Friday, May 27, 2016

Accents Mastered updated

I kind of forgot about this section for a while but now that Florence Foster Jenkins has hit theaters (not near me grrr), it's time I updated the list to include Meryl's latest dialectal accomplishment.  In her most recent film, it seems apparent that she has donned what one would call a "mid-Atlantic" accent.  Wikipedia describes this as a "blend of American and British accents...not a vernacular accent typical of any location, but a consciously acquired one."  The accent was actually taught to upper middle class Americans beginning in the early 20th century.   Picture what Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis sound like.  You wonder, "are they using a British accent?"  Nope, it's a manufactured one popular in the theater and with elites.  Florence Foster Jenkins no-doubt fit into that sub-group.  Below you'll find the updated list for Meryl's screen work (at least those I'm able to put a finger on).

The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979)--Tennessean
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)--British (specifically Received Pronunciation)
Sophie's Choice (1982)--Polish (in English and German)
Silkwood (1983)--Texan
Plenty (1985)--British (I think it's also RP)
Out of Africa (1985)--Danish
Ironweed (1987)--Irish-American
A Cry in the Dark (1988)--New Zealand (with strong layers of Australian)
The Bridges of Madison County (1995)--Italian (Meryl calls it Iowatalian)
Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)--Northern Irish
Angels in America (2003)--Yiddish and Bronx (in separate roles)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)--Midwestern
Doubt (2008)--Bronx
Julie & Julia (2009)--Boston Brahmin
The Iron Lady (2011)--British (again RP)
August: Osage County (2013)--Oklahoman
The Homesman (2014)--Central Plains Midwestern
Suffragette (2015)--British (Received Pronunciation)
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)--Mid-Atlantic


  1. More specifically, Meryl pulls off a Northern Irish accent in Dancing at Lughnasa. Worth noting as it differs greatly from the southern dialect

    1. Ooo thanks for the correction! I've edited above.

    2. Hm this isn't strictly Northern Irish as Donegal is technically Southern Ireland. There is no one generic Irish accent though so Meryl really achieved the correct dialect for the region and era the film was set in, which was so convincing even native people didn't realise she wasn't genuinely Irish!

    3. I've heard a few people say that about Meryl pulling off the accent. Originally I had wondered if it was maybe not very good because Streep for the first time had a dialect coach tell her she wasn't getting certain words right.

    4. Not at all. As a native I can vouch for how convincing she was. She would never have settled for less than perfect anyway, the voice coach proves how much prep she's willing to do!