Monday, August 29, 2011

Sissy Spacek in Carrie

Sissy Spacek received her first Best Actress nomination for playing the title role of Carrie, a young abused girl who possesses very strange and terrifying powers. Although this is a classic performance, I don't think that Sissy's nomination was that easy. She wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe, she was too young and not big enough for an Oscar win. However, talent does get recognised every once in a while even at the Oscars and thank God they nominated Sissy. Without this, there would be no Coal Miner's Daughter, Missing, In the Bedroom and so on. It's great that she finally got the recognition that not many others deserve more. I feel the Academy must have been fond of this work and she was probably third that year after Liv Ullmann.

Carrie is a good, quite creepy horror. I've seen scarier movies but it's quite good anyway. Brian de Palma's direction is quite great and the technical part of the movie is also excellent. Some of the performances are quite weak (Carrie's schoolmates for example) but there are two standout achievements here. One of them is Piper Laurie as Carrie's religious fanatic mother. Her performance is really frightening but I'm not sure if I would give her the Oscar win (I still can't decide with this field).

As I have said many times, Sissy Spacek is a damn brilliant actress who (as I've seen more of her) has a steady place in my Top 10. She is a real chameleon and could play anything, in my humble opinion. I'm really hoping that she will get a fantastic leading role in which she can shine as much as she deserves to (Why the hell are they giving Meryl August: Osage Country? Sissy would be way better!!!). Although she showed her undeniable talent alongside Martin Sheen in Badlands, it was Carrie that brought her the recognition. At the age of 27 (very much like in Badlands) she played a younger character and yet she just seems to be the perfect choice for both role.

When Mo'Nique was talking about her big confrontation scene in Precious, she mentioned feeling unloveable and being at dark places which helped her create that intense scene. With Sissy Spacek, Carrie is a very long such sequence. In each and every frame of Carrie, we can feel Carrie's desperation and insecurity. We get to see things that we ourselves lived, too but hopefully to a lesser extent. Everybody feels an outsider sometimes and that's what Sissy showed us in her Carrie performance: how traumatizing it is not to be able to fit in.

Carrie opens with a scene where the girls are playing volleyball and Carrie is just standing there, being clumsy and not being able play well (or play at all). The sheer frustration and shame on her face when she's being shouted at is just unforgettable and brilliantly played by Sissy Spacek.

However, Carrie's life gets even worse and worse. During the opening titles, we see her having a shower. Everything seems to be perfect and pleasant and yet, gradually, things become much more sinister. We get to see Carrie bleeding and being terrified and hyterical about it. Moreover, even her stupid classmates keep bullying her. You just want to help Carrie and make her feel better.

Sissy's scenes with Piper Laurie are simply amazing, especially the one with the famous line "Eve was weak". Carrie only wants to be just like everyone else and her mother is the ultimate obstacle. Even if her schoolmates accepted her, her mother wouldn't let her live such a "sinful" life. The scene where Carrie is invited to the prom after all is brilliantly acted by Sissy: you can see so much happiness and yet she's so scared. And the way she fights her mother is just so great.

Although for me these are the best scenes, Sissy solves the horror part excellently, too. She can be incredibly frightening, especially when we get to see what power she has. First, it's nothing really serious but it becomes something much more shocking that brings us to the famous ending where Sissy is just unbelievable. Somehow I felt incredibly sorry for Carrie while she was killing those people. Her devastation which turns into anger is so incredibly rel that one can almost touch it. Again we get back to bullying: Sissy also underlines the horrible sufferinf and torture of Carrie but she's never too much in your face. She makes you put the pieces together after thinking everything over.

I can confidently say that Sissy Spacek's performance as Carrie White is worthy of its iconic status. Not only is it creepy horror acting but something much more frightening. We get to experience so much frustration and fear and Sissy displays these emotions perfectly. Chilling, wonderful, beautiful performance.
What do you think?


hey deanie said...

A masterful performance. Deservedly iconic.

dinasztie said...

Yes. It's gonna be a close one between her and Liv.

mrripley said...

One of her best ever.

What did you think of Betty Buckley - i always feel her contribution is overlooked in this film,does she care or is she patronising/lying to carrie,i never can tell,that for me is what makes her my 2nd runner up to laurie in 76 for supp actress.

Anonymous said...

Amazing performance! It's so great that she was able to prove that if you have talent you can go beyond the horror movie cliche and deliver a brilliant performance with a lot of depth.

dinasztie said...

I don't think Buckley was that great.

joe burns said...

I think she's great!

Excellent review, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Much, much better than any Carrie that proceeded from the original. There should be a law against remakes of perfect movies.