Entries tagged with “Meryl Streep”.

Movies about the late 60s or early 70s become more and more epoch films. They describe a time when dollars were kept in boxes to be used by kids ten or fifteen years later and still have some value, when smoking in restaurants and working places was the norm, when journalist used typewriters and lead was making the printing industry a health hazard, when people used public phones and put coins in them to get a dialing tone, and when parking places were available in Manhattan. And yes, a time when women were an exotic presence in board meeting rooms (unless they were serving coffee) and when printed press mattered. Yet, understanding the past seems essential to make sense of our present, including some of the wars of today that seem to have been fought forever (or at least since half a century ago). These include the need and right for a free press to tell the truth even if this is inconvenient for the government, and the need and right to have women who make key decisions at the higher levels of our society and institutions. These make the story and the essence of ‘s most recent film The Post.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822/mediaviewer/rm198401792

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822/mediaviewer/rm198401792


The Post is actually ‘The Washington Post’ whose story we follow until the very moment that starts the Watergate case, one of the most famous cases in the history of the United States of America and of printed journalism. Before the newspaper became famous it was a respected but rather small and ‘local’ liberal newspaper, run for long time as a family business. They were not the first to write about the Pentagon documents but had their opportunity when the NYT were preempted to continue the publication by a judge order. The risks they took were both economic and personal and the film describes the crucial week when the decisions of the owner of the newspaper () and the editor-in-chief () promoted the Post on the national scene and wrote a page of courage in the history of the American journalism and democracy.


(video source 20th Century Fox)


Of course, the two principal theme resonate today but in a different context. There is no need for a journalist or for a TV reporter for any citizen of the US or of the world in order to make their opinion known or generate news. The problem is not in making the news public, but in filtering between fact and fake. Yet, the right of saying what is right and true even if it comes in conflict with the interests of the rulers is still a critical problem. So is the role of women and the attitude towards their contributions. Women are no longer a rarity at decision levels, but they are still under-represented, and other factors of the relations between the sexes in the centers of influence became a priority lately. I would say that of the two strong political messages of the film, the feminist one was better presented, and no little credit belongs of course to . I was not enthusiastic with the level of the cinematographic execution of the story overall. I expect more from a film directed by Spielberg than plain and clear story telling, but he seems to have decided to let the things run and speak for themselves on the screen. A classical political story about good journalism deserves a classical cinematographic approach Spielberg may have thought. Yet, some of the technical details overwhelmed the story, and a few moments were too ‘classic’ in style to my taste. The three minutes dialog between Kay Graham () and her daughter compete for Spielberg’s worst three minutes of film in his whole career. On the other hand is – again! – stellar in his acting. He IS Ben Bradlee, the journalist professional and the citizen. This is one of the several reasons to see this film, which may end by receiving more honors that it deserves, for various reasons.

I cannot help it. Every film she shines in (because this is what stars do – they shine) ends by being about her. The great actress who is and lives on screen as every character she is incarnating, who makes this character an unforgettable person which you may love or hate, worship, despise or pity, but always remember. Of course, I am speaking about Meryl Streep. What a luck for us, movie viewers, to be her contemporaries!


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4136084/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4136084/


Florence Foster Jenkins was a real person, involved in the social and musical life of the first half of the 20th century in New York. She had a real passion for music, and enough money to pay for this passion, including helping and promoting musicians and musical events. Her only little sin was that she had the ambition to sing and her talent did not match her ambition. She had passion though, and was protected by a loving (and apparently platonic) husband who was hiding from her the bitter truth about her skills. The film is about the balance between passion and talent, and is also about the very special forms real love sometimes takes.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


This combination of biopics and melodrama worked incredibly well for me. This was of course because of the  tremendous talent and amazing performance of , but not only. I also found to be charming and funny in the role of the pianist who is hired to play with the strident diva. is aging well and fits wonderfully in the role of the husband, and all the show is directed with British elegance by . This is a film to enjoy, one of the better ones of the Academy Awards season. Watch it. You may learn that the ways of Art and the ways of Love are sometimes as mysterious as the ways of God.


This may be the rock film of the year. Meryl Streep plays an aging supermarket cashier who spends her evenings playing Stones and U2 music in a club for a faithful audience of a few tens of people, many of them her age if not older. She has a history. She left her family, three kids, a comfortable life as the wife of a corporate executive about 25-30 years ago in order to follow her dream. Playing music. She does play music, but never could make a living out of it. She actually hardly makes ends. Then, the past calls. Her daughter goes through a divorce, tries to commit suicide. She is called on mother duty. She, who left mothership to fulfill a dream that never happened.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3623726/?

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3623726/?


The film worked for me on several levels. Music is part of the life of the characters and there is good music in this film, and some of the best scenes are the ones filmed in the music club. Whoever played music or just loves music will immediately relate to the characters that play on stage and those who sit in the audience, vibrate at the sounds they like and are stoned while tunes that they do not like are played, jump and dance when the right music is played. To a certain extend the film is about the differences between the world of passion and the world of conventions and routine. But then it’s also a film about the relation between following individual happiness and sharing time and life with the family. Ricki in this film follows her dream and leaves everything behind. She could have been the happy rich wife of a corporate executive and live in a luxurious cottage in a privately guarded exclusive area, but chose a different path. This path practically failed, success did not come, she hardly meets ends, and never did a second disk. The highest price however is the broken relation with her children who grew to call another woman ‘mother’ and did not even bother to invite her to their weddings. She has just one thing to balance all these losses – her music. Will this be enough?


