Monday, July 11, 2011

Naomi Watts in 21 Grams

Naomi Watts received her only Best Actress nomination to date for playing Christina Peck, a woman who loses her husband and two daughters in a hit-and-run accident. Some say that Naomi could have been close to Charlize Theron but I wouldn't say so. In fact, I think even Diane Keaton might have got ahead of Watts in that race. Watts didn't get a Globe nomination (that's almost crucial to a leading Oscar) and in my opinion the movie was a bit too much and indepandant for the Academy. Still, I feel that she was at least third.

21 Grams is an incredibly confusing movie. It takes so much time to really get it and this is not a very positive thing. I mean it wants to be so artsy and yet comes off as quite incoherent and complicated. The director made some very stupid decisions, in my opinion. The cinematography wasn't that impressive to me, either. It's just gave a very miserable feeling to the movie and it wasn't in a good way. Sean Penn is quite boring in his role and his achievement is really uneven and the same goes for Benicio del Toro who even got nominated. Melissa Leo (whom I dislike in real life) is the one who's truly outstanding here.

Many people are crazy about Naomi Watts' performance in Mulholland Drive but I'll be very honest with you. Although I've seen Mulholland Drive and I even loved it, I cannot remember Watts' performance at all. She could be brilliant, I just don't remember that's it. Still, I started to watch 21 Grams as open-mindedly as humanly possible. In fact, I expected to love her as her part seemed to be very much like Halle Berry's in Monster's Ball. True, there's some kind of a similarity between the characters and even the performances and yet Watts didn't work with me, at least.

People are mad about this performance. Some are mad in a positive sense and some are mad at it because I hate it. However, once again I just cannot say that I fall into either of those categories. Actually, I'm really in the middle. Or not? Because I don't feel indifferent about it. That's what I felt about Martha Scott in Our Town or Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love. I have very complicated feelings about it. I feel a little bit of anger and hate but I'm not furious and I'm not scratching my own head crazily like I did with Ann-Margret. Or do I?

It's so incredily hard for me to talk about this performance. I guess all of the other bloggers/writers know what I mean. I just really don't know what to say about this work. The first reason for that is that it's so... little. It might be unfair that I'm comparing her work to Halle Berry's tour-de-force in Monster's Ball but I expected emotional fireworks from this performance. And I felt that Watts did try to create them and yet she failed and it was a bit ugly fail, at least for me.

Watts' performance is mostly criticised for the things that I liked the most about her. Her Oscar clip ("I'm PARALYYYYYYYYYYYZED!") is certainly her strongest scene in the movie. I actually saw bits and pieces of those much-needed fireworks. The other loud and hysterical scenes are all too much, though. And the thing that really bothered me was what the heck she really wanted to say with this work (or I can ask the same question about the movie). What was the point? I guess it wanted to show the effects of death but I've seen much better movies in the subject. It's all a really failed effort, which may not be a total disaster but it's really like a fly on the wall. It bothers you. Although it's able not to do so, it does once you think about it. That would be OK, if the movie or Watts was disturbing but (for me) they weren't. I constantly see all the goals of Watts and yet they never really materialize on the screen. Too bad. I guess something really midnblowing could have come out of this movie. Or not? In fact (as I said), Christina's part is very little. Not in screentime, in content. I would expect some more depth.

Again, I'm very confused. How should I feel? What should I be thinking? For me, Naomi Watts' performance in 21 Grams is a failure. It's not epic fail, it's more of a missed opportunity even though it's extremely hard to say anything about this performance and the movie. All so shady and confusing and again, not in a good way.
What do you think?

8 comments:

Louis Morgan said...

This is an odd performance that slowly dissolves into terrible overacting.

dinasztie said...

Well, yes. :)

mrripley said...

It's the loud scenes that kill the performance,i think she is better in quieter moments like with her father or hearing the news of the deaths,the wailing and bulging veins just seemed uncalled for and the scenes driving in the car looking for del toro leave me cold and take me out of her world,i never once sympathized with her and i think i should have or she should have made me.

Sage Slowdive said...

She brings new meaning to mediocre.

dinasztie said...

It seems none of us likes her that much.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought she was amazing and I didn't feel she overacted at all, she was very believable and strong throughout the whole film. It's at least a 4 for me.

richardM said...

Naomi Watts is called "the perpetual under-rated, over-looked, ignored,slight-able & snub-able actress in Hollywood".

No wonder she is always referred to as "the best friend of NICOLE KIDMAN' or "....and Naomi Watts." and never "Naomi Watts and...". And no wonder though she is the 1st billed in "The Painted Veil", "Mother & Child", "Fair Game"...People still put her after Edward Norton, Annette Bening, Sean Penn...

And whenever she is emotional (as in "21 Grams"..., it's overacting. And whenever she is restrained (as in "Fair Game"..., it's not showy enough, under-written and therefore not Oscar-worthy. And so for this particular actress, it's "damn if it is and damn if it is not".

richardM said...

And for actresses like Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, and for God's sake Meryl Streep..., they don't even have to act, coz when Kidman hiccups, Winslet drops a tear, Blanchett shouts loud, and for God's sake Streep just has to show her face in a movie..., it's phenomenal, so powerful, has Oscar written all over it, an Oscar lock.....etc.