Split Decision: Where have you been, Cate?
Welcome back to Split Decision! Each week, we pose a question to our staff of knowledgable and passionate film geeks and share the responses! We may never know if it is legal to park in the center of Broad Street, but we’ll answer movie questions all day long. Chime in on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below!
This week’s question:
In honor of Where'd You Go Bernadette? what is your favorite performance by Cate Blanchett?
Cate is great in The Gift and Hanna but her best performance, or should I say performances, were in Manifesto where she played a dozen characters from a newscaster to a mother to a woman giving a eulogy. She completely transformed herself in each episode in ways that made this art project turned film the best acting reel a performer ever produced. Take that La Streep!
It's only a short in a bigger movie, but my favorite Cate Blanchett performance is in Coffee and Cigarettes. She plays both herself and her fictional cousin, Shelly, as the two catch up. Cate is promoting a movie and Shelly passive aggressively craps on her for it. Cate tries to be nice and Shelly continues to smoke after being told to put her cigarette out. A few of the pieces of Coffee and Cigarettes make fun of celebrity and feature actors and musicians playing heightened versions of themselves, and in this one Blanchett gets to be the most regular person she's ever played (herself) and an outright jerk, which she doesn't often get to do.
I haven't seen as many Cate Blanchett movies as I thought after looking over some over her work. Even though Blue Jasmine comes to mind as one of her best, I really like her performance(s) in Coffee and Cigarettes. Of course it's just a ten-minute segment that she's in, but I always come away so impressed with her acting just from this one brief scene.
I'm Not There is a masterclass in "playing things you aren't perfect for, but are actually perfect for". It's a beautifully accurate performance that could have easily been pushed away as stupid stunt casting, but really it's EXCELLENT stunt casting!!