Monday, 10 April 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Isabelle Huppert - Elle

During this year‘s Oscar race we witnessed this film and its leading performance slowly getting more and more atttention, which ended up in Huppert‘s performance being nominated. It got so much attention, that some predicted her to win against Emma Stone. Of course, it didn‘t happen. Yet, Elle is a very interesting film and it‘s one of those cases, which is just as good, as is its leading performance. Luckily, Huppert uses most of the given material.
This role is a very challenging one, especially for an actress her age, as it really takes a lot of courage to even accept this role, let alone to play it.
This is a very complicated character, I would call it a combination of Violet in August: Osage County (she always tells the truth) and Amy from Gone Girl (the twisted mind and (sexual) tastes) and just like these mentioned characters it‘s a very ambivalent one. We switch between sympathizing with her and hating her. To execute such a role one must really be experienced and skilled, but we all know Huppert was fit for this role.
Many people say it‘s a monstrious character, but I would not agree with that. Isabelle Huppert is trying to humanize this character of Elle and the fact is that she succeeded at this masterfully. The character is written the way you could just hate it and think she deserved all the nasty things that happened to her, but thanks to Huppert we really have moments that we pity her.
It must be said that it is a very subtle performance, but it works great for the film. For example in a scene, in which she is asked to go to the cellar with a man that we know is dangerous. Huppert‘s reaction to this is wonderful, as she takes a few seconds to answer and it‘s not clear until she says the final word. At first we think she‘ll agree, then that she won‘t and we keep switching between these two states until Huppert speaks. What‘s so masterful about this performance is that this keeps happening during a few seconds. And the same ambivalency she gives to the entire performance.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I guess she still wasn‘t being the second. Natalie Portman was slightly ahead of her, in my opinion.