By disappointment media Staff
Note: Due to repeated infractions against disappointment media's strict anti-gatekeeping policy, all Netflix titles have been blacklisted from coverage on the site for a period of 30 days. This includes mentions in this article.
Sean Boelman's Pick: Catherine Deneuve, The Truth
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda’s first film not in the Japanese language, The Truth, may be more about the phenomenally talented Juliette Binoche’s character, but it is Catherine Deneuve’s performance as her mother that absolutely steals the show. Playing an aging actress dealing with her own mortality while experiencing family struggles, this is a shining performance in an otherwise low-key film. However, Deneuve’s turn still has all of the subtlety and grace of which audiences know her to be capable of. In terms of supporting roles, Deneuve’s is on the meatier side, giving her plenty of both time and material to deliver something completely powerful. Also impressive is the way in which she lights up the screen with co-star Binoche, embodying the mother-daughter relationship in a way that is both completely believable and entirely empathetic.
Camden Ferrell's Pick: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
When news of a new Borat movie surfaced, it was no surprise that it ended up becoming a cultural event that spoke volumes about the state of America. However, few expected to see a surprise breakthrough performance in Maria Bakalova. Playing Borat's daughter, Tutar, Bakalova fits perfectly into the chaotic and funny environment of the film. She holds her own extremely well alongside Sacha Baron Cohen, and she even tends to outshine him in some of the film's scenes. She has amazing chemistry with her co-star and a natural talent for the shock comedy in the film. Her performance also serves as the emotional core of the film, and she provides a heart to the film that wasn't expected but much appreciated. After her hilarious performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, it's safe to say we'll be seeing her plenty in years to come.
Dan Skip Allen's Pick: Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite
Saoirse Ronan came onto the acting scene with a bang in 2007 with her star-making performance in Atonement. She would later receive three more Academy Award nominations for Brooklyn, Lady Bird, and Little Women. In Ammonite, she teams with the also prolific actress, Kate Winslet, a six-time Academy Award nominee and one-time winner (for The Reader). The pair play two women who are forced to live together because of melancholia. Romans character is not feeling good so her husband leaves her with Winslet's character to see if she can somehow get her out of the doldrums she is in. They go for walks on the beach and look for fossils. They start becoming closer as the film moves forward. This is a little different for Ronan because she usually plays more upbeat characters. The solemn nature of her character requires a lot of subtlety, taking full advantage of her range as an actress.
Sarah Williams's Pick: Vasilisa Perelygina, Beanpole
Released in the dead of January before chaos broke out, Beanpole is still one of the finest films, even if this had been a less odd year. Vasilisa Perelygina's role as a former soldier and mother who has lost her child and been sterilized to fight is one with a deep humanity within it, even with every twisted desire her character has to try to fill that hole left by the death of her young son. Perelygina fills the character of Masha with life. A sequence in which she tries on a new green dress and spins to see the light hit the fabric is one of the most moving in the film. As Masha spins faster and faster, she laughs, gleeful, like a child. It's a small moment of pure humanity in a film that is otherwise so brutal, one that humanizes all the suffering around it.
Adam Donato's Pick: Anne Hathaway, The Witches
Flying under the radar due to its straight to streaming release, The Witches was surprisingly good and Anne Hathaway carries the movie. In terms of fun villains, Hathaway channels her inner Streep from The Devil Wears Prada. It’s easy to tell how much fun she is having. Also, it’s nice to see Zemeckis not have his own ambition get in the way of her performance. Hathaway is truly terrifying in this movie, while also being so over the top evil that the audience can laugh at her. For anyone that read the book, it’s as faithful of an adaptation that fans could ask for. The ballroom scene alone sells the movie. Hathaway gives the most terrifying speech about her resentment for children, and it is at the edge of your seat material. It’s almost difficult calling this a supporting performance as she is front and center. Still, what a fun villain to hate.
What were your favorite performances of 2020? Let us know!
The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.