On the recommendation of my boyfriend, I have decided not to limit my endless talk about Meryl Streep to friends and family alone. A blog, incidentally, was the answer. So thank you, Joe, for setting this up for me. I doubt his intentions are completely altruistic, as having an outlet for my thoughts about the work of this great actor should hopefully spare his ear on occasion. Unfortunately for him it'll probably increase the frequency with which he hears about/watches all things related to Meryl. What a trooper.
So why the weird/lame (fill in the blank) obsession with Mary Louise Streep? My interest started in 2003 during winter break of my first year of grad school. Had some extra time on my hands, and as an avid film watcher/film award follower, I wanted to understand what the big deal was about Meryl. "Greatest living actress." "Best of all time." "Most Oscar-nominated woman ever." Up to that point my exposure to Meryl was limited to Death Becomes Her and a failed attempt a few years earlier at sitting through a slow-moving Out of Africa. So, I rented the film for which she won her only lead actress Academy Award: Sophie's Choice. Here I saw an American actress from a middle class upbringing in New Jersey convince me that she was a Polish concentration camp survivor. She spoke Polish, English with a Polish accent, and German with a Polish accent. What struck me was that she did indeed convince me. She suspended my disbelief of her as this person, as she subsequently does so with each varied role.
I understand the challenge of accomplishing such a feat. Although I enjoy several films by Julia Roberts, for example, I always know I'm watching Julia Roberts. For me, Meryl Streep has no match. Some come close: Robert De Niro, Katharine Hepburn, Al Pacino, Bette Davis, Jack Nicholson. However, looking back over the body of work Meryl has built, with all its variance, complexity and difficulty, I believe it's the best an actor can do.
Of course I need some order to this blog, and as a newbie I'm not certain how I'll manage my posts, but here are a few ideas of what I expect to tackle: film reviews (duh), Oscar watch, discussion about her colleagues' views on her (including directors, actors, writers), director's commentary reviews and what she has in store for upcoming projects. I will attempt and at times likely fail at not making this all seem like another weird star-fucker rant. Bear with me and I hope you enjoy reading.