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ON MY MIND… CHARLIZE THERON

Having just watched The Burning Plain it’s become clear that we need to discuss the career of Charlize Theron. She doesn’t get anywhere near enough love (or interesting roles) and that needs to change. This isn’t an intervention or a rant. Simply put, this is a frank acknowledgement of talent.

As all the great actresses of our generation tend to do, she mixes blockbusters and smaller projects with consummate ease. Another point to mention is that, like some of Hollywood’s most beautiful actresses, she’s not afraid to remove the glamour and strip things right back, leaving little to hide behind except her performance. This is evident in Monster, but it’s also a strong theme in all of her work highlighted below. Still… I’d love to see her in more. Hollywood, it’s time to step up and send her scripts!

Anyway, here’s my pick of her best performances to date:

The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
She largely burst onto the scene here – opposite Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino – with a beautiful, tormented and captivating performance. One which set her career standard.

Monster (2003)
A deserved Oscar win for what is considered a powerhouse performance. When one of Hollywood’s most beautiful women transforms herself to this level you sit up and take notice.

North Country (2005)
Continuing a fine run of form she got a best actress nomination for this role in what some critics have argued – in some ways – was a more complex character to portray than her Oscar winning one in Monster.

The Burning Plain (2008)
Guillermo Arriaga (the writer behind Babel) directed this tale of loss and guilt and, whilst the film is somewhat confusingly edited, Theron shone in her scenes with another fine display.

Young Adult (2011)
There’s no doubt that director Jason Reitman’s tale here was both tough, tender and funny throughout. A large part of that was, once again, down to Theron, who balanced the film’s comic and tragic moments with equal skill.

REBECCA HALL

Born on 19 May 1982, Rebecca Maria Hall is a few months older than me. That fact isn’t significant in itself, it’s just one of the little ways I like to think that I identify with her.
She’s the daughter of theatre director and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Peter Hall, and opera singer, Maria Ewing. Her siblings include theatre directors, designers, writers and painters. So it’s fair to say she’s from a creative background.

And looks wise, she’s striking. A sort of classic yet contemporary English rose. However, it’s worth noting that, whilst she has an English father, her American mother is of Dutch, Scottish, Sioux and African-American origin which, let’s face it, just makes her even more interesting.

Then there’s her acting. Since breaking onto the scene with the first film in my list below, she’s quickly gone from strength to strength, picking her roles in a savvy way. She exudes a natural intelligence that’s hard to hide in the parts she plays (not that it needs to be hidden). Here’s my pick of her top performances:

Starter for Ten (2006)
It says something when gorgeous Miss Hall is cast as the geek. Alice Eve played the sexy one in the sweet, coming-of-age tale, yet it’s Hall’s performance we warm to as the wonderfully endearing love interest to James McAvoy’s rather annoying central character, Brian.

The Prestige (2006)
A magic trick has three parts: the pledge, the turn and the prestige. Did this role represent Hall’s ‘pledge’? Well, it was somewhat of a showcase and a big step up career wise inChistopher Nolan’s convoluted and rather tragic tale of two rival magicians. And Hall more than held her own as the long suffering wife of Christian Bale’s magician.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Making something of a name for herself playing ‘second fiddle’ to more overtly glamorous women (Alice Eve in Starter for Ten, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz here) she shone in this movie – one of the best from Woody Allen in recent years – and gave her character real warmth; a performance which got her a Golden Globe nomination.

The Town (2010)
Another role playing the love interest of a mildly conflicted protagonist. This time opposite Ben Affleck’s sensitive bank robber. The film received strong praise for the ensemble performance of its cast, no doubt in part down to Hall’s convincing performance.

Next up for Miss Hall?

Transcendence – UK release 25 April 2014
Wally Pfister, long time cinematographer of Christopher Nolan, steps up to direct for the first time with this one: featuring leads Johnny Depp and one… Rebecca Hall. Another leap forward career wise, opposite one of cinema’s most bankable stars in this sci-fi thriller.

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