I love Maggie Gyllenhaal and I’m not entirely sure why. I think she’s incredibly natural, I think she’s a little off beat and not quite cut from the same cloth as other Hollywood starlets and I think she’s got a magnetic screen presence.
Hence why she’s my pick for my second week of my Actor Spotlight series! I’ll run down some of her filmography (which I’ve seen some but not enough of) and talk about her roles in them.
Away We Go (2009) Directed By: Sam Mendes
I have a special place in my heart for this film. I think the cinematography is stunning, the Alexi Murdoch score underlines the narrative perfectly the story is simple, sweet and full of heart. But the film truly hits it’s stride once our two leads run into Gyllenhaal’s character LN. She’s earthy, crazy and committed to only her ideas. She plays the pretension of people who offer up unwanted advice about parenthood with energy and allows a fun, nutty presence into a film already full of personality.
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Jess in the end does end up on the couch watching her break-up movie and drinking wine and Nick ends up drunk and calling Jess while emotional. He says this is all really hard and she agrees. They don’t know how to interact, where to sleep, it’s all about the social components of their relationship. They say goodnight and it’s a little sad, a little sweet and it’s just how New Girl should be and it marks the end of the first truly great episode of the show in a very long time.
The episode benefits from being the funniest it’s been in a while. From learning about how Winston yawning is agreed upon by the roommates to be his cutest attribute, to Schmidt ribbing on Cece about intelligence and then later being locked out of the room and worried about upsetting the girls with pregnancy talk, to learning that Jess has four cat costumes on standby and then the last group moment where they all hold hands and hum. This is a show about a group of weirdos and the best episodes are the ones where the show plays to that and allows all of the big personalities to shine. It’s very much a Jess and Nick-centric episode, but every character is given a moment to shine or let loose. Lamorne Morris is consistently the dark horse of the show and coupled with the character’s quirks we’re also given one of his first big wins with the Police Academy. And Max Greenfield still has the best line delivery on the show.
But by the end we’re with the two characters we began the episode with, Jess and Nick. They’re sad, and they’re separated by a wall, but they’re still talking and listening and laughing with one another and, while the possibility of reconciliation is still seemingly up in the air, their chemistry and personalities are still parts of the show’s best selling points when executed well.
We don’t realize how fully Lester has taken his words to heart until later that night when he’s confronting his wife in the basement of his house. He had tried to play the dutiful husband role and had attempted to fix the washing machine for her once again but this time when she turns it on, it breaks. She doesn’t hold back this time and tells him that she was always warned about marrying him, about how a man like him could only grow up to be a loser and there is a viscous intent behind what she’s saying, malice that hits Lester until he cracks. He tells her to stop and when she says or what, he grabs a hammer which she laughs off. Why shouldn’t she? For so long he’s been the doormat. The audience sees the shift in his psyche before she does, the exact moment when he becomes unhinged, before hitting her with the hammer. Blood begins to spill, as she looks at him dumbstruck and before he can second guess himself he repeatedly hits her with the hammer until dead and unrecognizable. Freeman in the scene is wonderful, perfectly showing every thought and every emotion as they cascade over his face. - See more at: http://www.theyoungfolks.com/review/tv-review-fargo-1x01-the-crocodiles-dilemma/31011#sthash.RmHgF6w0.dpuf