Monday, February 23, 2009


The Alchemist

Watching the Academy Awards is a tradition for me. Popcorn, comfy pajamas, fire in the fireplace....all the necessary accoutrements for a long and entertaining evening. I usually make an attempt to catch most of the nominated films, but this year I fell woefully behind and shall try to catch up over the next couple of weeks. One I did see, however, and found to be amazing, was Doubt. Engrossing, with blistering authenticity and truth, it contained four peerless performances. Of course, I am unabashedly a fan of Meryl Streep.
I well remember being in Paris in 1981, walking down the street past a newsstand and seeing her on the cover of Time magazine. It was a winsome photograph, but I don’t know why it stands out in my memory. Funny, but I can still see the sunlight that dappled the road that day. I have followed her through the years from a farm in Africa, to a hilly seaside town in Greece, from Auschwitz to Oklahoma, Lyme Regis to Madison County, from a courtroom in Australia to an editor’s desk in New York City. She possesses the ability to create another person so completely one would expect even her fingerprints to have changed in the process. She brings people to life in such a transcendent fashion as to give one a real glimpse into the inner workings of other minds, other souls. In doing so, she enables us to understand our collective humanity just a wee bit better.
How does that happen? I am grateful for the mystery. I don’t want to know the secret to how it’s done. I am just grateful Meryl Streep does it.

34 comments:

  1. ditto! - Postcards from the Edge - one of my all time favorite films.

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  2. I agree she is one of the all time great actresses. What she has is the ability to make each character she plays very believable - so many of the well-known actors/actresses always seem to play themselves.

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  3. Well said Pamela - she is brilliant isn't she? xv

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  4. I recently saw Sophie's Choice from beginning to end. I'd seen bits and pieces through the years but never the entire movie in one sitting. Amazing. She really is a treasure.

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  5. I totally agree with you, all her roles have been amazing. Saw her in Mama Mia recently.

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  6. I share your admiration for Meryl Streep and for the mystery. I, too, don't want to know!

    xo Isa

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  7. What an amazing talent she is. As campy as it was, I loved her in "Death Becomes Her"...

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  8. the best! what I am really loving is how she brings her daughter with her and they have the best relationship. they are always looking at each other - even when the other isn't. it's an amazing relationship - for an actress whom by trade is egocentric - she doesn't appear to be at all.

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  9. Pamela, I too am an unabashed fan of hers. Thank goodness there still are a few greats in the acting world.

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  10. Have you seen Doubt? I am dying to see it but didn't get to the theaters before the Oscars. My husband is obsessed with her and I have to admit - she is amazing. We never made it to The Reader either but that book was incredible. Can't wait to see that too.

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  11. She is a true actress -- it's not Meryl Strep playing a roll -- she becomes whomever she is portraying! Not many can do that!

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  12. She is a great actress. I was watching with a bowl of popcorn too!

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  13. she's wonderful, she has the ability only really great actors like Alex Guiness have of somehow changing who they are. She seems like she'd be fun to have at a dinner party too.

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  14. She is my all-time favorite. I've seen all of her movies-some several times. She is such a true to life woman. Very down-to-earth, natural and grounded. I know that exact Time cover- we still have it filed away. Thank you for remembering one of the quiet ones~

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  15. I adore Meryl. She has her own personal section in my little DVD library.

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  16. Meryl Streep is an amazing actress, doubt looked like a great film too, it's def on my to watch list! :)

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  17. yes she is a great actress. I was at an amateur theatre production once where just a background character was gesturing to another while the main characters were speaking. Those gestures said so much of the history of the character that the person had adopted.

    I asked a friend who the person was and was told that they were a professional who had been helping the others. I think Meryl Streep is like that- she has a quality which makes you believe in the totality of the character she is playing.

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  18. She is my favorite actress of all time.

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  19. Meryl's my fav, too, Pamela! Great pic of her, by the way. She looked so beautiful at the awards with her hair swept up, didn't she? The first movie I ever saw her in was "Sophie's Choice." Stellar.

    By the way, I adore the pic of you and Edward on the sidebar taken from behind you!

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  20. She has a gift. Like you have Pamela, with your words...and Edward with his charm.

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  21. What more can one say about Meryl Streep?...She is superb in every movie I've seen of hers...I am reluctant to see "Mama Mia" tho...I can't even imagine it being very good - have you seen it?

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  22. Your Oscar night tradition sounds fab. I watched them this year, for the first time in many years. I have seen Meryl Streep in a few movies and the power of her longevity in what is a notoriously fickle industry, is truly amazing. I quite liked her in Mamma Mia last summer, her energy level was dazzling!

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  23. She's one of my favorites too. I think I'll watch The French Lieutenant's Woman again - it's been years.

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  24. Her voice has always been strong and hypnotic.
    She is a woman of stature and strength.

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  25. I so enjoy Meryl Street too. She is brilliant.
    I have just caught u p with your recent posts. I say again you are such a brilliant and descriptive writer Pamela.

    Yes I am loving my iPod and know there is so much more scope yet than what I am at present experiencing. One step at a time.
    I noticed a link to Stephen Fry on your blog for the first time. I have book marked it. He is a funny man but with such a brilliant brain. I like him too. One time Prince Charles phoned him and he thought it was someone messing around and he made remarks to such, but it was actually Prince Charles.

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  26. i love that photo of her too. she is my favorite actress for sure! i never fail to be amazed at what she can do and how she can make me feel.

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  27. What a lovely tribute to an amazing actress.

    Kim x

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  28. I couldn't agree more, she is one of our greatest actors in this generation and so versatile.

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  29. Isn't she wonderful? My most favorite actress. I still believe "Sophie's Choice" was her most magnificent role

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  30. Streep is so lovely. She get's better with age.

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  31. I was also so impressed that early in her film career she did so few interviews with the press. One never quite knew who the 'real' Meryl Streep might be. Even now, having seen her interviewed so often, she can still remain a mystery.

    My other favourite thing about her (I think she said this during an Oprah interview for "The Hours") was that she had, on the evening before the first day of work, quit every film she'd ever been cast in. She told stories of directors begging her to come to work the next day, but she was SURE that she'd NEVER be able to act. She seemed so honestly un-aware of her own brilliance.

    And I think my other favourite part is - - honestly, for most of her life, she's been a soccer mom. With an amazing film career worked in.

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