Saturday, July 23, 2011

Michelle Pfeiffer in Love Field

Michelle Pfeiffer received her third Oscar nomination for playing Lurene Hallett, a bored housewife who idolizes Jackie Kennedy in Love Field. Michelle, Michelle. After becoming the victim of one of the biggest Oscar injustices in history with her brilliant performance in The Fabulous Baker Boys, one would expect the Academy to make up for their stupid mistake. I think she might have been second in the end but a third place is more likely. Although this performance is far from her brilliant turn in The Fabulous Baker Boys, I wouldn't be pissed about a make-up award for her.

Love Field is a very small but entertaining movie which is a little bit clichéd and predictable despite the brilliant idea. I think with Lurene's character, this could have been an even more interesting story (the Jackie Kennedy storyline becomes secondary in the end, unfortunately). This way, it's just a very decent flick which is watchable once or twice but you wouldn't want to see it often. Although Denzel Washington was intended to play the lead, Dennis Haysbert was a fine choice, in my opinion. He gives a performance that's really similar to his work in Far from Heaven.

I so love Michelle Pfeiffer. Although I don't consider myself a real fan of hers, I do admire her a lot. She's so damn talented and beautiful and that combination makes her the perfect movie star. I really wish that she got a role really worthy of her talent and greatness (one that could win her the Oscar). Because of that, I would have had big expectations from her performance in Love Field but after the mixed reviews, I decided to just watch her.

This is a pretty divisive work. Some go crazy for it, some not so much and some don't like it at all. First, I'd say that I liked her in this movie but I wasn't really blown away. If you have a knockout performance (like Michelle had with The Fabulous Baker Boys) that could be the worst curse on you. While I was watching Love Field, I always thought "Oh, she's pretty good but she was SO much better in Baker Boys." I so wanted to focus exclusively on this performance but somehow I never totally managed to do so.

First, I cannot really decide if her role was really difficult. Sure, the Texan accent is difficult to pull off (I guess, I never tried it to tell the truth :P) and some are criticsing her for her accent. For me, it was absolutely no problem. In fact, I felt that Michelle meant to exaggerate it in order to make Lurene more annoying. I liked that Michelle was able to make me relate to the character despite the fact that she was quite annoying sometimes. Lurene doesn't have a goal in her life, except for making it to JFK's funeral so that she could comfort Jackie. On the road she meets a black man and her daughter. Eventually, she fails, she's searched for, arrested and so on.

Michelle's chemistry with Dennis Haysbert is quite good (don't expect like the one with Jeff Bridges, Baker Boys again, shut up). I really believed the tension between them and they seemed like an odd but somehow realistic couple. I was surprised by the love scene between them but it worked for me, really.

I liked how Michelle showed that something became really important for Lurene. She handles the big emotional scenes very well and I really felt for her character. She didn't even overdo the quite sentimental ending. In fact, she made it quite touching. Despite the illogical things in the screenplay (I mean his couch potato husband turns out to be an aggressive bastard), Michelle was able to keep the story very realistic.

In the end, I'm a bit clueless about how I felt about this performance. I mean, I really liked it and it was surely very entertaining as I was watching it but it was not something that really blew my socks off. Michelle is very good as Lurene, making her a very likeable person despite the fact that we shouldn't really like her. I appreciate the effort, it just didn't blow me away. But there's something about her that makes me really like her.

The rating was not easy at all. This 4 has a lot to do with my generousity and the fact that I gave a 4 to Judi in Iris and Michelle was better.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those people who is absolutely crazy about her performance. I think she brought so much life, passion, and charisma to this role.

mrripley said...

One of michelle's best and a very deserved nomination,i wis hshe had a few other noms for work in white oleander,cheri,,the age of innocence,scarface and hairspray

dinasztie said...

She absolutely should have been nominated for The Age of Innocence and Scarface. She was good even in the horrid Hairspray.

Anonymous said...

She certainly should've been nominated for Married to the Mob.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Grease 2 :D

Malcolm said...

She deserves a lot more noms that what she has today.

She's effective here. Her start is somewhat shaky, but what goes after that is almost great.

I think her scene as she calls the police about the supposed to be kidnapping in the phone booth is definitely one of the best acted scenes by an actress ever. Definitely fantastic scene!

dinasztie said...

Malcolm: That's a great scene.

Sage: Grease 2? Lol. I haven't seen it but many say it's not so good. :)

Chelsea said...

Hahah Grease 2 is my all time guilty pleasure!
I don't see how you can compare Love Field to the Fab Baker Boys. They're such different movies, storywise and Michelle's character as well.
I loved her performance in this film. She made the character likeable and charismatic. I thought her accent was really good. And I've actually seen it more then 5 times already. But then again, I am a real fan of hers :)

wildenant said...

someone should have mentioned Frankie and Johnny. She is superb in that And Grease 2 certainly qualifies as a guilty pleasure. She is a goddess just descended to earth in that one!

K Doherty said...

She was absolutely intolerable in this movie- Her Accent was atrocious , this is a TV Movie from Lifetime. The story, the direction , very sub-par, that she actually nabbed a Nomination for Best Actress is a Headscratcher.