Thursday, June 2, 2011

Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves

What do you know about this performance, son?
Only what I need to know, Father. A sinner human being received an Academy Award nomination for playing Bess McNeill, a young girl who had more faith than humanly possible. I think the sinner beings in the Academy fell for Emily Watson. Maybe she just missed winning by a hair. Only You know the answer.

And this Lars Von Trier?
In all, fairness, Father, I didn't like his style. I don't think that his film should have been this long and I really didn't get what he really wanted to say. And can I be really honest? Sometimes I was fascinated and sometimes I was just totally, incredibly bored.

How dare you contradict the consensus?
I really cannot say. It might be probably the fact that I wasn't in the right mood. Or I just didn't like it that much. Plain and simple. However, I think the performances were utterly amazing and I just couldn't take my eyes off them.

You're going on the wrong path, son.
I know, I'm aware of my limits. I'm aware of the fact that I just cannot focus. I know that You want me to mention Emily Watson and I will. I want to. I'm desperate. I must always tell the truth and the truth is that Emily Watson is an actress I don't always warm up to. I do respect the talent You have given her but I don't think that it's always used well. Or is it?

Of course, not. You're so silly. You have to see that nothing of men can be truly fair and just. Of course, she and the directors make mistakes.
Yes, but Lars Von Trier didn't make any mistakes in 1996 with casting Emily Watson as Bess McNeill. It's one of the best decisions ever made in movie business. The fact that Helena Bonham Carter turned down the role can't have been an accident. Emily Watson was destined to play Bess and be introduced to the world by this role. It's just something that had to happen. This was her first role and the purity and the lack of ego in her performance is just brilliant. She's pretty much transcendant and becomes Bess McNeill. There's no reality that she can catch so that this part is easier for her. There were no easy ways of playing Bess. I felt that Watson opened doors that I myself didn't know that they existed.

Why are you pretending to know so much about her when you don't understand the half of it?
Because I can talk and express myself about the things that I DID understand. The innocence of Bess, for instance. The child's curiosity in her eyes when she's making love for the first time. The first times are very significant in this part. There's a first time that she's watching a movie (probably). The smile on her face is just something that I'll remember for the rest of my life. The feelings I saw on her face were just unbelievable.

But the scenes where she's talking to Me...
are even more fantastic. The way she closes her eyes, the way her voice changes, everything is just mindblowing and extremely heartwrenching. The true faith and trust that Bess felt was apparent to movie and I was hoping along with her. But it's a moment of terror, shock and horror when she's abandoned in her sorrow. I wanted to rip my own throat out there. I felt totally shocked and I felt like not being able to move again. So brutal and illogical and yet everything makes perfect sense right now as I'm thinking about her.

What do you think about Bess' sacrifice?
The way Watson showed Bess' true belief that if she does everything for Jan, he's going to be alright is just fantastic. I don't know where that came from but the changes that she's going through are just... In fact, I'm totally speechless. Bess suffers from those sexual experiences and yet she does everything that she has to so that Jan gets better and she can save his life. I'm getting to understand more and more about Bess' motives but I can never really understand them in their whole. It's just impossible. Watson added so many layers to Bess that a person is not able to see all of them. Parts of it, yes, but never the whole thing. I guess that was the right way to do it.

You are silly and you got carried away.
I may have but the sufferings that Bess has to go through are just heartwrenching and unbearable for the viewer. The scene where they are throwing the stones at her and beat her is hauting. As Marge Gunderson said in Fargo "I just don't understand." And I didn't understand how much the evil can be present and how painfully small Bess was there. Helpless and miserable and Watson was just perfect. And the ending... Very distubing and extremely painful and I really never want to see it again. Still, I'll probably watch it again and againg to have the same feelings once again.

Why didn't you like her this much the first time you saw her?
I guess I wasn't really ready for her. I could say that I wasn't in the right mood or something but in fact, I wasn't ready or mature enough for this. That might be the case. Because not recognising Watson's merits here is just impossible. And why shouldn't I? She's just unbelievable and unforgettable and gives a performance that goes beyond what we call acting. So far, on my journey on this blog, I met only two others like hers. Emily Watson wrote her name inside the book of film history with an ink that is harder and more lasting than the paper itself.

And if she is so above everything, why are you still rating her?
Because I'm human and I have my mistakes. I am trying to find my talent but I think I found the talent of Emily Watson and rating is my way of honoring talent. It's very much pathetic but I don't really care. I need it.


Louis Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louis Morgan said...

Wow, I never read a review quite like this, a very interesting review, seems like all that far above stuff, means she probably won't be losing.

Fritz said...

First of all: I am so happy that you changed your mind about her!

Second of all: Wow! Probably the most interesting, original and unique review I ever read! And maybe even my favorite, too! :-)

dinasztie said...

OMG! Thank you! :D

Dazzling Aura said...

what a ground-breaking review! breathtaking...seriously.

Anonymous said...


dinasztie said...

Again, thank you! :D

Anonymous said...

Wow what a highly original and fantastic review. I have never seen one wrote like this. I've heard good things about Breaking The Waves but haven't got round to watching it, I will have to try.

Anonymous said...

Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves.........this is one of the top 5 female performances of all time. In the same league as Falconetti in you know what, Masina in Nights of Cabiria, Jessica Lange in Frances, Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind.