There. I’ve said it for all the world to see. Just like my post was the turning point in John Edwards’ campaign, so also will this very public announcement seal the fate of Ms. Streep. I only hope she’s saved sufficient sums from her past works to survive. Actually, Streep may be a quite likable and nice person – I wouldn’t know; it’s just her acting I don’t like.
I acknowledge many people (some of whom I respect) think she’s one of the most talented actors of our time. In my opinion, however, Meryl Streep doesn’t act. She mimicks – and I don’t think very well. Last night Don & I watched Julie & Julia, in which Streep played Julia Child, the famous chef. I remember Julia Child from my younger days, remember that distinctive voice, persona and physical presence. Streep’s characterization was a caricature of that unique woman. Streep tried too hard.
Contrast Streep’s performance as Child with Frank Langella’s portrayal of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. In Frost/Nixon, Langella didn’t try to mimic Nixon’s every mannerism, although he clearly borrowed from Tricky Dick. He didn’t try to impersonate Nixon the way Streep tried to impersonate Child. Indeed, I I think Dan Aykroyd did an equal, if not better, job in his old Saturday Night Live skit replayed in the movie. Streep’s characterization is always of the Streep playing the Child, but in a superficial way that never lets the viewer forget that it’s Streep, and not Child.
My lack of enthusiasm for Streep isn’t limited to Julie & Julia – it extends to virtually every Streep movie I’ve seen (with the possible exception of Sophie’s Choice, the first Streep film I saw).
Streep is incapable of subtlety, whether the role be that of Child, a nun, a magazine editor, or a mother-of-the-bride to be on a Greek island (a movie I really, really wanted to like, as I adored the stage version of Mama Mia.)
Overacting, not acting, is Streep’s trademark. Now if only I could get anyone to agree with me . . . .