Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lynn Redgrave, in Georgy Girl
approximately 61 minutes and 48 seconds
62.8% of the film

The film
A homely but vivacious young woman dodges the amorous attentions of her father's middle-aged employer while striving to capture some of the glamorous life of her swinging London roommate.

You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.

Lynn Redgrave is the force behind the film, because otherwise it would feel even more boring than it ends up looking. I’ve heard people saying otherwise, but I do believe it’s her personal charm that makes this dated film become watchable.

Lynn Redgrave as Georgy
This was just the second time in Oscar history that we had sisters competing against eachother in the same year in the Best Actress category. In both cases, all actresses were under 30 and, what makes this competition more interesting, both Lynn and Vanessa were nominated for comedic performances – resulting in an even stranger case, considering Oscar’s view on comedy in this category. While Vanessa’s nomination might be seen as category filler, such is not the case for Lynn Redgrave: her performance in Georgy Girl was the only one giving Liz Taylor some competition for the win.

Lynn plays Georgy, a less-attractive 22 year old girl, but with a big personality and a joyful spirit. She is very childish, but also full of life, kind and maternal. She falls in love with the boyfriend of her arrogant roommate, just as she’s being courted by her father’s employer, a rich old man. Her life will change, as she finds an unexpected purpose. It’s a comedy role, but with dramedy elements to it. Lynn herself was about 22 when the film was made, so she definitely seems to be exactly what the film required.

Lynn’s biggest asset for this film was (what I imagine it to be) her natural charisma. She is very likeable, very sweet and you feel for her, especially when treated badly by others. In a way, she’s like a 1960s British ugly Betty, constantly winning our sympathy. Georgy is also undoubtedly the heart of the film and the only character to really care about. The audience identifies with Georgy and that’s always a great advantage for the actress creating the character.

The silly, pure comedic scenes are the best for Lynn. She might not have the experience for complicated stuff, but the screwball comedy works best for her. There’s a one minute scene with her taking an Italian lesson from a recorder, which sounds ridiculous by itself (she’s actually having dinner with the man’s taped voice) but it’s crazy funny and Lynn succeeds in every aspect of it, also suggesting the loneliness of the character.

Because, while it’s nice to smile and laugh, Lynn also manages to be very touching in the more dramatic scenes, which (however, unfortunately) never get intense enough for her to really show some range. But she’s so natural that she can pick up where the screenplay fails; her performance is so honest, so down-to-earth, that you immediately connect to her and you want Georgy to succeed.

I have difficulty finding the perfect rating for this performance. While it’s funny, it has lots of heart and even the singing moment manages to work, one could easily argue that it’s just a 22 year old girl acting silly and childish in a film that allows her to go to such places and in a role that doesn’t require heavy acting experience. As I’m writing about it, I am changing my mind and, also considering it’s Christmas Day and considering I found Lynn to be really charming, I’m going with ; to me, she was easily the highlight of the film.


joe burns said...

I'm guessing she'll be second.

What did you think of James Mason?

Alex in Movieland said...

I thought Mason was ok for the film, but it was a very light performance because of the screenplay and how its character is used. Considering the experience of the actor, it was probably routine work.

joe burns said...

What did you think of him in A Star Is Born?

dinasztie said...

I totally agree with you on everything. She always won my sympathy. I thought that Georgy was a fascinating character.

Alex in Movieland said...

I barely remember him in that film.

I know Fredric March is my favorite Norman Maine, that's for sure. :)

Nathanael Hood said...

Hmmmmmmmm....I've been meaning to watch this film for some time now...

I guess it should be sooner than later...

Anyway, hey Alex! I really like your blog. I've added a link to it on my own blog. I would love to know what you think about it! Here's the link: