Friday, June 24, 2011

Carol Kane in Hester Street

Carol Kane received her only Oscar nomination for playing Gitl, a young Jewish woman who comes to America after her hsuband in hester Street. It's pretty much a miracle that Kane was nominated for the Oscar. She was extremely young, she played in an incredibly small movie, most of her performance was in Yiddish and she wasn't nominated for anything else. I think she was either fourth or fifth in the voting, despite the fact that she's way better than the horrible Ann-Margret. I think in Carol Kane's case it was true that "It's an honor just to be nominated."

Hester Street is quite a good movie and I enjoyed it quite a bit. One can consider it as a kind of sequel to Fiddler on the Roof. They have nothing to do with each other but Hester Stret shows a great portrait of how Tevye and his family must have felt after they left for America. Although Hester Street is a seemingly low-budget movie, it's really a well-made, well-written movie and the direction is also quite great. The characters were realistic and the performances were quite good, especially the one by Doris Roberts who's really excellent.

I really don't know much about Carol Kane. I've only seen four of her movies (counting Hester Street) and while I think she was good in all of them, I don't think that she's the best actress ever. I guess I shouldn't make judgements so soon but I don't feel that she truly rocks. Still, I can still enjoy her in her roles and that was most certainly the case with Hester Street, in which she played Gitl, a woman who doesn't know what to do to both please her husband and keep to the traditions. Although Gitl is a very simple person, I think she's a very interesting character, mostly because of the changes that she goes through.

Kane plays Gitl in a very subtle way and she shows that Gitl is a very shy and repressed woman who's willing to obey. She's a bit of like O-Lan from The Good Earth though there's a big difference between them. There's a point for Gitl when she says that she's had enough. And it's most certainly a very significant moment in Kane's performance.

But I wouldn't go that far yet. When we first see Gitl, she's the previously mentioned shy, obedient woman. She's so real as Gitl in those moments. It's almost impossible not to be touched by Gitl's storyline in this movie. His husband, Jake is a really hysterical guy and Gitl's quietness is such a great opposition. You can really feel the tension between them. Gitl represents the old country, Jake's new lover represents the USA, the freedom.

Gitl, however, tries to get used to America and she tries to become an American woman despite her initial opposition to it. It's really sad moment when we see her with her new hair and her husband wants to get it off and she says that it's not a wig, it's her real hair. That's probably the only loud moment in the performance and that's the siginificant moment when Gitl's revolt begins. Kane shows Gitl's development really well and all the actions were understandable and logic.

It's probably Kane's charisma that makes Gitl such an interesting character. Her work here is not amazing or ground-breaking at all but it's really lovely. And thtat has a lot to do with Kane's on-screen presence. Whenever Gitl is there, I felt fine because I knew that it was going to be a nice scene. I know that sound a little bit awkward but it totally true, I think.

All in all, this was a really great performance by Carol Kane that may not reach the stars but it's a really enjoyable piece of work. Kane plays Gitl with very much charisma and she makes Gitl a very interesting and loveable charater. Although she's not amazing, she's still a great relief in a year where one has to watch horrid performances like Ann-Margret in Tommy.

At last, a normal rating.

What do you think? The Final Conclusion comes soon.


Louis Morgan said...

She's good not amazing though.

mrripley said...

Agree about this a nice performance in a nice film,pity there was no room for doris roberts in support.

dinasztie said...

mrripley: Exactly. Roberts should have been nominated instead of Brenda Vaccaro.