Saturday, January 08, 2011

[this post is a part of Stinkylulu’s Supporting Actress Blogathon; to find out more about it or to participate click immediately on Stinkylulu]

There were at least three performances of Naomi Watts released in 2010, none of which gained too much love from the critics. However, I was completely captivated by her performance as a cold-hearted seductive lawyer in the fabulous indie film Mother and Child.

Naomi Watts, as Elizabeth in Mother and Child

One might actually argue that this is a leading performance, due to the three-separate-stories structure that dominates the first part of the film. Mother and Child is a story about adoption and talks about three different women, each of them representing a different perspective on the subject: a woman obsessing on a decision made years ago, the child she gave up for adoption who’s now a successful lawyer and a woman desperately trying to adopt.

Naomi plays Elizabeth, a beautiful, confident, seductive woman who’s made a great career for herself, but who decided on a rule of not getting emotionally attached to anyone, most likely due to the lack of love from her childhood. As a baby, she was given up for adoption, but her not-so-happy childhood made her become a woman who’s completely against the idea of a family or any kind of stability and long term commitment.

In the first part of the film we see her as a seductive woman, who plays with men and has no guilty conscience about destroying somebody’s marriage. She is determined, aware of her charms and finds pleasure in sexdates that always put her in a domineering, in control, situation. Naomi, of course, is great at playing this side of the character, combining both the flirtatious nature of Elizabeth and her coldness and distant way of treating those around her.

With one single look, she can easily turn into the bitchiest woman, yet always giving us the feeling there’s more to this character than we might’ve thought. Naomi creates her in such an interesting way, that I was constantly curious to see what’s gonna happen to Elizabeth, as I was anticipating a change in the character.

And the change does happen, as a completely unexpected pregnancy transforms Elizabeth into a totally different woman, liberating her in a way from her childhood trauma and finally giving her something/someone to love and to protect, someone who might love her unconditionally and become her reason for existing.

With great talent, Naomi makes the change completely believable and delivers an even more likeable Elizabeth. Because I don’t want to spoil the film for those who haven’t seen it, I’ll stop here with my writing. But I do have to give Naomi credit for her acting in what is by far the most touching, heartbreaking scene in a 2010 film for me: the elevator scene, with Elizabeth and a blind girl that she befriends – in a scene that lasts less than a minute, Naomi manages to gives us so much without saying a single word, making this film moment completely and undeniably heartbreaking.


Robert said...

AH! Thank you for picking Naomi! This is one of my favorite supporting turns of the year as well - that elevator scene was just devastating and her change throughout the film was so convincing. Great post. :)

Richard said...

Thank you very much for writing about the perpetual underrated and snubbed talent of Hollywood Naomi Watts who has given 3 best leading performances this year in "Mother and Child", "Fair Game" and "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger", all Oscar-worthy performances and all better than those currently being hyped imo. As a reminder, this is the 11th year of the HFPA (the so-called Golden Globes) continuous snub of her, criminally.!/pages/Support-Naomi-Watts-Against-the-HFPA-Petition/112541182151719

Alex in Movieland said...

well, it's good you're passionate :) I would've actually signed your petition, but I'm one of the 5 people in the world, I think, that don't have a facebook profile yet.

also, normally I would go a bit nuts about someone copy/pasting my stuff on their blog without asking me in advance, but u did it the right way, with source and everything :) do ask, in case there'll be a next time.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

She is lovely here - I love that she uses her face so much to act. It's annoying when pretty actresses must go delgam to act well, but Naomi uses all her beauty and physicality to deliver a beautiful performance.