Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'Emboldened' adjectives

Special Interest
  • First things first, I managed to hunt down another video interview-ette with Jennifer Ehle on the red carpet, this time from the aptly named Buzzine Magazine. Have a look over at YouTube.
  • Tez brought our attention to Esquire's Q&A with Noah Emmerich, in which Mr. Emmerich reveals his favorite on-screen kiss:

    I've had so few on-screen kisses. It's terrible, I've haven't really had a romantic on-screen kiss. So probably my favorite on-screen kiss is this one, in Pride and Glory, which is so not sexy. It's with Jennifer Ehle [whose character is dying of cancer]; she was spectacular in the film, shaved head and everything. So my favorite on-screen kiss would be with a bald woman.

  • And, an interview with Gavin O'Connor at Premiere incites us to say a little prayer to the Movie Gods that the deleted scenes from Pride and Glory will be included on the DVD:

    [Q] A while ago I interviewed Jennifer Ehle for the film Before the Rains, and she mentioned that she had just finished Pride and Glory. Given the nature of the beast, she was worried that her scenes may be cut from the film, despite having shaved her head for the part. Yet, it seems impossible her scenes deleted as she seems to be the moral compass for Frannie.

    [A] There was another scene when she dies. I did end up cutting it from the movie because once I got into the third act, the scene in the bathroom [between Ehle and Noah Emmerich] is really about giving [Emmerich's character Frannie] the motivation to do the right thing. After that, we didn't need to go any further because she lifted Frannie and pushed him toward the light, and that was her purpose in a way.

Review Rhapsody

The Pride and Glory reviews are continuing to arrive by the truckload this week! Normally we try to post most everything we find, but a change of tactics is necessary since it would be pure madness to post them all. I mean, we’re crazy, but not that crazy. So, for the benefit everyone’s mental health, I’ll focus solely on the reviews that specifically mention Jennifer Ehle’s performance. There are, thankfully, plenty of those. And although the reviews run the gamut from positive to mixed to negative to outright painful, they seem to be unanimous in declaring that Jennifer Ehle excels in her part, even if it is too brief. No surprises there!

(FYI - If you're interested in keeping tabs on some of the top critics' reviews, visit Rotten Tomatoes.)

First off, Joan E. Vadeboncoeur of Entertainment finds Pride and Glory to be "long and unsatisfying," but she also asserts that Jennifer Ehle is the best thing in the movie:

[...] Best is Jennifer Ehle, the wife of Emmerich's character, who is dying of cancer. In fact, she emerges with the best acting of the film. [...]

Tim Basham of Paste Magazine sums things up nicely when he says that "Jennifer Ehle gives a small but outstanding performance as Franny’s wife who has terminal cancer."

The Cape Cod Times' Tim Miller claims that the actors carry this film. In particular, he says:

[...] Jennifer Ehle — star of the 1995 version of "Pride and Prejudice" — gives a wrenching performance as Fran's wife, Abby, who's dying of cancer, that's so good it belongs in a much better movie. [...]

While Bailey Henderson of Real Movie News thinks the film is formulaic and particularly dislikes the final 15 minutes, he nevertheless commends the cast for their performances:

[...] The acting cast is includes fine actors like Edward Norton and Colin Farrell, who play Ray and Jimmy respectively. Norton brings his patient tone to his character and Farrell brings his usual fire to the role of Jimmy. Jon Voight delivers one of his better performances in years as the father figure that likes to drink a little too much. Noah Emmerich is also strong in his role as the brother Francis that is in charge of the officers killed in the drug bust gone wrong. As Francis’s cancer-stricken wife, Jennifer Ehle is solid as well and should have been given more scenes to work with. [...]

Likewise, Joshua Starnes from states that the performances are what keep the film afloat, and he lauds the authenticity of the scenes between Emmerich and Ehle:

[...] Emmerich's been a decent character for years who rarely gets a major lead role, but he makes the best of this one. It's easy to feel the emotional turmoil he's going through, especially in his scenes with Jennifer Ehle, and it all feels real. [...]

