This week we tackle one of Cate Blanchett’s weirdest roles, that of an injured American tourist traveling in Morocco in Babel (2006). To discuss Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film and Blanchett’s penchant to sometimes take on small supporting parts, Murtada welcomes to the podcast Zita Short, critic for InSession Film and Jumpcut Online and host of The 300 Passions Podcast.
This week we go back to Cate Blanchett’s early career and another one of her “titular” roles, playing Irish journalist Veronica Guerin (2003). To discuss Joel Schumacher’s film, Murtada welcomes illustrator and designer Dash Silva to the podcast. This wide ranging conversation also covers Blue Jasmine, The Aviator, the accent work of Meryl Streep and a few of this year’s best actress awards contenders including Lady Gaga, Jessica Chastain and Kristen Stewart.
From Wikipedia: The film’s about Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, whose investigation into the drug trade in Dublin led to her murder in 1996, at the age of 37.
Who does Cate play? Veronica Guerin – another one of her “titular” roles.
How is Cate introduced? 2 mins in court defending herself as a reckless driver. It’s an exciting prelude before the film goes back 2 years to tell the story.
What year did it come out? 2003
Box Office: US $1.5MM, rest of the world $ 7.8MM Critical Response: Metacritic: 55 RT: 53
Guerin is a major figure in Ireland, the film came just a few years after her murder and tries to capture the legend.
A clear good vs. evil narrative. Does it get at the complexity of the story?
The portrayal of Guerin as dogged, focused, intimidating and intimidated, brave and frightened. Many notes for Cate to play.
An odd choice for Joel Schumacher or is it? He seems to make many different genres of film. Best known for Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, he also directed a musical (The Phantom of the Opera), thrillers (8MM and Falling Down), melodramas (Dying Young and Flawless) and even a rom-com (Cousins). This is his Erin Brockovich.
Since Cate does an Irish accent here let’s pit her against the Accent Queen; Meryl Streep. Irish (Dancing at Lughnasa), Italian (The Bridges of Madison County vs. Cate actual Italian in Heaven ), English (Plenty vs. Notes on a Scandal).
Oscar winner Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) and current Oscar hopeful Ciaran Hinds (Befast) are in the cast. Plus a Colin Farrell cameo ( a meta joke since they talk about Eric Cantana who’s in Elizabeth).
This year’s best actress hopefuls; Lady Gaga in House of Gucci, Kristen Stewart in Spencer and Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
What critics said at the time:
Cate Blanchett plays Guerin in a way that fascinated me for reasons the movie probably did not intend. I have a sneaky suspicion that director Joel Schumacher and his writers (Carol Doyle and Mary Agnes Donoghue) think of this as a story of courage and determination, but what I came away with was a story of bone-headed egocentrism. There are moments when Guerin seems so wrapped up in her growing legend and giddy with the flush of the hunt that she barely notices her patient husband, who seems quite gentle, under the circumstances, in his suggestions that she consider the danger she’s in and think of their child. – Roger Ebert.
Cate Blanchett is back in cinemas this holiday season. And the podcast is back for a final season of episodes. We kick things off with the first of the two Cate movies coming out this month, Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. For this conversation Murtada welcomes film critic Leila Latif, to discuss the film, how it differs from 1947 version, and the performances of Cate as a femme fatale, Rooney Mara, Bradley Cooper and Toni Colette.
Glamour! Big Acting ! An Accent! A few hallmarks of Cate Blanchett’s performances that we love are present in Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried (2001). It’s a commanding star turn that shows Blanchett at her best, and for that the movie is a must-see for every Blanchett fan. We discuss the film and performance. Plus revisit Mrs. America and the show’s chances at the winter TV awards (Golden Globes and SAG).
From Wikipedia: A Russian Jewish girl (Christina Ricci) is separated from her father in 1927 and escapes to England, where she’s rechristened Suzie. She grows up to be a singer in a Parisian theater populated by a glamorous Russian dancer (Cate Blanchett), an egotistical Italian tenor (John Turturro) and a handsome horseman (Johnny Depp). When the Nazis invade France, however, Suzie’s life is suddenly in danger, and she attempts to flee to the United States, where her father moved years earlier.
Who does Cate play?
Lola, a glamorous Russian dancer.
How is Cate introduced?
20 minutes in as the star attraction amidst a chorus of dancers. after she finishes the dance, she winks directly at the camera and the audience.
What year did it come out?
Premiered at Venice September 2000. US release May 2001.
This movie hardly made a ripple in 2001. It is one of the very few Cate performances that I have never watched until now. Very hard to find…. youtube is your friend (wink).
Sally Potter as a distinctly visual filmmaker.
One of Cate’s early roles. Does the star quality appear? Of course, in fact this is a must-see for any Cate Blanchett fan because it shows her total command and allure as a screen star.
NBR awarded Cate best supporting actress for 2001 body of work including this, LOTRand The Shipping News.
Again a very physical full bodied performance – a theme we’ve talked about on this podcast. There’s a nervous energy to it though. Lola is always moving, gawky, not graceful like some of her other characterizations.
Memorable look; albaster skin, red cherry lipstick, very blond hair – so very noticeable
Cate the droll comedian, we dig deep into one scene; when telling the rules of seducing men… “without my looks I wouldn’t have gotten out of Russia.”
Lola is a tragic figure . We talk about how Cate makes her so with emphasis on a couple of other scenes.
One of a few movies that Christina Ricci headlined – what do we think of her?
What’s with all the brooding Johnny Depp on horseback scenes – for a while both he and Ricci are silent in their scenes together.
Film within context of Cate’s career:
2000 – 2001 was the time when the choices she made post her breakout with Elizabeth began appearing for audiences. She chose a few supporting roles; all of them very far from that monarch and one lead role in The Gift (2000); previously discussed.
What reviews said of film / Cate:
“Blanchett’s role is the dazzler: Rolling her eyes, shrugging her shoulders and flinging her long limbs about insouciantly, she’s the soul of studiously artificial glamour, whether shimmying in a trashy revue or bewitching an unwary suitor.” – Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide.
“The movie is like a series of climactic moments from a World War II mini-series strung together without the undercurrents that might build character: it’s all big moments, the world’s longest and most sincere trailer. In fact, the title character doesn’t even appear until the end of the picture. (Before that the film should be called ”The Woman Who Cries,” since Ms. Ricci’s trembling chin gets quite a workout.)
With accents heavier than the melodrama going on around them, Ms. Blanchett and Mr. Turturro add comic weight and warmth as two predators sizing each other up before they realize they’re the same species.” – A O Scott, NYTimes.
“Ironically, in the midst of all this high caloric camp, the one performer who escapes with her dignity, Cate Blanchett, does so not by underacting but by getting in full shameless touch with her miscast inner ham. As Lola, a transplanted Moscow gold-digger with a borscht thick accent and lips as glossy red as the inside of a chocolate covered cherry, Blanchett is like Mata Hari played by Gwen Stefani impersonating Veronica Lake. It’s hard to take your eyes off of acting this knowingly overripe.” – Owen Gleiberman, EW