The answer to the title's question could be harder to answer than you might think. When people are surprised to learn that I have a blog about Meryl Streep, the typical question is "what do you like so much about her?" It's easy to say I like her movies, or just think that she's a great actress. But of course it goes further than that. The combination of skill and being able to tap into the humanity of characters, and then somehow managing to display that in a way that draws in viewers is probably the grandest appeal for me. I love her versatility. I love her humor. I love that she's a thinker, a person of the world. I love that she doesn't always do a great job of pretending she's not the best. I love that she sees people.
So when I came across this new video that was posted Friday, I was so pleased to see someone cogently break down what it really is about Meryl that makes her such a big deal to a lot of people. You have to watch:
Kudos to 'Be Kind Rewind' for this great video. We get a good background on beginnings in the theater and how it all went back to the fact that she's just a very skilled actor. People can scoff at her frequent implementation of accents, but I agree with Meryl that if you're playing someone else, how can you do that and always sound like yourself? Also, as she says, "if you capture someone's speech, you capture them."
One other thing I really enjoyed about this video is the comparison done between Meryl and some of her peers. We all know there's is always a paucity of great roles for women, especially over the age of 40. With Meryl's versatility, she's managed to avoid being typecast. I've heard her say that this was a conscious effort on her part, so as to maintain a enduring career. Of course she first has to possess the ability to perform in a variety of roles, but she's never been boxed into "the Meryl Streep role," with maybe the exception of someone who often plays a character who doesn't sound like herself.
Overall a great take on Meryl as a person and as an actor. She's carved out a niche for herself as both a revered artist as well as a box office powerhouse. Here's hoping she's got even more up her sleeve as she enters her eighth decade!