My Two Minutes With Meryl

12.8.2011

By Max Berlinger

The sad and lonely thoughts of a Meryl obsessive

As the end of the year approaches, the big Oscar push begins. Because, you know, all the actually good movies should be released in a two-week period and the rest of the drivel should be spread out through the other 50 weeks of the year. Also, you savvy advertisers, we're on to you. You release multiple trailers—the one that appeals to the sought-after 18-to-25-year-old male demographic, the weepy middle-aged lady trailer, and, of course, the Academy Award trailer. Today, the most recent trailer for the Streep-tacular The Iron Lady, was released, and its obviously the Oscar-aimed missive. It's all Streep, all the time, just like my brain.

 

We start off with some tragic actress playing young Thatcher, and who was probably really excited to be cast in the film until she realized she had the difficult task of really being the young Meryl, and that regardless of the fact that she was the best actress in her graduating class, she'll never touch the legendary status of her idol. As a side note, where was her daughter Mamie? She shoulda, coulda, and woulda done that.

At :20, we glimpse the first Meryl moment—her, in a frosty confection of a wig, looking at herself in a mirror with a mix of awe and excitement. The little golden statue is basically hers.

:35 is a nice wide-eyed moment of shock, reminding us that Thatcher, as despised as she was and is, had to shoulder her fair share of difficulties to get to her position. The "overcoming adversity," box is now checked on the "Is this an Oscar-worthy performance?" directory. Also, I like that Streep sticks out in her blue ensembles amid the sea of gray—nice touch, if a bit overcooked.

:43 is where she really gets me, the reflective moment where she's holding back tears. That's a Streep specialty. Crying is for amateurs. Holding back tears is a sly trick that only masters dare to fiddle with.

The 1:00 mark is where we see a glimpse of humor. Oh, Meryl, she has to make sure there's some humanity here, right? Can't be all tears and tragedy. Smart move. That guarantees at least one reviewer calling her performance "varied" or "complex."

Around 1:15, we get the orchestral score coming in, and there's a change in tone. This is meatier Meryl. Like, girlfriend ain't playing when she's talking about the Falklands. She wants that shit back, ya heard? The look in her eyes, I've only seen it from one other person in my life and that's from my mother when she silently conveys that she's won an argument and any verbal attempts at rebuking that fact will be met with horrifying consequences that only a mother can unleash upon her children. In other words, don't fuck with this.

1:23 is my favorite expression from the trailer, hands down. Let's play a game. How many emotions is she conveying with her face? I spot 27. How about you?

The clincher to this trailer is probably at 1:25. Oh, don't mind Meryl. She's just going to calmly tell you, "With all do respect, sir [P.S. there is no respect in that tone, did you catch that?], I've done battle every single day of my life." You know, when most people say stupid stuff like "Oh, I think about him every day" or "Oh, I do battle every, single day," I don't believe them. But, I'd say I believe every word that Meryl utters.

We got a quick The Devil Wears Prada undertone at 1:38 when she she frustratedly admonishes some unknown entity: "Well, if this is the best you can do, I had better do your job as well as mine." Burn!

Moving on, we finally get a moment of weakness at 1:47, with Streep slowly closing her eyes and breathing in the terrible stench of defeat. Right after, we do a quick flash to remind us that Jim Broadbent (who, may I remind you, destroyed it as Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge!) is treading water alongside her Majesty in this one-woman show. But, as in most of her starring turns, all co-stars are merely props.

Finally we close with one more pointed remark from Streep/Thatch: "Your problem," she chides viscously, "is that you haven't got the courage for this fight." Cue the chills.

Somewhere in the world, Michelle Williams is looking at her mascara-streaked face in a mirror and silently sobbing, knowing that her chance at this year's brass ring has just been decimated. But you know what I say: "Oh, that? That's just Meryl being Meryl."

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