Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shoulda Coulda Wouldas #8: "Six Degrees of Separation"

This is my eighth and possibly final "Shoulda Coulda Woulda."  I had originally thought that this category could be limitless, but I've since realized that I've exhausted the possibilities for what I'd like to cover as it pertains to films Meryl could've realistically done during her career.  This will all make a little more sense within the next couple of months when I do a sort of special retrospective of her film career from a "could've been" perspective.  Anyway...

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 badWell, 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.    


  1. I enjoy this movie and it totally is a comedy! "I feel like Scheherezade!"

    I'm a Stockard fan, for sure. She is SO good in West Wing. Come to think of it, I wish meryl had more political roles... She would be so great as Kevin Spaceys role in House of Cards.

    Any Shoulda Coulda Wouldas for Male roles?

    1. Haven't really thought of any for male roles. I'm sure I could figure that out but since I'm doing the revisionist history piece I'm using the shoulda coulda wouldas as more of a group of realistic(?) options for what may have been done in place of some of the shittier films.