Friday, May 1, 2009
Streep Esteem, Part V: SILKWOOD
The trailer for Meryl Streep's latest exercise in female driven counter-programming, Nora Ephron's "Julie & Julia," has just hit the web. It's a perfect opportunity to revisit the 15-time Oscar nominee's past work, YourMovieBuddy's favorite (and only) tradition. So far, we've looked deeper into "She-Devil," "Postcards from the Edge," "The Manchurian Candidate" and "The River Wild," all of which exhibit Ms. Streep's incomparable talents in vastly different ways. Now we come to "Silkwood," Mike Nichols's 1983 drama in which Streep stars as real-life heroine Karen Silkwood, who died in a mysterious car crash while investigating the plutonium plant that employed her. The film, which was written by Ephron and Alice Arlen, earned Streep her fifth Academy Award nomination.
Karen Silkwood is one of Streep's most celebrated roles, a sympathetic character with definable characteristics and dire circumstances. It gives Streep yet another opportunity to morph into a wholly believable woman, complete with quirks, distinct physical attributes (that hair!) and an accent from Streep's thick catalog of spot-on vocal variations. But most remarkable is the way Streep portray's Karen's harrowing situation -- being targeted by her corrupt company, which most likely contaminated her with deadly radioactive chemicals. These days, the film feels a bit dated, what with all the ErinBrockovich-types that have come since, but the strength of the performances, including those from Cher and Kurt Russell, endures beautifully. Don't take it from me -- here's a clip with two of "Silkwood"'s most devastating scenes. It speaks for itself.