Thursday, June 2, 2011

Diane Keaton in Marvin's Room

Diane Keaton received her third Best Actress nomination for playing Bessie, a sick woman who is attempting to end a long feud with her sister in order to get her bone marrow in the movie Marvin's Room. I really think that Diane was fifth as she was the only previous winner, she didn't star in a huge and/or groundbreaking movie like the other nominees. And to tell the truth, this is not the kind of role or more accurately performance that wins the Oscar (or is it?).

Marvin's Room is a very average movie, in my opinion. It's a movie that's typically shown on a certain Hungarian Tv channel on Friday, at noon. It's soappy, quite humorless (or more appropriately said, it has really unfunny humor) and the screenplay is so mediocre. And so are the performances, the direction and everything possibble. However, Rachel Portman's quite (a bit) soappy score fits the movie extremely well and that's the only really positive technical aspect of Marvin's Room.

Diane Keaton is an actress I really love. She has a brilliant, really radiant screen presence that shines through even the weakest material. Yes, I really worship and admire her and yet I can be very-very critical of her and I'm extremely furious that she takes these awful parts nowadays. She's really degrading herself and I'm really-really hoping that the right screenplay will come to her very soon and she brings back something that was lost after Something's Gotta Give.

As I said, she has a very charming and wonderful presence that makes all of her performances sort of special. Even in a very boring movie like Reds, she's able to be fantastic and memorable. For instance, she's one of the main reasons why the remakes of Father of the Bride are simply wonderful. Marvin's Room is (once again) a lame, mediocre movie with excellent actors (yes, this was sort of true about most of the movies of the 90s) and I was really hoping to see Diane elevate the material. Interesting enough, she did but not as much as I really hoped for.

Marvin's Room is the movie for which Meryl Streep was NOT nominated and therefore the comparisions between the two ladies are inevitable. Unfortunately, if I may say so. To tell the truth, Meryl gives a horribly calculated and overacted performance and I really didn't buy her acting. It's one of the worst examples of 90s Meryl acting that I'm not particularly fond of. Sure, she has the moments but those are thanks to her great co-operation of Diane Keaton.

Diane Keaton (as I said) has very average material to work with and in a way her acting is also a bit average but for me she was the shining light in this mess of a movie. The story uses some cheap tricks to get the audience's sympathy but somehow Diane successfully turned away from these easy ways and chose some more complex ways to give this performance. On the one hand, it was quite good and she was better than her movie. On the other hand, I felt that her acting was a musical piece that's a bit out of tune.

Diane Keaton has the "cancer-storyline" so she's the one in this movie to feel sorry for. Indeed, it's quite heart-breaking to see her in some of the scenes. For instance, the one where she's crying that she doesn't dare to sleep because she's afraid of not getting up or the one in Disneyland where she faints. Those moments are quite moving and I think it's only Diane who brings some real humanity to this movie. Those are also obvious in Bessie's scenes with her nephew, their crazy driving at the beach (wow, cancer and crazy driving, I've seen it somewhere else, tell me where (; ) .

All in all, Diane Keaton is quite proper in a mediocre movie and she really stands out. But here comes the question: is this really a great achievement? It's really good and I don't have any bad feelings about her and yet I feel a bit too indifferent about her. Yeah, there are many touching scenes but I was never as amazed by her as some of the commenters of the movie's Youtube version. Still, it's Diane and she gives the best performance of the movie.

I wanted to go for 4 but I'm trying to be less lenient. I might change this to a 4 but not now.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

She was medicore as heck.

mrripley said...

I love streeep i nthis and find it w=one her more natural blue collar performances much better than music of the heart and less over acted than doubt/julie and julia and esp ironweed.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this performance – I think she is reasonably subtle, charismatic, and heartbreaking. But yes, it's in a crappy little soap sud of a film.