Monday, August 22, 2011
Best Actress 1971: Janet Suzman in Nicholas And Alexandra
Janet Suzman received her first Oscar nomination and last to date for playing Empress Alexandra in Nicholas And Alexandra. She is a woman who takes advantage of her husband to get what she wants, especially with regards to her son, who is sihttp:with hemophilia, a genetic disorder which causes terrible bleeding. Alexandra makes her husband call on Rasputin, a foolish, power-hungry man who claims to have holy healing powers. Eventually, the royal family is disgarded and disgraced from the palace after the people have had enough of being denied their well-being due to the power hungry Alexandra and Nicholas.
This movie is simply a confusing mess. The story is indeed somewhat interesting, but is just so mishandled and hard to follow that you stop caring towards the end. I suppose the acting is alright, and Suzman is indeed the stand-out of the film. Alexandra is not a terrible person, merely she only cares about things that affect her and her family, especially her son, she pays no attention to the suffering of her people. She does a strong job of showing her grief over her son's disease and her determination to stop it. I'd say her best moments are in the beginning, these moments where she's trying to help her son. Unfortunately, the middle of the film is such an over-wrought mess that she is lost in the shuffle, and becomes underwhelming (I also thought her delivery was a bit too mannered at times, but that's a minor complaint).
When the family are removed from the palace and sent to Siberia, she is fairly good, and quite great when we see her shattered from her experience of being poor and hated. But the film just focused on her husband and random, confusing things that took all the focus away from Suzman, and her performance does not recover.
I'm divided on what to give her, but I suppose I'll give her a