From: David Edelstein
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:47 PM
To: Lynda Obst
Subject: Powerful Female Executives
Too bad you rolled your eyes at another Greatest Generation movie, because Flags of Our Fathers was a bitter, bitter film in which America's defining image of heroism — well, it's side by side with Washington crossing the Delaware — was shown to be at least partly a lie. Too bad the structure was so clunky and that Eastwood didn't help the young actors shape their performances. There's this myth that Eastwood is a great actor's director, but what he's best at is leaving them alone, forcing them to sink or swim. (How Republican.) Some rise to the challenge, others — the ones in Flags — thrash valiantly.
Re: Meryl. I forgot that women producers and studio execs would be the likeliest to appreciate both Streep's exquisite bitchery and her vulnerability.
I wonder if Devil was an emotional workout for you and other Powerful Female Executives. Did you shudder at the memory of every assistant you'd ever terrorized? Or was the film oddly vindicating? (P.S.: I remember more of the marvelous Emily Blunt than I do of Streep, actually.)
Let's say this for Iñárritu: He gets in close to his actors, so close it's like he's backing them emotionally against the wall. The stakes are always insanely high — bogusly high, sometimes. But he does get intense, committed, often astonishing performances. Everyone in that cast is breathtaking.
We still have much to talk about — the overpraised Volver, or how Cars won a Golden Globe when Happy Feet and Monster House are so much cooler. But let's save something for Oscar week. Thanks, as always, for reframing and clarifying the news from Hollywood — and for taking my mind off the human catastrophe in Iraq for an hour or two.