Sunday, 21 February 2010

Scott on Streep, and the Eighties

The reputation that Ms. Streep earned for her work in those films retains more luster than most of the movies themselves. Sandwiched between the endlessly mythologized Golden Age of ’70s New Hollywood and the now almost equally sentimentalized decade of the American Indies, the ’80s are comparatively bereft of nostalgic movie-fan affection or revisionist critical love. And yet the respectable films of that era may represent the last gasp of a noble middlebrow ideal. They were ambitious, unapologetically commercial projects intended for the entertainment and edification of grown-up audiences, neither self-consciously provocative nor timidly inoffensive. Some of us grew up on movies like “Sophie’s Choice” and “Out of Africa,” and our fondness outlasts the sense that we eventually outgrew them. Nowadays “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “A Cry in the Dark” would be scruffy little Sundance movies. “Out of Africa” would be in French. “Silkwood” would be “The Blind Side.”

Ms. Streep — grave, scrupulously attentive to the nuances of performance, imbuing every gesture with the values of craftsmanship and respect for quality — was not only the star of so many of these ’80s Oscar movies, but also the most recognizable embodiment of their aesthetic...
A.O. Scott's full article, on the occasion of Meryl Streep's 16th Academy Award nomination, is here on the NYT movie site.


Heather said...

It has been a while!

Bruce Yabsley said...

Indeed it has. I guess you saw that I'm trying to start posting again: I would hope to manage one a week. And do you like the new template?