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mercredi
août102011

Meryl Streep

In the October 2010 issue of the Italian version of Style, we learned that Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld’s ideal leading lady is none other than American film royalty, Meryl Streep. Hardly surprising, as Vladimir is a man of taste... which of course runs in the family... Carine Roitfeld chose to feature Streep on two of three covers for Vogue Paris in May of 2010. Streep has been widely acclaimed as both a critically and a commercially successful actress for the duration of her career which spans more than three decades. Her greatest distinction is that of the most nominated actress in the history of both the Golden Globe and the Oscar awards.

Mary Louise (Meryl) Streep was a Vassar undergraduate and holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Yale. According to SimplyStreep.com, this German beauty is also fluent in Italian — enough to retort when Dino De Laurentiis complained in Italian about her looks during the auditioning for King Kong. I wish I’d been a fly on that wall...

She rose immediately from stage and television to a part in Julia in 1977. It was said everyone thought she was a great actress from the beginning, but her emotional range is hardly any wonder given what the young Meryl went through. Her fiancé, John Cazale, was dying from bone cancer during their filming of The Deer Hunter. They took their parts in the film to be close to each other in his last days. They filmed all his scenes first, and he would not live to see the finished film.

Streep won Oscars for Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice, of course, as well as a slew of other awards. Her other well-regarded titles include Silkwood, The House of the Spirits, The Bridges of Madison County, Music of the Heart, and the musical hit, Mamma Mia! And who can forget A Cry in the Dark? (You may want to. Let‘s try.)

Then there’s Julie & Julia, which I could watch again and again. In fact, I do. A friend of mine was recently in Paris and she found herself standing in front of the same peeling blue shutters she had seen in the movie — a famous book store in which Meryl’s Julia Child goes rummaging for a French cookbook in English, only to find one does not yet exist. Meryl is spot on as Julia, no question, but it is Amy Adams’ adorable Julie that makes me want to throw dinner parties and tackle an aspic (ewww). You will be hard pressed to come away from Julie & Julia without wanting to pick a passion and blog about it in hopes of getting a book deal.

Most recently I wanted to be Meryl’s affair-having, weed-smoking, pastry-chefing character in It's Complicated. She’s the best woman-with-her-act-together to aspire to since Diane Keaton’s character in Something’s Gotta Give. After viewing It’s Complicated, I immediately made my own croque monsieur dripping with Gruyere and went on a late night quest for lavender ice cream. Unlike many of her early films, my quest ended well.

Speaking of which, sadly I feel the ending to Adaptation was a travesty. In fact, the only salvageable part of the film in my opinion was Chris Cooper’s character and Meryl’s partial narration. Her voice so beautifully depicts the verbally sensuous book that the movie was loosely based on, The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession. I’m not going to recommend the movie, but rather the non-fiction book that inspired it.

Other than that, Meryl Streep is usually very selective about her scripts. I’ll admit to guilty pleasure in The Devil Wears Prada, and the largely forgotten Postcards from the Edge, based on Carrie Fisher’s book, but my personal favorites from the past are her exceptional romantic period dramas, Out of Africa and The French Lieutenant's Woman.

Out of Africa is based on the 1937 autobiography of classic authoress and coffee planter, Isak Dineson (a nomme de plume), starring 1970s alpha male Robert Redford and featuring an appearance by model Iman. The tale relates an old woman’s memories of an illicit love affair. She was a young wealthy woman married to a total slacker. Naturally, she falls for a real hero and adventurer (and big game hunter, but we'll ignore that because he's dashing and handsome). Incidentally, if you’re anything like me, you put on majestic film scores before settling on the couch for a nap, and the soundtrack to Out Of Africa is ranked 15th in the American Film Institute's top twenty-five. Out of Africa won seven Oscars and was nominated for four more! Wins included writing, art direction, and cinematography. This makes me want to see it again and soon.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman was close behind with five Oscar wins. Meryl herself received a nod for Best Actress but who could compete with an ancient Kate Hepburn in On Golden Pond? The film is based on the eponymous novel by John Fowles. Set in the Victorian era, the novel only relates the story of one couple, but because of certain narration challenges, the screenwriter introduces a second, parallel story — that of actors staging the aforementioned Victorian romance, a device that was not original but worked to great effect. In this story, the actors’ lives do not imitate their art, however. The dual story is a chance to use alternate endings written by the original author. Meryl’s mysterious fallen woman creates an iconic image, standing on the wave-swept quay of the gloomy English seaside town that has ostracized her. This film makes me want to trot down to the dock wearing a hooded cloak... I’d give passing strangers my best haunting, heartbroken stare, only to magically disappear into thin air (if I could) and leave them wanting (and not a little freaked out).