IF Magazine's Abbie Berstein doesn't think that Pride and Glory quite manages to succeed on a "narrative" or "emotional" level, but she still describes Jennifer Ehle as "terrific":

[...] The under-billed Emmerich, who is really the second lead, is intriguing and authentic as a rather ordinary man in an increasingly extraordinary situation and Jennifer Ehle is terrific as his seriously ill wife, though the subplot concerning her character lacks what seems to be intended resonance. [...]

Mal Vincent of The Virginian-Pilot describes Jennifer Ehle as being part of a "sterling ensemble" and later adds:

[...] Marking her return to movies after a too-long absence is Jennifer Ehle in the role of Emmerich's dying wife. She has terminal cancer and, for the role, she has shaved her head. Ehle, the daughter of legendary actress Rosemary Harris, makes her home near Winston-Salem, N.C. She is best known for playing Elizabeth Bennet in television's memorable adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." [...]

(Hmm, I don't believe Mal meant to say that Ms Ehle herself has terminal cancer.)

Though not a fan of the film's 'familiar melodrama' and 'cliched dialogue,' Sarah Granger of the Arizona Reporter concedes that "Jennifer Ehle and Lake Bell make their scenes memorable" even though the "female characters are peripheral" to the story.

Though the people at Thighs Wide Shut *cough* reiterate the cliched-ness of the movie that many have discussed before, they also like the authentic NY setting. More importantly, they mention "Jennifer Ehle's strong turn" as Emmerich's wife, but further explain that it is "a side story lost somewhere between all the gunplay."

Janet Garber and Shelly Hanner from Senior Film Files seem even more frustrated by the relegation of female characters to the background of the story:

[...] The actors are all very capable but are given nothing to do. In fact, actresses Jennifer Ehle, Lake Bell, Carmen Ejogo and Leslie Denniston could just as well have been left out of the movie without jeopardizing the plot one bit. [...]

Seattle PI's Sean Axmaker expresses similar sentiments:

[...] "We protect our own. That's all I know," offers clan patriarch Jon Voight in the way of advice. And that's pretty much the sole conflict of the film, which owes its moral soul to the saintly guidance of Frannie's cancer-ridden wife (Jennifer Ehle). For the rest of the film, the women are sent out of the room for the men to work things out, as if they live in some '50s time warp. [...]

In the realm of Blogdom, Film Intuition's Jen Johans loved the movie and provides a long and thoughtful review. Interestingly, she disagrees with what many have said regarding the 'peripherality' of the female characters:

[...] Additionally, while normally in police movies-- especially in regards to The Departed-- the family and especially women are typically left out of the mix but above all, Pride is a family story and this isn't the case. British actress Jennifer Ehle (most famous for portraying Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice opposite Colin Firth) is extraordinarily good in her supporting role as Francis Jr.'s cancer-stricken wife whose quiet dignity and strength inspire her husband to try and set things right before it's too late. [...]

Not Unseldom Drastic is less enthusiastic, but parenthetically states:

[...] (Incidentally, his brother's wife is played by Jennifer Ehle, who is not much present in the movie, but whose performance was impressively wrenching). [...]

In My Movie Reviews, Wes finds that:

[...] The most believable performance comes not from Norton or Farell, or even Voight, but from character actor Noah Emmerich, a familiar face you've seen in many, many films and TV shows. [...] Emmerich's character is the one caught in the middle, and his character is the most shaded and one experiencing the most change, with his wife's (Jennifer Ehle, in a heartbreakingly sad performance) illness. [...]

Furthermore, Wes wishes that more of the film were dedicated to these two characters:

[...] Emmerich and Ehle's story is by far the most palpable and watchable, and the script devotes far less time to it, instead focusing on the brutality of Farell's character or the goodness of Norton's. [...]

Finally, Brian Orndorf of Filmfodder gives the movie a respectable B+ and astutely notes:

[...] Francis Jr. has worked hard to reach a level of authority, only to see his force succumb to the temptations of crime, not to mention nursing a wife (Jennifer Ehle, in a ghostly, heartbreaking performance) stricken with cancer; [...]

Sooo, just to review what has been said, Jennifer Ehle's performance in Pride and Glory is the best, outstanding, wrenching, solid, authentic, terrific, memorable, strong, extraordinarily good, impressively wrenching, heartbreakingly sad, and ghostly heartbreaking. Well done, Ms. Ehle!

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