Monday, July 9, 2012

The Cate Blanchett Essentials, #4 / 5

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The Gift (2000) Sam Raimi

IMDB: 6.7 - RT: 56% / 56%

Why I selected this film as one of the Cate Blanchett Essentials
„Many people have recommended it for Cate's great performance (though this probably counts for all of these films), and... that's it, I think. I also like the title. My only fear is Katie Holmes, whom I've never liked in anything.“

The story
Set in a small town in Georgia, the story revolves around the young widow and fortune-teller Annie, who is also the mother of three boys. When a woman from the village suddenly disappears, Annie eventually gets involved in a bloody story of jealousy and murder. 

The message
Hard to say... perhaps this: Never move to a small town in the Southern States.

The character
Cate plays the main character, Annie, a role that is very interesting as it is hard to know just what she is like. There is the pain from loosing her husband, which still has a big influence on her actions and behaviour, and while she gives her clients the best advice and treats them in a helpful and very warm way, she doesn't always make the right decisions concerning her three little boys. This shows that she isn't flawless despite her supernatural and almost fairy-like aura. 
It also seems that Annie is a rather broad-minded and wise woman, she is certainly strong and emancipated, though sometimes her fear shines through as well, for example when she and her children are threatened by a neighbour redneck.
You could say that Annie is kind of a Southern State version of the elf Galadriel from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was released one year after The Gift.

The performance
Whether it was a wise choice of Cate to agree on acting in this film, is a hard question. While her character offered an interesting challenge, and the possibility to show off her acting skills, the film itself was more of a downer in my opinion. However, it is widely known that Cate's performance in this one is excellent as usual, and I can't imagine anyone playing it better than her. She filled her character with just the right amounts of unworldliness and realistic details, and I am amazed by her (in my opinion) accurate southern accent, considering her being an Australian. 
On a whole Cate's performance was by far the best thing about this film, and it showed her in an entirely different light compared to the other films I've seen of hers.

The most impressive scene
When Annie and her children are threatened the redneck Donnie Barksdale, who is the husband of one of Annie's clients, I was thoroughly impressed by Cate's reaction. She remembered me of a lion mother, protecting her little boys from something highly dangerous and trying not to show fear at all. At the same time you could feel how shocked and scared she was inside, but she just ignored it:

Donnie: I bet you love your little children, don't you? I bet they need their mama, don't they? [to Annie's kids] What's your name? 

Annie: [angrily] Get your ass out of my house! Don't you threaten me or my kids! Now what I do here is my buisness. And if your wife has any sense, she'll leave you so far behind, you'll never find her. Now you get out of here before I have you thrown in jail! 

The blemish
The story isn't very suspenseful and there are many awkward moments. Most of the time you just ask yourself: why? What's the point? But okay, it's not a complete lime explosion.

The final word


  1. Wow! Didn't know Sam Raimi made this. Lot of good actors involved here it seems.

    1. The only other Sam Raimi films I know are the Spider Man series.
      I'm not sure about the good actors, Katie Holmes and Keanu Reeves aren't exactly my favourites. Although there were good in this one.

  2. I was writing a paper on premonitions and stuff like that in high school and one of my examples was this movie. It wasn't the best film but Cate was lovely, very natural and fierce I really love this performance and I'm glad to see you included it in her essential work.

    1. It's always cool when you can include examples about movies in school, isn't it?
      Cate wasn't able to take the movie to another level, but she did what she could and her performance couldn't have been any better.

  3. Though critics didn't embrace this, I'm still going to check this out. I like Raimi's work and of course Cate's performance surely is still worth a watch.

    1. I'm looking forward to your opinion on it - perhaps you'll be one of the few that love it.


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