tongue-tied lightning

Best Actresses of 2009
March 30, 2010, 1:05 AM
Filed under: film

10. Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank) A fantastic first time performance. It’s impressive that she’s able to hold her own with Fassbender. Fish Tank just missed my list, and it owes much of it’s success to Jarvis’s performance. Hopefully she does more work in the future.

9. Maria Onetto (The Headless Woman) Maria Onetto is the center of this film, and she carries it well. The most common shot in the film is a closeup of her with the background out of focus, her face is where the emotions of the film play out. It’s an evocative face, and the feelings of alienation and confusion she relates are palpable.

8. Mati Diop (35 Shots of Rum) An actress I’d never heard of before, she carries herself quite well portraying Alex Descas’ loving daughter, seemingly conflicted between her love of him and the love of her suitors. It’s a great character and a great performance. In fact, checking IMDB, this is her only film role. To me that makes her engaging performance that much more impressive. Hopefully we see more of her in the future.

7. Gwyneth Paltrow (Two Lovers) Much like Joaquin I was never really a fan of Gwyneth prior to seeing her in Two Lovers. She is cast against type and she plays the blonde shiksa goddess quite well. I will write more about her and Joaquin when the film inevitably turns up in my top ten.

6. Hye-Ja Kim (Mother) I really enjoyed this film, I thought it was a fun Hitchcockian thriller, but it just missed my list. Hye-Ja Kim is great in it. She has a great face, and she is able to relate the serious love she feels for her son without undermining the humor inherent in a vengeful elderly woman. It’s a bit of a balancing act that both she and Bong Joon-ho handle deftly. Her dancing during the opening and closing of the film are two scenes from 2009 that will stick with me for a long time.

5. Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) The third performance from Inglourious Basterds on these lists. Shoshanna is the emotional center of the film and could Tarantino have found anyone more lovable for his audience to sympathize with? I’ve heard complaints that she is mostly just being cute throughout the film, but I don’t think that’s fair. When the role requires her to show emotion or pathos, she is up to the task. The most stunning image in the film is rightfully of her face.

4. Arta Dobroshi (Lorna’s Silence) While I am on record as not being much of a Dardennes fan, I will say they routinely get fantastic performances from their actors. Le Fils is hardly one of my favorite films, but Oliver Gourmet is wonderful in it. Arta Dobroshi has the advantage of giving such a performance in a film I really enjoyed. Emotionally and, at times, physically bear. One of the very best female performacnes of the year.

3. Penlope Cruz (Broken Embraces) She really has what amounts to a supporting role in this film, but there is no doubt she is the star. At the center of the main characters story arc is his relationship with her. I can’t say enough about Penelope, undoubtedly gorgeous, I often feel she is given short change when it comes to her acting. She’s always been fantastic in Pedro’s film, and now with Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Broken Embraces, the tide seems to be shifting, even though the Academy nominated her for the wrong film this year.

2. Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist) I’m not a fan of the film, but there is no doubting this is among the five or so most memorable performances of the year. She gives her all for this role, it’s a shame the film wasn’t quite deserving of her talents. Cause her performance is seriously stunning. I just felt the film fell apart in the third act.

1. Tilda Swinton (Julia) This is not only my favorite performance of the year, by far, it would rank quite highly among my favorite performances of the decade. The film nearly made my list based almost solely on her performance. It’s a rather generic thriller plot, but it seems to exist just to give her a series of dramatic situations to dominate. And dominate them she does. We all knew Tilda was great, but who knew she had this in her? It’s something that needs to be seen by anyone who appreciates the craft. I haven’t talked to anyone who has seen it who wasn’t blown away by her.


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