55.2% of the film
I had the best of intentions while watching this performance. I knew it is considered one of the worst wins this category has ever had (I’ve heard Mary Pickford holds the title for Coquette). And you know what: it probably is! I can understand the nomination; better said: I can accept it. But the win itself was not a successful decision and the future profiles will prove it, I guess. It’s not awful as some said and because the screenplay is rather bad, you need to look carefully at her performance catching nuances that the story itself did not kill.
The comedic department is not where she succeeds. For the performance to work as comedy, she would’ve needed a better screenplay: good lines, great timing, better construction of the character. She doesn’t get all this and it damages our perception: if the film is meant to be funny, so should the leading performance. But what I did get from Loretta’s comedic interpretation was just one laughter. One: when she says Yaaa and hits the guy in the head with the log. There really should’ve been more.
So when Loretta noticed that the comedy won’t save her, she attacked the performance from the dramatic side, doing so almost entirely in the second half of the film. Her biggest asset? The eyes! Beautiful ok, but expressive especially in key dramatic moments. Like the scene with her father towards the end, when she realizes that she should’ve fought when done an injustice! Good scene and an important acting moment. I didn’t go nuts for her playing the Swedish accent all the way, but I was warmed up by the kindness in her eyes, or the regret or the nervousness of being in love.
There is a scene before that one: Katrin is in the library and the butler gives her a speech to read (she needs it for a night school thing). It’s a beautiful scene because the speech is beautiful. But Loretta balances it very nicely, underlining the smart message of what she’s reading. And she also makes it believable and natural, as she herself discovers the meaning of those words at the same time as she’s reading them as properly as she can. Again: the eyes and her natural way of being do the work.
Loretta’s performance is hardly Best Actress winner material; but she’s not the only one fitting in this category. However, upon a second viewing I learned to appreciate much more the small elements of greatness in her performance: not in the flashy Swedish accent or the boring humor, but in the quiet scenes where we finally see some heart and (almost) true emotions. It’s mostly where the screenplay doesn’t f*ck it up and Loretta, using acting experience, is able to give us a warm, natural character. So it’s , but NOT 1.5. It’s a 2 alright, because in some ways she rises to the challenge.