That brings us to Meryl’s latest project... Everybody knows you can tell the quality of an actress by how ugly she’s willing to get. Let’s not miss the legendary Meryl Streep as none other than Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, to be released later this year. If you’d like to read more about the life of this talented star, check out The Kindle Book of Meryl Streep by Celebrity Books, or The Meryl Streep Handbook by Donna Beech. For a more in depth look at her early years, try The Meryl Streep Story by Nick Smurthwaite.

Meryl Streep photographs © 2010 Condé Nast and courtesy of suicideblonde.tumblr.com, thecomedyoferas.tumblr.com, kingtartous.com, tarotquest.wordpress.com, instyle.com, imstars.aufeminin.com, littlegoldenguy.com, dailymail.co.uk, listal.com, examiner.com, purepeople.com, nummynims.wordpress.com, fanpop.com, last.fm, julianstark-moviesandotherthings.blogspot.com, and smh.com.au

Reader Comments (19)

Meryl Streep is great, but she's no Helen Mirren.
10 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike
The picture no.3 screams Betty Davis
10 août 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbernie
Oh Michael. This isn't about the world's greatest actress, it's about which one Vladimir prefers. I know you have a Helen Mirren fixation, inexplicable though I find it, so in the event that a Roitfeld professes admiration for her talents, I promise you will write that one. Deal?

mwah
10 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Baron, all the boys think she's a spy...
10 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Beautiful and accomplished and brave; easy to understand why a younger (breathtaking) man would want to work with her. Carine is even more intriguing that I realized, thank you for your moments with her. Using an older woman (she is, that's the simple truth) in French Vogue, is so sensible. French Vogue is womanly and kittenish and, oops, was... lost in the moment.
10 août 2011 | Unregistered Commentermadeleine gallay
And my personal favorite ... She Devil. Ha! Yes, I am serious. :) I loved reading this, Kellina. You're simply the best!!!
10 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee
Madeleine, oh you make me laugh, thank you! Your thoughtful comments are always appreciated. I think they may be considering that exact tagline right this very moment at Condé Nast headquarters: "So sensible... so womanly... so kittenish... so Vogue Paris...." No wait, that's the former VP, stop the presses!

;-)
10 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Awww, thanks a lot, Renee, I am so glad to hear it! Great that you added She Devil to the list.
10 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
I adore Helen Mirren too. What a babe.
11 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
fantastic post, kellina! i had no idea vlad -the stone fox liked miss meryl streep! I must admit that I was recently watching julie and julia and for some reason I thought of you. perhaps, it has something to do with amy adams character and her drive and ambition with her blog...you seem very similiar in that respect! I so admire that about you both! at any rate, I too loved out of africa...the costumes (there's something kind of ralph lauren), the storyline, the music... I believe they play beethoven in the film and I love the way the music is used especially when robert redford and meryl streep fly in that airplane.

I couldn't agree more about its complicated...I too thought it was very diane keaton in somethings gotta give...love that film...I can relate very much to diane keaton in that role..perhaps, a twenty something version of her.

I so loved seeing meryl on the cover of vogue paris last year....its so nice to see a woman over 50 on the cover of a magazine...carine really knew how to make a such an interesting cover much like this one.
11 août 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdara
What an honor to say that I have a thing in common with the great Maryl Streep! Birth date! :)
11 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca
Dara, thank you very much for all your kind words! I am happy that you are a fan of Meryl and can relate to so many of the films here. I second your statement that Carine really knew how to make an interesting cover — and I would add that she presents beauty and sex as ageless which I admire and applaud. Brava!
11 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
I know, Francesca, isn't that cool! I can't believe I noticed that while editing this piece, I had just been to your Facebook and noted 6/22 because it is also another friend's birthday and then saw in Wikipedia that it is Meryl's birthdate! It must be a lucky day.

;-)
11 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Laura, what a wonderful article about one of my very favorite actresses! I thought I knew so much about her but I can see now that I'm going to have to go back and watch so many of her movies all over again. I will look forward to reading more from you.
11 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBobbi
Bobbi, thank you so much for your kind welcome of Laura! I look forward to reading more from her as well.
11 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
A friend noticed an error. Silkweed should be Silkwood, not to be confused with her other film Ironweed. Please burn this message after listening to it.
12 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Laura, I notice your propensity for weed in this article, should we be concerned? Or just send lavender ice cream?

;-)
13 août 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
You mean "lavender" ice cream? And don't make me laugh. I'm not talking to you.
15 août 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
"The Iron Lady" Meryl Streep. :)
22 février 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeryl streep fan

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