“Let no one take away the wrinkles from my forehead, obtained through amazement at the beauty of life; or those of my mouth, which show how much I laughed and how much I kissed; nor the dark circles of my eyes: in them is the memory of how much I cried. They are mine and they are beautiful. Meryl Streep.
After first steps in the theater, promising debuts in the cinema, notably in “Voyage au bout de l’enfer” by Michel Cimino (1978), Meryl Streep quickly and naturally built an exemplary career forcing respect, admiration and respect universal. With a prominent presence on screens since the mid-1970s, and after being crowned “Queen of Musicals”, the singer and actress has played choice roles in films by the greatest directors, including: Woody Allen (“Manhattan”, 1979), Sidney Pollack (“Out of Africa”, 1985), Robert Zemeckis (“Death Suits You So Well”, 1992), Clint Eastwood (“On the Road to Madison”, 1995), Steven Spielberg (“Pentagon Papers”, 2017), Wes Anderson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”, 2009)…
Rewarded for the first time by the Oscar for best actress for her sublime interpretation in the film “Sophie’s choice” by Alan J. Pakula (1983), she was able to win a second Oscar for her magnificent interpretation of the role of Margaret Thatcher in the film “The Iron Lady” by Phyllida Lloyd (1911). Its recognition by the public, critics and professionals has no equal and its various consecrations by the most prestigious festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Palm Springs…), the Césars and the Golden Globes have been crowned by The Presidential Medal of Freedom with which he was decorated by US President Barack Obama in 1914.
AN EXEMPLARY CAREER
Meryl Streep, hardened by the theater then perfected by the cinema, is an actress of an incomparable original talent, having allowed her to build a unique exemplary career. The great directors with whom she has collaborated on several occasions have all confirmed her talent, like Sidney Pollack for whom “She is so direct, so honest, and therefore without bullshit. There was no shielding between her and me”.
Indeed, the roles that she was able to play were so endearing because sincerely interpreted, with great accuracy and in a tone of spontaneity that makes the character more real than life, down to the smallest details of her gestures. We realize this every time we look closely at the different way in which she makes her body move according to the build of the character she plays. The body of the actress is certainly the same, but she manages to model it differently depending on whether she borrows it from that of Sophie Zawistowski, Karen Silkwood, Karen Christence Dinesen Blixen, Francesca Johnson or Margaret Thatcher. There lies the essence of all the strength of his acting and all the secret that makes his characters so endearing. And that doesn’t change whether the character is real or purely fictional. I propose at the end of this chronicle to those among interested moviegoers, as an indication, a choice among the most famous films of this outstanding actress.
By way of confirmation, for the critic Samuel Blumenfeld, whose point of view I share (and here he speaks specifically of his brilliant interpretation of the role of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”) his interpretation “raises, according to the standards of the actress, usually. Marvelous then. She integrates in an astonishing way the gestures of her character, her tics of language, the slight movement of her lower lip when Thatcher had just spoken, the smile which seems to freeze, her impeccable savoir-vivre with her entourage, the brittle coldness which she demonstrated with her ministers” (“Meryl Streep, the iron actress”, Le Monde of 14.02.2012).
ENDLESS TALENT AND CHARISM
The immense talent of Meryl Streep, the basis of all the aura that has crowned her exemplary career, has been doubled and well consolidated by an incredible charisma that has always charmed and bewitched everyone around her. His affability, his availability and his great humanism are also well known. She confirmed this in a speech given at the reception of one of the nth awards received: “I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends. I look here and, you know, I see my life flashing before my eyes: my old friends, my new friends. It really is a great honor, but what means the most to me are the friendships, the love and the joy that we shared while making films together. My friends, thank you to all of you, deceased and present, for this inexplicably wonderful career.”
She is also well known for her humanitarian actions and in favor of human rights. On January 8, 2017, when receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 74th Golden Globes, Meryl Streep said, defending immigration and freedom of the press by denouncing the behavior of Donald Trump and his attitude towards a disabled New York Times reporter: “It broke my heart. I still can’t believe it because it’s not cinema, it’s real life. This instinct to humiliate that is put forward in public, by someone powerful, has an impact on everyone’s life because it becomes like an authorization to do the same. Disrespect calls for disrespect. Violence calls for violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose” (The Hollywood Reporter of 08.01.2017).
A SELECTION OF FILMS TO SEE
“Julia” by Fred Zinnemann (1977); “Journey to the End of Hell” by Michael Cimino (1978); “Manhattan” by Woody Allen (1979); “Kramer versus Kramer” by Robert Benton (1979); “The French Lieutenant’s Mistress” by Karel Reisz (1981); “Sophie’s Choice” by Alan J. Pakula (1982); “The Silkwood Mystery” by Mike Nichols (1983); “Out of Africa” by Sydney Pollack (1985); Hollywood Kisses by Mike Nichols (1990); “Death Suits You So Well” by Robert Zemeckis (1992); “On the Road to Madison” by Clint Eastwood (1995); “AI Artificial Intelligence” by Steven Spielberg (2001); “Adaptation” by Spike Jonze (2002); “The Iron Lady” by Phyllida Lloyd (2011); “Pentagon Papers” by Steven Spielberg (2017).