Saturday, May 12, 2018


I was at a discussion between Stephen Colbert and Ethan Hawke where a student in the audience asked Hawke something about RAGING BULL, and Hawke said it was a great movie and a great performance by DiNiro but he didn't like watching actors hurt themselves.

I was relieved to hear that, because I'd always objected to the acclaim DiNiro got for gaining so much weight (and in such a short period of time that his gut looked unnatural to me). When watching the movie I found myself distracted by the weight gain, thinking about the actor rather than the character.

I bring that up because in TULLY—a movie about the mother of two children pregnant and then giving birth to and caring for a third—Charlize Theron, playing the mother, has a body I kept wondering about, was it really that weight and shape or was it CGI or prosthetics or make up or?...

Theron does her usual amazingly competent acting, but I still couldn't help being distracted by her body, which she kept exposing as part of the plot about a woman overwhelmed by motherhood and its responsibilities and consequences.

Some of her scenes resonated with a kind of realism about being a mother that I haven't seen in any movie before, so kudos to the movie makers for breaking ground in some ways. And the story, by Diablo Cody, and the direction, by Jason Reitman, bring out the best in the cast (Mackenzie Davis is a revelation), so it's almost worth watching just for the acting, and maybe for the clever ending, unless you find it a little too clever.

But I don't applaud Theron for gaining the fifty pounds she is said to have put on for the role, because it seems to me like a very unhealthy acting technique. And because it kept me thinking about whether the weight was "real" and therefore too often focused on her acting rather than the story she was trying to tell.

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