My current selection is 1993's Six Degrees of Separation. That was apparently quite the year, as three of my entries to this tag have been from '93. I've read on a couple of sites, including IMDb, that indicate that the film was at least on Meryl's radar, as she had enjoyed the play and was interested in playing the lead because she had worked with director Fred Schepisi in 1985's Plenty. Whether that's truly the case remains to be seen. Regardless, I've enjoyed this film since before I was a Meryl fan, so it's fun to consider her in Stockard Channing's role of Louisa "Ouisa" Kittredge.
The film revolves around Ouisa and her husband Flanders (Flan), two New York socialites encountered by imposter Paul, who attempts to schmooze his way into their enviable lives. What I like about this character is that on the surface she probably isn't too different from the real Meryl. Both are east coast sophisticates with a husband and children. The difference however arises from the fact that Ouisa lives a rather unexamined life. Day after day of eating out, attending weddings, parties, art shows, lunches. Wait, this is bad? Well, we're supposed to think it's shallow, boring and limited. So when Paul enters the picture, we see the endless array of social gatherings in the backdrop as they tell their anecdotal tale of the boy who deceptively infiltrated their social circle.
Slowly, Ouisa has realized that Paul's relationship to her and Flan wasn't just a trivial opportunity to get a few laughs and gasps around the dinner table. Although ultimately tragic, it was a very human experience that essentially woke her up to her own life. I don't know if we've really seen Meryl in something like this before. Stockard Channing was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, and interestingly, a Golden Globe for best performance in a musical or comedy. I guess I don't generally think of this as a comedy, but at a stretch, I suppose a dark comedy isn't an inaccurate description. Meryl wanted to try her hand at comedies in the early 90's. Perhaps this could've been a good addition to, if not replacement for, a handful of forgettable pictures from that period in her career . With the list of films I've covered in this section, five of the eight were released in the years spanning 1990-1993. Ugh. Seriously, what could've been.