David Edelstein is getting a lot of focus today but that’s because he’s done a holiday movie blowout, where he talks about many of the films upcoming. Meryl Streep is praised, along with Viola Davis for Doubt and here are other juicy tidbits worth reading. It’s interesting what he has to say though his reviews of Revolutionary Road and Benjamin Button seem to hover right in the middle. Here is what he says about Leonardo DiCaprio doing his very best work in Revolutionary Road:
Yet those vacillations are something to see. Unlike many child actors who‚Äôve made the successful transition to grown-up roles, DiCaprio hasn‚Äôt evolved in predictable ways‚Äîthere are no clear lines of demarcation. His boys were unusually centered, his adults unusually boyish. His wide face still carries some insulating baby-fat, like Elvis Presley‚Äôs and Bill Clinton‚Äôs (before the latest weight loss), and Mendes uses that insulation against him, sometimes cruelly: What was self-assured and spring-heeled in Titanic now looks dodgy. Mendes and Winslet push DiCaprio to places he has never been. At the height of her fury, April flays Frank, and both the character and the actor have nowhere to hide. DiCaprio loses his sure balance, his control, and has never been more vulnerable or electrifying: Winslet has forced him into the moment.
And about Winslet:
Well, she could force anyone into the moment. In Revolutionary Road, her emotions are too big for her face; she‚Äôs such an elastic actress, so in tune with her characters‚Äô feelings, that her features seem to expand or contract in every scene. Her movements are wary, overly tight, like a woman no longer at home in her body; and when she releases that tension and moves in on DiCaprio, it‚Äôs as if she‚Äôs finally able to breathe. There is a cost to that freedom: April demolishes the marriage to survive, yet she might not be equipped to survive its demolition. There isn‚Äôt a banal moment in Winslet‚Äôs performance‚Äînot a gesture, not a word. Is Winslet now the best English-speaking film actress of her generation? I think so.