Thursday, February 17, 2011

Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point

Anne Bancroft received her fourth Best Actress nomination for playing Emma Jacklin, an aging ballerina in Herbert Ross' movie, The Turning Point. Although Anne Bancroft was the one who received awards and nominations for this role, I think she received less votes than Shirley, simply because Anne was a previous winner and she wasn't an extremely big star. She was the fascinating, respected, 100% actress who gave excellent performances in movies, on stage and TV.

I've already mentioned a lot of things about The Turning Point in my review about Shirley, so I won't say much else here. It's an enjoyable, entertaining and a bit boring and slow. Other than that, I liked it very much now.

Anne Bancroft was such a huge talent that I admire so much. She was truly one of the most gifted actresses on this planet andher death's a huge loss for all of the movie lovers. Anne's roles covered such a huge rane: she could play the almost blind teacher of Helen Keller, the broken down wife in The Pumpkin Eater, the original, sexy and bitter cougar in The Graduate. She had this deep, beautiful voice that had such a huge power. It gives me chills whenever I hear it. And she uses it so well. Could you imagine somebody else saying "Hello Benjamin!" or "Do you want me to seduce you?" Anne's performances are so manipulative but in the best possible way. You always see the character and if she says seduction, you're seduced at once.

Even if you read the synopsis of The Turning Point, you'll instantly see which part is the better one. Naturally it's Emma, the aging ballerina, full of pain and loneliness. She's not a very sad person, there are no huge tears of loneliness there, she actually acts quite casually and kindly with everyone and yet we feel some bitterness in her. Bancroft brilliantly added a touch of this bitterness to this role, which is instantly captivating. Audrey Hepburn admitted wanting this role badly but I really have to try to imagine her in the role. I'm sure that she would have been brilliant as always but that Emma would be so different. Anne totally inhabited this character and made it her own right away.

Emma is a very interesting, multi-layered and Anne did not fail in showing all of her emotions. Emma is someone very old-fashioned, soft and fragile on the outside, but inside she's not afraid of hard word and competition. There's a scene where she talks to that elderly Russian lady in French. Anne is just fantastic there. I got to know so much about her character there and I was utterly fascinated by Anne. I so love these nuances in performances. I'm sure that 90% of the people who saw this movie did not think it was that great but I was crazy about it.

Although she doesn't have much screentime (in fact, this might be one of the shortest nominated leading performances ever), she's still the leading force in this film. Very much like Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, I was always so impressed by her that I did not notice that she did not have that much time to work with. However, the main difference is that the 80% of Anne's performance is in the first half and therefore she disappears for some time and unfortunately that time is enough to ruin her effect a bit. Everything becomes a bit weaker and I was a bit disappointed in the end. If I was observing it as a supporting performance, that wouldn't be a big problem but here it bothers me a bit. She's great anyhow but the whole thing wasn't as powerful as it could have been.

However, Anne easily outacts Shirley (though I don't see the effort in Anne to do so). In their scene at the bar, there's so much force in Anne which Shirley really lacks. And whenever they had a scene together, Anne stole the spotlight. I just couldn't NOT look at Anne as she was so interesting and Shirley wasn't much of interest for me unfortunately. I must tell, though, that although the catfight scene works for Shirley, it somehow doesn't fit Anne's performance. Anne was so gracious and dignified (just like Emma), then she plays Joan Collins. It was a bit disappointing.

All things considered, Anne still gives the best performance of her movie, adding real depth to the character of Emma. Although she doesn't have much screentime and that catfight scene was just not for her, I still appreciated this performance and I was certainly very impressed by the immense talent and presence of Anne Bancroft.
A strong 4. I know that this was a bit fast but I thought it was best to write both reviews when the experience is fresh.

What do you think?


Sage Slowdive said...

I've always thought Shirley was better, but I understand the appeal of Bancroft's performance - she is good in a very short period of time.

dinasztie said...

I know; most people prefer Shirley, but something keeps from liking that performance. It wasn't anything special, I think.

joe burns said...

I agree, though I feel she is supporting. But she easily should have won in Supporting...