For those who have noticed, I have almost exclusively dedicated my writing on this site to a series of articles tentatively titled the "Unsung Heroes" series. With it I try to bring attention to actors who have been greatly ignored due to their more noble attributions or more humble attitudes about the profession of acting. These are the actors who only come out when it's time to shine in their work. However, because they don't "Play the game", they find themselves always missing out on the awards and the recognition minus actual professional writers who keep their praise alive. However, I am greatly ashamed to say, that I had not covered an actress yet. I was waiting to find one to speak of and when it came down to it, none spoke louder than Miss Jessica Chastain, a late bloomer who started to receive accolade nominations in her 30's, starting with a Best Supporting Actress award in 2011's "The Help" and another for Best Actress in 2012 for 'Zero Dark Thirty". Now I'm going to be frank with those who read this article and I hope you will respect my opinion as I would yours...Chastain should have fucking won in 2012.
See when people talk about Jennifer Lawrence being the next Meryl Streep I basically turn to the side and start laughing. Now it's not because I don't get why people like her so much. She has an ability to convey emotional on-screen...but see that's where her ability ends for me. She's good at being the emotional pity party. Every movie this crazy woman who feels wronged and angry at the world. Sometimes the filmmakers make her look remorseful, other times flat out crazy...but that's the work of the filmmakers in my opinion and not her. Because strip the hair dye away, for me, it's the same role over and over again. A bitter woman who wants something and will bitch for two hours to get it. Agree with me or not, hear my defense why I, daresay it, rant about this.
I watched "Zero Dark Thirty" kind of expecting to hate it. All the crazy hate for the film's opening waterboarding scene (Which was greatly exaggerated) made me think it be this pro-violence film...it wasn't. And what helped was you had a lead character whose quest for justice gave it meaning. Her inexperience which evolves over the film as she becomes determined to find Osama Bin Laden. The film was smart, realistic, and dared to capture this woman's struggle vividly, culminating in the final scene of the movie where she sits in a plane with Bin Laden's dead body and, for the first and only time of the film, breaks down in tears with the realization her journey was over. Chastain didn't need to oversell her character's pain to be great, she sold her personality and her motivation.
I watch a Chastain performance and I notice something vastly different in her roles...she's playing an adult. Someone I can imagine running into. But more than that she plays characters of vastly different perspectives whether it's a mafia-born wife in "A Most Violent Year" (For which you definitely deserved a third Oscar nomination AT LEAST) who feels it's okay to justify violence, an aspiring scientist with a childlike twinkle in her eye in "Interstellar", or a nutsy (And I bet you incestuous) sister in the upcoming "Crimson Peak". And, yet, no Oscar win because, let's face it, she wasn't in the most popular YA adaptation of the year to get a career boost. And that's why overall. She never has sold out and won her place as a fine actress through sheer choice of roles and her humble attitude. She's never once made a bad joke about an actress or felt the need to act idiotic to get you to like her. And, frankly folks, that's a damn shame and a blessed rarity.
But enough of me being a fanboy, the bare bone fact is she is exceptionally versatile, intelligent, and committed to this profession. Although I have to admit, when she mentioned skipping classes in high school to read Shakespeare in her car that probably was what did it for me. While I hope she joins Marvel as a villain like she talked about I kind of hope she doesn't at the same time because it means she gets to simply focus on this excellent work she keeps doing. To me, Chastain is the next Meryl Streep and I even see similarities in their roles. But that's just me. I prefer subtly in acting and find she succeeds better at that than most popular actresses of this newer breed we've been introduced to lately.
With four films last year and a handful coming out this year, I find myself excited to see what she does next. Just saying, but she looks like she's going to steal the show in "Crimson Peak"...and possibly a couple souls. We'll find out next weekend!