My Love Affair With Meryl Streep

Publicity for one of my most anticipated movies has just started to do the rounds. My favourite actress of all time, Meryl Streep, will be staring in a new biopic of Britain's former Prime Minister - Baroness Margaret Thatcher, famously known as The Iron Lady, which happens to be the tittle of this movie. As I wait anxiously to see the legend tackle one of modern history's most controversial  figures, I can not help but relish the fact that I have been a fan of Meryl's for about 10 years and she's yet disappoint me.

I was never an active child as such, mainly because I was different from my peers. Kids that I grew up with were into sports and neighbourhood games, I was more comfortable reading a magazine or a book.

When my mother bought a television set I discovered a world where fantasy reigns and my life changed. Within that world I found role-models, friends and solence in the escapism which that world offered a reserved boy like me.

I saw a movie on tv called "Bridges Of Madison County". I didn't know who the actors were, nor did I care. I just got immersed in the storyline and the actress captivated me. That actress was Meryl Streep acting opposite Clint Eastwood.

Since then I have been a fan of this remarkably talented woman's work. Over the years I have watched her take on roles that are so different from each other and yet she would always make each role seem like it was made for her.

For more than 3 decades, this 2-time Oscar winner - known for her consummate versatility in the acting field - has been shaping herself in a marvelous body of art.

Meryl's a chameleon and by any means a legend. After shining in the insanely competitive Hollywood film industry for 32 years now, she still continues to raise standards and receive wholly adoration from critics and audiences worldwide.

In the past 10 years, I've grown to truly respect this formidable actress. These are some of the roles that have solidified Meryl's legendary status for me:

  • Sophie's Choice

If you are ever in doubt of Meryl's talent then this movie is a must see. Released in 1982, it is a few years older than me but when I saw it few years ago I was mesmerised.

In it Meryl Streep portrays Sophie - a tormented character who is suffering from her experience in Auschwitz and from the hardest decision she’s ever had to make. Nathan is her reason for living. Despite his tormented personality, Sophie remains with him.

Why? Sophie battles her grief and remorse, Nathan lives battling his disorder and hiding it from everyone. Mixed masala nje of emotions and personalities.

The film is about Sophie’s choice, but also about the choices she made after that, including her decision to remain with Nathan, as damaged as she is. Together they seem perfectly happy, and they are when together, but when separated their worst feelings of misery and self hating are showing.

The scene that got me was a scene where Sophie (Meryl) is forced by a Nazi guard to choose which of her 2 kids she may keep. Brilliant acting and directing.

Just watch the moment Meryl as Sophie opens her mouth as if she is going to scream but nothing comes out, instead you hear the wailing sound of her child crying.

Ohhhh... what a scene. It has to be one of the most saddest and gut wrenching scenes I have ever seen. And yes I did shed a tear or two.

If you have ever doubted the subtlety of Meryl Streep's performance examine the early scenes in this movie where you can observe her butchering the English language in her amazingly accurate Polish accent. Her performance here continues to leave me in awe of her attention to detail.  

It's not easy finding the movie in South Africa. So watch the scene below.


A consummate actress she is. In this captivating movie she's paired with equally talented actors, Viola Davis and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. From scene one you are immersed into this world by the actors and Meryl does a good job of balancing the character.

Throughout the entire movie I did not understand whether she was the hero or antagonist in the plot. You hate her, get frustrated with her indecisiveness and by the end of the movie you understand her. Only a prolific actor can take you on such a journey. 

My favourite scene is the scene where she is talking to Viola Davis's character trying to get her to acknowledge what is going on with her son.  But the scene that steals the movie has to be the final scene.

How this woman manages to capture the tone and the message of the entire movie with just one moment and line "I have doubts", blows me away. 

Watch the scene below

  • The French Lieutenant 's Wife

as Sarah and Anna

Before she dabbled with playing multiple characters in Angels In America, she played 2 characters in this movie.  This movie interweaves two story lines: the book's original story of Sarah Woodruff and Charles Smithson set in Victorian England, and the story of the two actors who portray them, Anna and Mike, set in approximately 1980. 

It is so interesting how she portrayed the actress (Anna) as well as the character (Sarah) in the movie that was being filmed.

There was a scene I loved in which the characters are filming a scene in the movie. She begins the scene by portraying the "actress" and then switches roles to the other character quite suddenly and subtly as if Meryl doesn't exist at all! I actually thought it was weird how she did that.


Other brilliant performances are highlighted in the movies below.
  • The Hours

  • Devil Wears Prada

  • Bridges Of Madison County

  • Julie/Julia
playing Julia Child (right)
  • Music of the Heart

  • Not forgetting her mesmerising performance in the mini-series,  Angels in America, played 3 different characters

Ethel, Mother & Rabbi in "Angels in America"
If you get a chance to see all the movies I have mentioned here you will see just how different the characters are, yet Meryl portrays each of them so effortless and earnestly. Sheer talent right there.

Now I am waiting in great anticipation to see my favourite actress of all time play one of the most interesting women of our lifetime, Margaret Thatcher. 

as Magaret Thatcher
Sidenote: Meryl has been nominated 16 times for an Oscar (13 for Best Actress and 3 for Best Supporting), winning only 2 for Sophie's Choice (1982) and Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)

She holds a record for 25 Golden Globe nominations, Tony nomination, 2 Emmy wins, a Bafta and 5 Grammy nominations to her names… among many other awards other accolades of course.

Now you know why I am obsessed with this woman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This women is a living legend none of the young Hollywood actress will ever come close to her, i have seen her in couple of movies, but for me her performance in the Devil Wears Prada remains my favorite

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