Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jane Fonda in The Morning After

Jane Fonda received her seventh Oscar nomination for playing Alex Sternbergen aka Viveca Van Loren, an alcoholic, has-been actress becoming the suspect of a murder in the movie, The Morning After. Jane Fonda's seventh Oscar nomination must have been a real shock. Or I just think so. She hadn't been nominated for any other awards, she hadn't won anything for this performance and the movie itself wasn't a masterpiece. Considering the fact that she was already a two-time Oscar winner and a huge star, I guess the Academy didn't give her many votes. I think this must have been the only time when she wasn't third at the very least. Still, Jane's the greatest that's ever been so I don't think she needed another Oscar. :)

The Morning After is one of the most horrible movies that I've ever seen during my Best Actress reviews. It's right up there with Afterglow and Gloria even though The Morning After might be a tiny bit better and more enjoyable (for one reason, and that's called Jane Fonda but more on that later). Still, the direction is AWFUL (Sidney Lumet???!!!), the soundtrack doesn't fit the movie at all and the whole story is just uneven, illogical and damn stupd. I really like Jeff Bridges and he's one of my all-time favorite actors and yet here he was kind of nothing. There wasn't anything interesting about the character even though Jeff sailed through with his charisma and presence.

How much I love Jane Fonda! Jane Fonda. Jane Fonda. Jane Fonda. Two magic words that mean something so complex and so wonderful for me. I guess I am quite biased about her and I just cannot say anything bad about her. She has the most wonderful screen presence and her acting talent is just enourmous. What I really admire about her is her versatility. She played all these various roles and yet she left her mark everywhere. She's neither overacting nor subtle, she somehow has her own, very emotional acting style and a very buzzy and exciting personality that shines through her parts.

If you watch her performance as Alex Sternbergen out of the context of her horrible movie, it's mindblowingly amazing. Alex is a broken-down, has-been actress who wants nothing but booze. She doesn't have any goals, she's bitter and she's not even angry anymore. She just doesn't give a damn about the whole world as long as she gets her drink. She's careless and reckless but not in a very traditional way. She's an extremely weird person and her intentions and actions cannot be very well interpreted. However, I felt that Jane did a fantastic job, showing the darkest sides of this person. Alex was once a good TV actress (never really famous) and you would expect her to cry over the loss of her career and everything. She's not like that. She looks at her own career and life in a very cynical way. She doesn't think that anything good happened to her or will ever happen. She's just like an animal in the jungle of LA.

Alex's initial shock and surprise over the dead body that lying next to her is really shocking and quite scary. Jane showed this desperate mental state so brilliantly and she created so much tension that it almost blew up the screen. It was astonishing to look at her as if she was a scared animal. The little nervous ticks that Jane added to the character are so breathtaking. As I said, it's a very intense experience. A very similar scene comes when Alex tries to get away and goes to the airport and she's begging for a ticket. She makes up a story about a dying daughter and she puts on a fake performance so brilliantly. I actually believed it at the time.

Jane's chemistry with Jeff Bridges is just excellent, in my opinion. Although before the movie I never thought they would make a great on-screen couple, now I'm convinced about the contrary. They are just great together. There's a very over-the-top drunken scene of Jane when she's shouting with Jeff. That scene is not supposed to work and yet I was so blown away.

I guess my only problem is that this performance is in an awful movie that's really not worthy of it. Even B-Actresses would have been too good for The Morning After, not Jane, the greatest. The horridness of the movie doesn't overshadow her but it ruins her greatness a little bit. It's too bad.

Still, this is a fantastic performance by the amazing Jane Fonda. I know I'm not supposed to like this work that much and I might be biased but I was really blown away by Jane's work as Alex Sternbergen. This character is over-the-top and she's almost like an animal and yet Jane made me care about her and think about her. This is really great workthat's way too good for the movie that it's in. Excellent.
What do you think?


Fritz said...

I was reeeeeally looking forward to this review because I know you love her so much. I haven't seen her yet but as you know, Jane Fonda is one of those acclaimed actresses who doesn't do anything for me so I guess I will not care for her here...

dinasztie said...

I guess you won't. But I loved her.

Sage Slowdive said...

I'm surprised the movie can't increase your judgement. It was god-awful.

Louis Morgan said...

I am more in the middle on Fonda overall than you apparently are. I have not seen this though, and your description certainly makes not want to see it. I would not be surprised by Sidney Lumet directing a bad movie though, being as uneven of a director as he is.

dinasztie said...

It was really awful but it didn't influence me about Jane.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really liked her, I also loved her performance and I completely agree with your ranking, I guess I'm also biased because I love everything she does, your review certainly showed the highlights of her performance, and while I didn't hate the film that much I still think she proved how great an actress she was to succeed when everything around her was less than brilliant. Great review and great job by Jane once again!