Monday, March 26, 2007

Mrs. Parker

I've long loved and openly praised Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.

I'm not sure why.

I mean, I've been nothing more than a casual admirer of Dorothy Parker, although every time I watch it, I intend to rectify that.

"Lips that taste of tears, they say, are the best for kissing."

I am, however, a great admirer of director Alan Rudolph. He has a wonderful talent for allowing the camera to watch scenes play out, watching as subtle emotions play out between the actors. This technique works especially well in capturing what's going on beneath the surface of people with so much happening on the surface to cover their true vulnerabilities.

I've used it any number of times to study and simply the way it allows the actors to slowly unfold their characters through mannerism and small moments.

I know the main controversy is regarding Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance and her use of a heavily stylised vocal pattern. It's arguable that the voice may be off, based, as it is, on voice recordings of Parker later in life, after many more years of drinking and smoking. It does capture something real about how Dorothy Parker seems in the popular imagination and she has the amazing skill to give a deep, fully-realized performance with the voice. If you're watching the movie, it quickly disappears as affectation and becomes part of who she is.

It's a thoughtful movie that shows living people and follows them gracefully along their emotional journey through interesting times. I love it.


cinebeats said...

I thought Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle was a terrific film and Jennifer Jason Leigh was great in it, but she's great in anything really.

I thought she did a fantastic job in the role of Dorothy Parker and I found her voice work in the film very believable. I might be a bit biased since Jennifer is one of my favorite modern actresse.

Neil said...

She's also one of my favorites. Just consistently interesting choices and committed performances.

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