Monday, March 28, 2011

Confusion: Angie Jo in Girl, Interrupted

I detest Angelina Jolie as a person.  Her charity work is fantastic, yes, but wasn't it Aristotle who said that charity is only charitable when the person goes unrecognized for their charity work?  Hm.  Not Angie Jo!  She's also a home-wrecker, who tore apart a marriage and seems to sleep well. 

I don't hate Angie Jo as an actress.  I think sometimes she's very good: A Mighty Heart, Changeling.  Most times, she's pretty average: Salt, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Tomb Raider, etc.  In Girl, Interrupted I was hoping that I'd get a chance to see an actress at her very best.  Angelina won an Oscar for her work in the film and I felt that against an embarassment of riches like Wino, Brittany Murphy, Whoopi, Jared Leto, Clea DuVall, Elizabeth Moss, Mary Kay Place, and Vanessa Redgrave she must really have done some incredible work.

I was mislead.

Jolie's work in Girl, Interrupted is a master class in loud scene-chewing.  For the part of Lisa it is certainly appropriate, but it seems like such an obvious choice to make her loud and crazy.  If an actress of less visual interest was in the role I highly doubt that it would've been touted to the high heavens the way it has.  The performance seems like a force of gravity, stealing viewer's attentions away from the true performances: Wino and Brittany Murphy. 

Some could argue that this is exactly what Lisa is: scene-chewing.  I wouldn't disagree that it is certainly a large part of the character, but Jolie relys on that facet of her personality to color the entire performance.  When Lisa has a breakdown finally and lets her mind rest it feels disingenuous.  There was no progression to that point.  I think that the reason the performance works and so many people felt it was such a banner performance is the way that Wino and her play off of each other.  It's their chemistry and relationship that keep both of their performances grounded.

To be honest, I think Brittany Murphy is the clear best in show of the film.  Her Daisy is heart-breaking, mysterious, and seems legitimately crazy.  Another reason why I will mourn her death for years to come, as well as the terrible downward turn her career had taken.

And we can take Angie Jo's Oscar and give it to Toni Collette for The Sixth Sense.  THAT is a performance, my friends, and a supporting one at that.  I hate the Academy's penchant for awarding scene-chewing over great performances that actually support.  That is a rant for another time, though.

Just for kicks, here's Angie Jo as Morticia Adams winning her Oscar:


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