Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't Walk Away, Renee

Over at Thompson on Hollywood, blogmeister Anne Thompson has some advice for Renee Zellweger, whose career has sailed slowly into the doldrums so often encountered by actresses of a certain age.

Don't Walk Away, Renee

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Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger

Over at Thompson on Hollywood, blogmeister Anne Thompson has some advice for Renee Zellweger, whose career has sailed slowly into the doldrums so often encountered by actresses of a certain age.

I know some readers are allergic to Zellweger, whose chipmunk charm is not universally beloved. (Consider Jezebel's Women Who Women Love to Hate.) But I've very much liked her since I saw her in The Whole Wide World (1996), in an astonishing turn as Novalyne Price, the real-life 1930s Texas scribe who gets involved with Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian. Shortly after came Jerry Maguire, where she brought pith and marrow to Cameron Crowe's Manic Pixie Dream Girl (cf: Kate Hudson in Almost Famous and Bridget Fonda in Singles). While I haven't liked RZ in everything, sure liked her dramatic depth as the daughter in One True Thing, her comic frivolity as  Bridget Jones, her send-up of Doris Day in Down With Love, her brittle Roxie Hart in Chicago and that Ma Kettle character she played in the otherwise tepid Cold Mountain.

As everyone knows, 40 is a dangerous age for actresses -- including Meryl Streep, who muddled through She-Devil and Music of the Heart before re-emerging -- much to her surprise -- as both Actress and Movie Star in Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, Doubt, Mamma Mia! and Julie & Julia. Similarly, Diane Keaton foundered after 40 until she found Nancy Meyer -- who created Baby Boom, Father of the Bride and Something's Gotta Give for her All it takes is one good role -- think of Susan Sarandon's Annie Savoy in Bull Durham (she was 42) -- to transform an aging babe into a bankable goddess. Sandra Bullock is having a very good year with The Proposal and buzz is promising on her next film, All About Steve. Diane Lane has found a niche in starting-over films Under the Tuscan Sun and Nights in Rodanthe. Would that Angela Bassett, Michelle Pfeiffer Meg Ryan and Zellweger find the right material.

Are you a Zellweger lover or hater? Favorite role? Career advice?

Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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