, Goldie gives a great and extremely hilarious performance in Private Benjamin, which might very well be her best work, though it's nothing for the ages. The most important thing is that I loved her and the character as well, and she entertained me so well. I loved her, that's it.
She's the definition of an extremely strong 4,5, it's almost a 5.
Wow, this piece became lengthier than usual.
What do you think?


Anonymous said...

So far, we agree :)

joe burns said...

I'm guessing she'll come in third or fourth, but it depends on what you think of Ellen, I think.

Can you do her or Mary next?

By the way, what were your predictions for the 81st oscars, just out of interest?

dinasztie said...

Joe: I was planning to review either of them. And that year my predictions were the actual winners.

joe burns said...

I I shouldn't be too surprised that they were all the winners, since that was a predictable year. I'll reveal my predictions/preferences later in my post.