This morning’s “Riseborough Convulsions” comment thread turned into a pretty great boxing match — sensible, fair-minded folk vs. woke banshee Torquemadas.
And by the way, the fact that in voting for the Oscar nominations, Academy voters didn’t automatically default to Till Danielle Deadwyler (completely deserving) and Viola Davis (less so). Deadwyler aside they seemed to go more for merit than equity. This suggests that the French terror climate, which was going full guillotine two or three years ago, is gradually ebbing.
HE: “That’s not to say that Deadwyler wasn’t excellent in Till…she absolutely was and certainly merited a nomination, and probably would’ve landed one if only Michelle Williams had come to her senses and realized that her Fabelmans character (‘Ma Spielberg’) is an eccentric supporting character.”
Friendo: “Deadwyler’s performance in Till is good but overrated. There’s something too stentorian about it. And you, my friend, have seriously underrated Riseborough’s performance and To Leslie itself. You’ve said that you don’t like to spend two hours with that kind of character. But with all due respect, I don’t fully understand that, or at all chime with it.”
HE: “In Tender Mercies Robert Duvall does four or five minutes of drunken depravity and 110 or 115 minutes of gradual recovery. In To Leslie, Riseborough does a FULL HOUR’s worth of drunken depravity and then 45 or 50 minutes of gradual recovery. We get the depravity, guys! It’s a skipping vinyl record. What do we derive from an hour of depravity that we wouldn’t get just as fully from, say, 5, 10 or 15 minutes of the stuff? Enough already.”
Friendo: “Nope. Being a depraved drunk is much more dramatically interesting than being a pious person in recovery. Tender Mercies is, and always will be, a watchable but not ultimately all that interesting or even moving a film. It’s an austere art Hallmark card. I worship Robert Duvall but would take The Apostle a thousand times over Tender Mercies. The piety of that movie is precisely that we don’t see his character, Mac Sledge, drunk enough. That’s why Tender Mercies is the Oscar winner as glorified Sunday-school lesson.
HE: “I don’t like pious Christians either, but I felt safe and nurtured and taken care of by Tender Mercies. Andrea Riseborough’s performance, on the other hand, was a barefoot tour through Dante’s Inferno. Thanks but no thanks! I know ALL about being a drunk, thanks. Lessons from my father as well as own vodka-and-lemonade experiences from the early to mid ’90s.”