Monday, August 31, 2015

1965: Julie Christie for Darling

In this very 1960s British film, Julie Christie plays a model who sleeps her way up the social ladder in pursuit of what she believes is happiness. Unfortunately, once she finally realizes what would actually make her happy, it's too late.

There were several aspects of this performance that I liked. Most of my favorite parts involved her actions completely contradicting her narration (think "Dignity, always dignity" from Singin' in the Rain). Both the way she read the narration and the way she acted out the contradictions were very well done. The film was supposed to be satire - at least, I'm pretty sure it was - but I think sometimes the male actors took themselves too seriously so it wasn't always clear. Christie definitely gave the best satirical performance. Occasionally she was a little too over-the-top, but most of the time I thought she was just over-the-top enough to be effective. The best example of this is when she melodramatically calls one of her boyfriends melodramatic.

Overall, though, I didn't particularly like this movie. It's kind of boring and confusing, and I didn't really care about any of the characters. I kept getting her various lovers mixed up, which added to the confusion. At least I always recognized Laurence Harvey, since I've seen a lot of him lately. I don't really enjoy his acting, but at least he does a good job of making his co-stars look much better by comparison. That might be part of the reason why this is the third Best Actress winning film he's in. And while Christie's acting is fine, her character is quite annoying. She keeps making all these really bad choices and then complaining when they don't turn out well. So it's not a bad movie, but it's not a great movie. It does have its moments, and they're pretty much all Julie Christie's moments, so I guess she deserved an award. But she absolutely did not deserve to beat Julie Andrews for The Sound of Music, which is an iconic performance that is much more enjoyable to watch. Funnily enough, there are several odd similarities between the two. I was very amused when Christie's character ended up marrying a rich guy with seven children. The actresses also share the same first name, are both British, and are both still alive. But given the choice between the two, I'd rather watch The Sound of Music than Darling any day.

Julie Christie has been nominated for four Oscars so far. She hasn't made any movies in the last couple of years, but she's also the most recently nominated actress I've blogged about, which I think makes her significantly more likely to be nominated again than anybody who won before her. Darling was her first nomination, after which she was nominated for 1971's McCabe & Mrs. Miller, 1997's Afterglow, and most recently, Away from Her, which was technically from 2006 but was nominated with the 2007 movies because that's when it was released in the US. I think my favorite Julie Christie movie is Heaven Can Wait, but she wasn't nominated for that. While we were watching this, my dad reminded me that she was also in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is arguably her finest performance, but somehow she wasn't nominated for that either.

Next up: Elizabeth Taylor's second Oscar winning performance

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