It’s no secret that the person I most want to be when I grow up is Meryl Streep. Her talent, poise, beauty, and philanthropy are something to be admired; (plus, she’s married to a hot sculptor. Aspirational.)
In honour of her almost certain 17th Academy Award nomination for The Iron Lady, I am counting down her 10 best film moments. Trust me, they were pretty hard to narrow down. It was like a blogging Sophie’s Choice (hahahaha, omg I’m hilar).
10) As Lindy Chamberlain in A Cry In The Dark – Interrogation scene
Only Meryl could take the “a dingo took my baby” movie, and make it not in the least bit funny. This Fred Schepisi film, about the real court case of the mother accused of murdering her baby during a family camping trip, is not an easy one to watch. But that is the true testament to Ms. Streep’s success. She is absolutely harrowing in her portrayal, and we feel Lindy’s anguish as an audience through and through.
9) As Linda in The Deer Hunter – God Bless America scene
Not her showiest, tears and snot kind of scene. But what makes Meryl great, aside from her wide collection of black turtlenecks, is her subtlety. This scene from Michael Cimino’s Vietnam war drama The Deer Hunter is graceful, calm, and altogether electric. It is not what’s being said, er sung, it’s what is not.
8) As Ethel Rosenberg in Angels In America – Hospital scene
Perhaps I’m biased because this is the best play ever, but Meryl’s scene with Al Pacino in Angels In America is some of her best character acting work to date. I suggest everyone go out and rent Mike Nichols’s HBO adaptation, and also see WJT’s production when they stage it beginning March 21.
7) As Julia Child in Julie & Julia – Love to eat scene
Perhaps her most loveable role to date, Streep’s impersonation of 60’s cooking superstar Julia Child is simply uncanny. The unfortunate side-effects of such a charming performance, however, is that Amy Adams’s co-starring role as Julie Powell paled insufferably in comparison to the omelette-flipping, good fairy herself.
6) As Clarissa Vaughan in The Hours – Happiness scene
Again, potential bias here as The Hours and Mrs. Dalloway are two of my favourite books. But Meryl’s work as the consummate hostess Clarissa Vaughan is so effortless, affecting, and vibrant. It’s a travesty that she did not receive a Best Supporting Actress nomination for this work.
5) As Francesca Johnson in The Bridges Of Madison County – Car farewell scene
This movie is still difficult for me to watch, as it is a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, soul-crushing love story of epic proportions. Clint Eastwood’s adaptation tells the story of an Italian/Iowan housewife (Streep) who enters into an affair with a National Geographic photographer (Clint Eastwood). Let’s just say it put me off love and Iowa for life. muffled sobs
4) As Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada – Cerulean scene
Fearless as anything, Streep took on someone more terrifying than both Weinstein brothers combined: Anna Wintour. In David Frankel’s adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s book of the same name, Streep plays the editrix for the fictional Runway magazine, a very loose adaptation of Ms. Wintour, Vogue’s Editor-In-Chief. This scene is possibly the most potent bitch work ever committed to film. I loved every second of it.
3) As Sister Aloysius in Doubt – Confrontation scene
To put it inelegantly, Streep kicks complete ass in this film. As Sister Aloysius in John Patrick Shanley’s film adaptation of his own play, she’s like a fire-breathing dragon. Her ferocity, matched with her quick-witted tenderness makes this an absolute powerhouse performance. Still bitter about this 2008 Oscar loss.
2) As Joanna Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer
The most remarkable aspect of Ms. Streep’s performance in Robert Benton’s child custody drama is her ability to humanize a character with so much opportunity for audience hatred. Streep, who had a hand in rewriting much of Joanna’s script, is able to provide a relatable, sensitive, and timid counter-part to Dustin Hoffman’s sometimes overtly-noble Ted Kramer. This scene is Joanna’s retribution, and Streep hits her mark perfectly.
1) As Sophie in Sophie’s Choice – The choice scene
Was there really any other choice? Playing a Polish immigrant in Alan J. Pakula’s adaptation, we see Streep take on every parent’s worst nightmare: having to make the ultimate choice between your children. Although there are many other aspects to this film, (Kevin Kline, the Holocaust, Brooklyn), it is this scene of Streep’s, spoken in perfect Polish, that we see an acting feat of such remarkable proportions, that there is little doubt that Meryl Streep is one of the best acting talents ever to come along.
What are your favourite Meryl Streep movies? Share your thoughts with a comment, why donchya?