Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Best Leading Actress 2012: Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

I usually like films based on true events. This one, unfortunately, makes the exception. Apart from really going into depth of this topic, it just says some stories of finding some unknown people, which we don't absolutely care about. Never mind that, it has its place at the Oscars anyway.
I never couldn't get rid of the feeling that Mark Boal included Jessica Chastain's character Maya in the script because her character just was there when it happens. You may say I'm insane, because she really is the leading role, but no one lets her go into the depth of her character. It's a very strong character, which would very probably be excellently played and used. But here it just misses the emotions. Chastain has nothing to do with it. Many scenes she is in, she just there to be there.
But not to be so negative, I have to say that there are a few (something about three) scenes, in which there is something to play and Chastain handles them perfectly. But that's too small for a two and a half hour-lasting film. In the rest of her scenes she is not bad, but could be much better.
To make it absolutely clear, I think, this character could've been very hopeful. The script and the directing of the film just doesn't want to focus on one character perfectly and deeply, but chooses focusing on every character a little bit, instead. And that's the reason, why the film misses the emotions. Even the last scene misses them. If it's so, Chastain couldn't do much with it and she does, what she can, but I just cannot get off the feeling, that another actress would do more with it. Not much more, because she could have not, but more. (I hope you understand, what I'm trying to say.)
It was not a bad performance. It was just a wasted character. And that's a pity. And I also think, this types of roles don't fit this Jessica Chastain. It's a very complicated and very dramatic character for her. I liked her more more in The Help, which didn't want so complicated performance from her.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think they're very big. She might be the second after Lawrence. And if she doesn't win this year, then she'll win someday. That's for sure...


  1. I agree with a lot of your points, but somehow, I like her a lot more. I'd even give her t a 4. I think the character fits in with the tone of the movie and leaving her largely undeveloped doesn't ruin Chastain from giving a good performance. It's very subtle work, and I think she develops the character very well. But it is dissapointing that she wasn't given a little more meat to chew on, and the script missed opportunities by not developing some more interesting sides of her character (Her occasional swearing for example is supposed to suggest that she wants to be taken seriously in a world of men, but I only got this from an interview Chastain did, not in her performance).

    What would be your grade for her?

    1. I don't think she was bad, but there are two thinks I would blame: 1) The first thing is not a blame for her, but for the directing and writing. Therefore my grade won't be so low. 2) Some of her moments weren't very well-done. For example *spoiler* the scene in the restaurant, where the bomb explodes. *end of spoiler*
      I just felt, she couldn't choose how to handle this character. She wanted to play her as a very bashful beginner, but in the same time wanted to play it as a strong woman. And she just failed to put these things together.
      I am going to give every performance a grade in the final conclusion, which is going to come soon... :)