(video source Sony Pictures Entertainment)


Need I say again that is phenomenal? It seems nowadays that any role she plays is up to the Academy Awards nominations level, and this one is no exception. She also sings, and she also brings to screen the insecurity, the age and the dilemmas of the character. , Streep’s daughter in life is also her daughter on screen, and her creation is remarkable. It’s not easy to share screen with your own mother, and even less when the mother is Meryl Streep with all her charisma – yet Gummer’s Julie is alive and real, fighting her personal daemons and breaking gradually the wall of mis-communication between the two. does the fine expected role especially when on stage and all the rockers club numbers are credible and emotional. One can see that director (of Philadelphia fame) loves music and is also well exercised in documentary. He made a film which looks a little conventional and melodramatic in it’s family drama part, but comes to life and is at best when it deals with music. Probably the best rock film of the year.


I had seen the play that inspired August: Osage County a few years back on stage at the HaBima theater in Tel Aviv and I confess that I did not remember much of the story. It took me this second viewing with its fine acting to appreciate the text written by Tracy Letts, which smartly puts each one of its characters at its place and gives it a good reason of being what it is. It is hard to believe that John Wells is only at his second long feature film, but then he has a long career as a producer and this tentative of switching to the shouted rather than the shouting side of the industry provides many good reasons for seeing his work.


source www.imdb.com/title/tt1322269/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1322269/


Set in the flat landscape of Oklahoma during the hottest possible season August: Osage County starts as a thriller although we never know what really happened to the patriarch of the family who disappears two minutes in the film to become soon dead. The reason of his death does not matter too much, as we understand quickly that the life of a poet and professor of poetry could not be too happy in this environment and it’s not only the weather but a totally dis-functional family that carries in the 21st century the scars of the economic disasters and crisis that marked America in the first half of the 20th one, and of the incapability of its members to deal with the psychological traumas and avoid making the lives miserable one to each other. It’s a big and unhappy family in the tradition of Leon Tolstoy, and we watch how the masks fall from the faces of the characters one after the other, how the reasons of their behaviors, their fears and personal hells are brought to surface exactly at the moment when the families we know are expected to get together at the loss of a dear one. The families we know are never on screen however, but can we really say that we did not know some of the situations or of the characters in this movie?


(video source MOVIECLIPS Trailers)


I suggest to the Academy to create a new category besides the Best Actress and this would be ‘Best Actress Who Is Not Meryl Streep’. Her performance here is so huge, her immersion in the character is so total that I am afraid that she is even better than Cate Blanchett, my supreme love (as actress) in ‘Blue Jasmine’ which I did not see yet. She is so good that we hardly pay attention to the great acting of Julia Roberts in one of her best roles ever, and of all the other members of the cast. Even if complicated family dramas are not your cup of tea (they are not mine), even if the film making has a dose of theatricality (it is based upon a theater play) this film is worth seeing and may offer the best acting in this film season.



If the goal of The Iron Lady was to get another statuette for Meryl Streep, the mission was accomplished. Streep receives a generous part which takes former British PM Margaret Thatcher from her early days in the Commons to the peak of her career and then to the sunset of her life, ruined by the Alzheimer disease and devastated by the loss of her husband. She does the best of this wonderful opportunity and the Oscar is fully deserved. She is so good that for a while many people who saw this film will have her image in mind when the name Margaret Thatcher is pronounced rather than the one of the real life character.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1007029/


From any other point of view this film is a failure. Director Phyllida Lloyd is at her second feature film and the first non-musical one, and her rich experience in theater and opera was of little help here. There are two principal threads and none of them makes it to the viewer.


the Real Ms. Thatcher - source http://assassinscreed.wikia.com/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher


The first theme is about the fight of an old woman with the Alzheimer disease, the loneliness of the old age and the feeling of loss she is encountering having lost her partner of a life, a partner she most of the time neglected as she was engaging on the most thrilling career a woman could engage in the late 20th century. This could have been a very interesting movie, but in order to make it the director and script writers should have diminished the other theme, and avoid repetitions and trivial situations. They have done none of these, so the treatment of this theme is seldom moving, but seems quite disrespectful on the other hand (after all Ms. Thatcher is still alive, and fighting the disease so detailed described in the film).


(video source trailers)


The political career of the only PM elected three times in a row in the history of England in the 20th century is obviously the second theme. This one is however treated with such a respectful superficiality that it looks not even like a biopics but at some moments as a Conservative propaganda collection of clips and dramatized dialogs, with Streep instructed to declaim all possible slogans in the Little Tory Book, and the background of the events never even scratched beyond its surface.   50 years from now nobody will understand watching this film why the British Prime Minister decided to enter war with Argentina over the Falklands or why protesters were furiously surrounding her car.

The Iron Lady brought Meryl Streep a(nother) well deserved Oscar. It will find its place in the Meryl Streep retrospectives. Mission Accomplished. Nothing more.