Ann-Margret received her second Oscar nomination for playing Nora Walker, the mother of the title character in Tommy. She had already won a Golden Globe and she was a big star but I don't think that the Academy really warmed up to her performance in Tommy. The younger generation, maybe, but I just can't imagine Irene Dunne or Joan Crawford voting for Ann-Margret in Tommy. I think she was either fourth or fifth, depending on how much they loved Carol Kane in Hester Street. I guess Ann-Margret was more popular and that gave her the edge over Kane.
Tommy is such a starng, unusual movie. I mean its trailer promises that your senses will never be the same. That's not true, however, it's a really dazzling experience. It seems as if the filmmakers were high on drugs while they were making it. Everything is irreal, illogical, chaotic, weird and it's very unbearable in the beginning. Although in time I got used to it, I never really liked it as it's really about nothing and it doesn't even have a meaning even though it's desperate to be very "in" and meaningful. It isn't, it doesn't say anything, there's absolutely no point in it. There's so much "vibration" that The China Syndrome plaes in comparision with it. Gee...
I have never seen a weirder Best Actress performance than the one that Ann-Margret gives as Nora Walker. I am not that much of a fan of Ann-Margret in general. While I have no problems with her, I don't think that she's that great as an actress. Of course, she sings very well and she has lots of charisma but I never felt that she bursts with acting talent. That being said, I was still hoping that this performance of hers will make me change my mind about her. It didn't, unfortunately.
Again, the best best word to describe her work here is weird. In a movie like Tommy, you don't expect any development in the characters but Nora is actually chaning during the movie. However, Ann-Margret has almost nothing to do with that. Everything is so illogical about her. I guess that was the point but I think the characters should make some sense in any movie. I mean, there are at least 10 Noras in the movie and Ann-Margret plays them all. We begin with a silent, kind and beautiful Nora. Ann-Margret doesn't speak at all there and I guess those scenes were handled quite well.
Her singing is excellent but for performer with her routine it's really not a big deal at all. She doesn't put any real emotion into the songs. There were places when I was touched by Nora but those moments were so minimal. In bits and pieces, she was great but somehow I had a very odd and almost disturbing experience and not in a good way. In some of the scenes, Ann-Margret is horrible, plain and simple. I mean that dancing in front of the mirror is just ridiculous and way more exaggerated than it should have been. I guess the director, Ken Russell should have held her back. I was laughing so hard that I almost drowned and couldn't breathe. It was really a failed moment.
And this is not even my biggest problem with her. For most of the time, she's in the background, just standing or sitting next to her son. Although sometimes she hugs her son and such, I never really felt any connection, or special love between the two of them. Sometimes they seemed like lovers not a mother and her son. I guess they wanted to make this a very odd relationship. It is odd and yet it was so obvious for me. Not even Ann-Margret's charisma could save those moments. Everything just failed.
If you ask me, this performance is a total failure and I'm astonished that it was actually in contention for an Oscar nominateion, let alone a win. Ann-Margret has a great presence but she's unable to make anything out of this mess of a movie. There are attempts but all of them failed. A true disappointment. A bad performance, plain and simple. Not mediocre, not weak, BAD.
I'm astonished that I have to give such a low rating.
What do you think?