When you’re the daughter of two opera singers, and spent your childhood observing your parents onstage in classic melodramatic fair, it’s safe to assume that you know how drama and suspense work. Actress Rosamund Pike is the aforementioned daughter of two opera singers, and it seems as if her flair for the dramatic has helped her with her latest project, Gone Girl. Adapted from Gillian Flynn’s best-selling 2012 novel of the same name, the movie is just as suspenseful as the book. Not only that, but Pike’s performance as the complex Amy Dunne is astonishing to watch. Nominated this year for both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role, Rosamund Pike gives a performance few actors would be able to achieve. Amy’s nuances and complexities are accompanied by the fact that viewers never really know which aspects of her personality are truthful. British-born Pike, plays New York native, and Missouri transplant Amy Dunne to a tee. Without giving away major plot points, I will say, that she plays all the layers so perfectly that for the time being, it’s hard for me to not vote for her for the SAG Awards. She legitimately plays an honest-to-goodness sociopath, and it’s fascinating to watch her transformation. Director David Fincher has always been one of my favorites, and he doesn’t disappoint. However, with both Flynn’s novel and her screenplay (which she adapted herself), I will ask her this: What’s up with that ending?
Want to know more? Gone Girl is currently available On Demand, Amazon Prime, and also stars Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris. Gillian Flynn’s novel is available both online, and at your local bookstore.
The good thing about being in the Screen Actors Guild is that we often get to see films before they are released into theaters to the general public. Last night I had the pleasure of viewing Alexander Payne’s Nebraska (separate review coming) and the adaptation of Tracy Lett’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play, August: Osage Countyin the comfort of my own home. I loved the movie, I really did. However, I think that both the play version and the movie version are two separate entities. Oftentimes, I kept finding myself comparing it to the stage version, but then I realized that the majority of people who will be viewing the film have never seen the stage play. That being said, as a stand-alone film, August: Osage County can almost put the mirror up too close the nature. At the same time, the family dynamic is actually believable which makes it a refreshing change from the cookie-cutter family movies out there. At the helm is the matriarch of the family, played by none other than the magnificent Meryl Streep. She’ll probably beat her own record again with Oscar nominations for this one. And, as a pleasant surprise, Julia Roberts gives a solid performance as Barbara Weston, a role for which Amy Morton garnered a Tony nomination. Roberts’ portrayal, as well as Streep’s are worthy of the SAG nominations they received. In the supporting cast, you have the likes of Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Misty Upham, Abigail Breslin, Julianne Nicholson, Bendedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, and Juliette Lewis. Sam Shepard is the pivotal role as Beverly Weston. Each and every one of the cast members are great actors, so to see them all together in one film is a real treat. Taken out of the confines of the stage and put on location, the film still has the element of a frustrated and fractured family, sometimes more so because the characters are actually put into the elements of the Oklahoma county in which it takes place. Streep’s vocal and physical transformation is a far cry from the woman who danced and sang her way through Mamma Mia! or took home the Oscar for playing one of England’s toughest women. There’s a weakness, fragility, and all out strength that Streep brings to Violet Weston that makes the film 1000 times better. In the hands of a lesser actress, it would just be another film about a dysfunctional family. The film opens on January 10th everywhere and needs to be seen for its sheer verisimilitude.