Monday, September 5, 2016

Accents Mastered updated

I watched Prime a couple weeks ago and within a minute of Meryl's first scene I realized that I've erred in not including this film as one of her accents mastered.  It doesn't seem like a huge change from Streep's natural voice, but there is definitely a bit of New York in there.  I had every intention of adding the title to this section but am just getting around to it now.

Doing a little searching I figured out that she's doing some form of a Manhattan accent.  Originally I googled "Jewish New York accent" to see if anything specific came up.  As there isn't exactly a "Jewish" accent, it's likely that Yiddish in some way shaped the language of the Jewish community in New York.  As Lisa Metzger lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, we're going with "Upper West Side."

The updated list is as follows:

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)
Prime (2005)--Manhattan (specifically Upper West Side)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)--Upper 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. What would you have pegged her Maria Calls as? *sniffle*

    1. I think it's Greek-America English. *double sniffle*

  2. Sorry to bring some not-so-good news, but this item upset me today: about Meryl being miscast in Florence Foster Jenkins and having “wrecked” August: Osage County for making the character “sad and misunderstood.”

    I know this is just one writer’s opinion. I guess for certain actors — even the great ones — either people get them or they don’t. But I’m still dismayed whenever I read anti-Streep comments that are unsubstantiated, inaccurate, glib, or just mean. Or have I become too enamored of her that I can no longer objectively view her from the other side of the fence?

    I’ve gotten used to critics disparaging Meryl’s performances for being “so technical.” In one or two interviews, Meryl has addressed that “issue” with her characteristic eloquence and self-awareness. Now I wonder what she would think about this criticism that her “impulse to be always lovable and amusing is her one and only weakness.” But what about A Cry in the Dark, Plenty, The Manchurian Candidate, or Marvin’s Room? Really, “always lovable and amusing”? What is this writer talking about?

  3. Mick LaSalle can say anything he wants but if it was Patti Lupone like he suggested, who's gonna watch the movie. This is so laughable.

  4. I read this too and really take exception. I think Meryl herself said she desires to bring a true understanding of what makes people who they are and that shines through in her performances. She quite rightly observes very few people are innately wicked or beyond redemption. This writer seems to think a bland 2D character who is completely unlikeable is something to be appreciated.

    Maybe the Violet Weapon he describes works well in stage but of course Meryl will bring her own psychological understanding of the character ti her interpretation. What Meryl can achieve like no other is a very subtle understanding of the women she plays. Yes Violet is messed up and mean but she's also a lot more. She's a product of a hard life and lots of pain. I think the performance he describes would gave "torpedoed" the film much more. Anyone decent actor can play a charicature!

    Plus what's the point of just coping the stage version and not adding more to it? That's boring. And I personally found Meryl's Florence to be dignified and worthy of respect.

    We have to face that someone who is held by many as the best is bound to be subject to scorn and unfair criticism. All we can do us appreciate her work on its merits and if we see things other people don't then it's their loss!

  5. Streep and Abrams bringing The Nix to TV!- Jamie

  6. Mick has long been a Streep admirer until August when he lambasted her rather unfairly in my opinion (even though I didn't like her August performance for very different reasons). Since then, he has criticized her from Ricki to Florence...something must have caused him to switch gears altogether. Maybe something personal, maybe not. Anyway, what he said about Meryl (miscast, wrecked the movie) was totally off-putting if not devoid of any concrete analysis. David.

  7. Meryl miscast? I got two answers for you, Mr. LaSalle:

    1) “Excuse me. Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice.”

    2) Meryl Streep could have — should have — played Christian Grey. And she would have been the perfect choice.

    “Ana [in Fifty Shades of Grey] bears a strong resemblance to Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada; and, in fact, Christian Grey's office is very like Meryl Streep's inner sanctum. It is the greatest missed opportunity of the decade that Meryl Streep was not also cast to play Christian Grey – only she has the poise to pull it off.”

    As the not-so-lovable-but-very-amusing Miranda Priestly would say, “That’s all.” ;-)