Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Top Five Female Acting Performances

Wow, I can hardly believe It's been this long since I wrote a blog entry.

I'm coming back to my top five in the movie category. This time: My top five favorite female performances.

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of actresses. Chick flicks, for the most part, turn me off. And so many of the female roles in action or sci-fi films are vapid and merely there as eye-candy. So finding a female performance that really stands out in my mind - and that I actually can call a favorite - is a rare thing.

Don't expect many oscar-winning performances here. Meryl Streep isn't on my list (don't get me wrong, she's an amazing actress and I am a fan).

That said, let's jump right into the list.

5) It's a tie: Madeleine Stowe as Kathryn Railley in Twelve Monkeys; Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in The Terminator; Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien. (She wasn't Ellen until the second installment.)

I kept going back and forth on this. Stowe, Weaver, Hamilton; I couldn't make a final decision. So, it's a tie. Let me e clear here, though: When I say Linda Hamiliton as Sarah Connor, I mean in the original The Terminator film, and not T2. Same for Sigourney Weaver: Alien, not Aliens.

4) Sally Field as Mama Lil in Where The Heart Is

I've never really cared for Sally Field's roles. The whole Smokey and the Bandit thing was silly. I didnt' care for Gidget or The Flying Nun, really. Sybil was tough to watch (because of the subject matter, not her acting) and Norma Rae kinda bored me. Usually, when I was presented with the chance to watch a film she was in, I would roll my eyes and panic.

Then I saw Where the Heart Is.

Sally has about 5 minutes screen time, if even that much, and put in one of the best performances I've ever seen. I was blown away by it. Props.

3) Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life

Sigh. I have to admit, I fell hopelessly in love with Mary Hatch Bailey the moment I saw her, which was, I believe, Frank Cappra's intention, and why he got that amazing "glow" in this shot. I doubt I am the first, nor will I be the last, to have swooned when she appeared onscreen.

And Donna Reed's performance in this film is amazing. From her sarcastic wit, to her anger with George, to her undying devotion, to her romanticism, to her glee when their friends come to the rescue - she never fails to make Mary real and bigger than life all at the same time.

2) Milla Jovovich as Leeloo in The Fifth Element

The girl worked with the director (Luc Besson) to invent a completely new language. And she made it believable. AND she's the lead female role in one of my top five favorite films ever.

Unfortunately, Milla hasn't gone on to do too many great films other than this one, unless, of course, you like the whole Resident Evil franchise.

1) Audrey Hepburn as a whole lotta characters in as many movies.

Princess Ann in Roman Holiday, Sabrina in Sabrina, Jo Stockton in Funny Face, Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Regina Lampert in Charade, Gabrielle Simpson in Paris - When It Sizzles, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Susy Hendrix in Wait Until Dark, Lady Marian in Robin and Marian, and even as Hap in Always, just to name a few.

These are so many roles she's tackled and she made all of them memorable. I don't think there's been a better actress in the history of film-making.

Kudos, Audrey. We miss you.

Honorable Mention: Helen Bonham Carter in Fight Club and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest.