Meryl Streep Goes to Washington
Maybe it’s just me, but Meryl Streep has been racking major screentime portraying strong women on the right-wing side of things.
I’m a big fan of Streep’s — so big that I once almost watched The Bridges of Madison County. Almost. She’s that good. She can play anybody and she’s so convincing that whenever I watch her performances I almost forget I find her irritating in real life interviews. Almost.
There aren’t many good things I can say about her new film, Robert Redford’s mawkish Lions for Lambs, but I will say I’m pleased Tom Cruise is back to preening mode (he’s at his priggish best in A Few Good Men and Magnolia), and that Streep has stopped playing scary Republicans.
In 2003 she did vocal work for the PBS series Freedom: A History of Us, giving voice to Abigail Adams, first wife of second U.S president John Adams of the Federalist party. The next year she played a cagey, incestuous (ew) senator in The Manchurian Candidate. Her character was a Democrat, but clearly right-of-centre and even more clearly a hawk.
Earlier this year Streep played a government official who supports the use of torture in Rendition. She was almost too good there, her tics too theatrical and calculated, her character too clearly in the wrong. But again, she scared the crap out of me and Jake Gyllenhaal too. Granted, that’s not a hard to thing to do. Jake always looks like he’s full of fear and fresh out of crap.
Streep is back now in Lions for Lambs, this time as a nebbish journalist at odds with a dangerously delusional Republican congressman. I was surprised — I totally expected her to ride the right-wing until she was playing Bush himself. (Which might have been kind of cool, now that I think about.)
Many celebrities make their party allegiances or lack thereof well-known, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a political interview with Streep. Is she Republican or Democrat in real life? Steve Colbert or Anne Coulter? George Clooney or LL Cool J?
Either way, I’m really glad she’s done scaring me.
Until, of course, I decide to watch Bridges of Madison County. I don’t think any Hollywood liberal could save me from that kind of shock and awe.