Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making the Case for ‘Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress’!

Thanks to Josh over at TheCinematic Spectacle, I once again heard about an Blog-a-thon I wanted to be a part of.  Stevee over at CinematicParadox is hosting a Blog-a-thon inspired by films or performances that are not going to get the awards consideration they deserve.  When I saw this there was one name that instantly came to my mind and I knew what I had to do.

So, I present to you…

Seriously, can we make Greta Gerwig ‘a thing’?  I really want this to happen so badly.  Her Spirit snub was painful, considering that Stillman’s return to form was so exciting and her performance within it was astonishing to say the least, but I was overjoyed to see her nominated by the Detroit Film Critics, even though that means absolutely nothing.

I was introduced to Gerwig back in 2010, when she starred alongside Ben Stiller in Greenburg and landed a nomination from The Independent Spirit Awards and became the talk of the town for about a week and a half.  Everyone was smitten by her surprise performance, filled to the brim with sharp comedic timing and dramatic depth that grounded her character and made her feel so richly human.  When I got Damsels in Distress in the mail a few weeks back I was anxious to get it going.  It took me a minute (Stillman’s constructive style is very unique) but by the third scene I was sold entirely, and most of that was due to the way that Gerwig developed the character of Violet. 

As the somewhat abrasive and manipulatively judgmental ringleader of her ‘clique’, Violet is an easy girl to hate.  Gerwig colors her with such personality that one can’t help but LOVE to hate her.  Violet talks bad about everyone, has a serious opinion about everything and masks her personal insecurities with a seemingly faux desire to help others.  The thing is, Violet really isn’t all that evil, she just appears that way.  Her saccharine sweetness that is offset by her abrasive bark is genuine to the core, she just has a really hard time communicating it properly.  What is so remarkable about Gerwig’s performance is that she actually nails a deeper soul instead of merely presenting us with a skeletal observation of a loon.  Violet is so bizarre and almost idiotic in her reasoning and so one could have easily played her for cheap laughs, creating mere comic relief.  Instead, Gerwig took the opportunity to embellish Violet, giving her real depth.  You can feel her inner pain, even if it at times stems from a ridiculous place.  She never feels as fake as she appears; which is another feat in itself.  Gerwig beautifully balances out the outward appearance of Violet with the inner emotional growth. 

At the end of the day, she isn’t the villain we all thought she was and we’re pining for her happiness.
Besides, who can hate anyone intent on curing the world's problems through dance?

Poor Gerwig hasn’t a chance at an Oscar nomination, and she’ll most likely be shafted by the Globes as well, even though she delivers the best comedic performance I’ve seen this year, by anyone.  Still, Gerwig has earned an eternal place in my heart, and baring something massive*, a Fisti nomination to boot!

*that ‘something massive’ would have to come in the form of four performances I deem better than hers of what I have yet to see, considering that she is currently my runner-up to Rachel Wiesz


  1. That was a great performance! Doesn't have a chance, but definitely worthy of attention.

    1. It truly was great. Glad you liked it as well. I wish that Oscar would bite, but she's gotten great early ink on Frances, Ha from next year, so maybe she'll get attention for that.

  2. Thanks for the link again! Glad you participated. :)

    I'm not a big fan of the film, but I did like her performance. I really need to see Greenberg, as I keep hearing she's great in it.

    1. Greenberg was far better than I expected it to be, and Gerwig comes VERY close to getting a Fisti nom for it. She was wonderful.

      I loved this film. Sorry you didn't, but Gerwig was easily the best thing. The way she wholly fleshes out Violet despite all of the 'humor' in her situation was tragic. She made her feel real and gave weight to her situation.

  3. Let's make Greta Gerwig a thing! I loved her in Greenberg, but I really hated her character in Lola Versus. Quite looking forward to seeing this one!

    1. I haven't seen Lola Versus, but I loved this film and her performance in it was just amazing. I can't wait to see Frances Ha next year, which has started off to great buzz out of Toronto.