Meryl takes on Sophie

Before I comment on Meryl Streep’s performance in Sophie’s Choice, I must first highlight that the film overall won 13 awards and received twelve nominations. Streep won eight of the thirteen awards given, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.

As far as accents go, it seems Streep is a master. All the way from the ice queen in the pseudo-Vogue Runway inĀ The Devil Wears Prada, where the performance, though easily interpreted as over the top, is relatively restrained to the eccentric nature of the Witch in Into the Woods, to even the seemingly high-spirited Donna in Mamma Mia!, Streep has played it all. In all of these roles, the accents she portrays reveal something fascinating about Streep. It seems in all these varying accents, Streep channels another human being entirely. She somehow manages to take on their every mannerism, embracing their faults and highlighting their strengths to give an extraordinary performance every time.

Perhaps her greatest accent performed of all time was her enchanting Polish-American accent in her role as Zofia “Sophie” Zawstowski. As the film begins, we learn Sophie was a Holocaust survivor. She, a young Polish-Catholic woman, lost her father in a German work camp and was separated from her two children in Auschwitz. In Streep’s role as Sophie, she faces a difficult task. She can’t be too fragile, as her “choice” would be given away. Yet, she cannot show unbreakable strength either, as the balance of her emotions is pivotal for pulling off this role.

Streep had her work cut out for her as this character. However, she, of course, played every ounce of Sophie in just the right way. Nathan (Kevin Kline) plays Sophie’s lover in the film. Her indisputable chemistry with Kline only adds to the greatness of this film. Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a wannabe journalist from the South, befriends both Nathan and Sophie. The three take on life after tragedy together. Though in most moments they seem to repress how much they have suffered, Sophie’s horrific past is essential to the growth of Stingo, who grows from youthful ignorance to a deeper understanding of human suffering.

Without spoiling the ending or revealing too much of the storyline, I leave my readers with this: Streep gave humanity a gift when she took the role of Sophie. Do not waste this gift. Do not neglect it. If you have not already seen this film, do take just a few hours of your time to enjoy this film in its entirety.

Here is a picture I took this past fall when I was at Auschwitz in Krakow, Poland.

Meryl takes on Violet Weston

We’ve seen Meryl Streep play every whimsical character in the book. She has played the cooky aunt, the free-spirited mother, the wicked witch, the fashion editor and many more. While the majority of movies I have reviewed showcase Streep in a fantasy/fictional light, her role as Violet Weston in August: Osage County is anything but light-hearted.

This is not a film for the faint of heart. In this dramatic movie, the audience watches a broken family navigate through the death of Mr. Weston, husband to Violet. Violet’s three daughters return home along with their significant others and other familial relations. Violet Weston is an acid-tongued, pill-popping cancer patient with no filter to her speech, even at the most sensitive of moments.

This film, based on the play written by Tracy Letts, is full of twists and turns. Every hour the family spends together seems to bring to light more dark and dirty secrets about each family member. Streep never seems to get lost amongst the confusing plot twists and complicated family relationships. Without fail, she stays true to character.

When I first watched the film, I was struck by how well Streep peeled back the layers of Violet in the film. At first, the audience is shown the cold, callous side of Violet that insults anything and anyone she is displeased with. Soon, it is apparent how unstable Violet is as a result of her addiction to drugs. Her ease with manipulation and intimidation is not ever hidden from the audience. Rather, her power over others is more highlighted by the second act as we watch her force other characters into submitting to her way of doing things.

By the end, Streep portrays Violet in her most vulnerable form. Violet tells her family she wants to get clean on her own terms. Not wanting help from others, she continually pushes her family away with her foul language and hurtful words which act as a way to gain her power and control. But when she begins to wean herself away from drugs, she realizes just how much she needs her family, only to realize just how much her years of addiction have caused her to drive her loved ones away.

Violet ends the film alone and despondent, having alienated herself from her daughters and everyone else she cared about, even if she only cared about them for the how they fed her sense of power and control.

Streep smoothly transitions between the phases of Violet Weston without ever losing sight of how Violet would still behave regardless of inner change. Streep without question kills the role of Violet Weston, but are we really surprised that she did?

Related image
This is a map image of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Pawhuska is home to Osage County where the play takes place in.

Meryl takes on Donna Sheridan part 2

Let’s face it, we were all disappointed that the new Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again film didn’t feature Meryl Streep in all the ways she deserves. In this musical sequel that flip-flops between the past and present, Streep once again plays Donna Sheridan. This time around, however, the older Donna is dead, leaving the hotel to be run by her daughter, Sophie Sheridan.

The audience is not left with no Meryl. The producers place her in all the pivotal moments, such as the dedication of Sophie’s first child. The tear-jerking ballad, “My Love, My Life,” sung by Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried (Sophie), had every audience member reaching for the tissue box. Streep perfectly sings this song with an angel-like presence. With grace and a familial pride in her step, Streep portrays both the old soul and youthful spirit of Donna.

I must also bring to light what most critics fail to praise: the inseparable chemistry of Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried in “My Love, My Life.” Within this short ballad, Streep and Seyfried have an unbreakable stream of emotions flowing between them. In every lyric and every glance, the two add the cherry and whipped cream to the ice cream in this scene.

Of course, every musical needs a grand finale. “Super Trouper” featured both the old and young versions of each character. To the publics joy, Meryl does perform in this finale in a sparkling ’70s jumpsuit with fur and all. She sings and dances with Sam, her husband, as she used to in the first film. The nostalgic music with the youthful energy blend together to make the final scene one to remember.

Which Mamma Mia! musical did you enjoy watching more?

A picture I took while in Santorini, Greece! One of the many treasures Greece holds, including the setting of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Meryl takes on Topsy

For a bit of a change, Meryl Streep in Mary Poppins Returns is not the lead (though it doesn’t matter if she has an hour or a minute of screen time; she slays every second). Playing as the cooky aunt, Streep takes on the role of Topsy. Topsy is nothing short of a bold, whimsical personality. With no lack of eccentric emotions, Streep owns her topsy-turvy scene with flying colors.

Within her cameo appearance, Streep performs the song “Turning Turtle.” The room and furniture spin and flip around the characters, making it easy to get lost in the whimsical madness. However, Streep, as always, manages to shine through and take hold the attention of every audience member.

To fully understand the magnitude of her acting ability, we must give credit to her age. Streep is 69 years old. To her praise, she was able to flip around and slide down windows and ceilings, all while singing and maintaining character. Needless to say, she is an impressive old woman for many reasons.

Though this has little to do with Streep herself, her costume deserves honorable mention. Her dress, draped in various fabrics of all different colors and textures, catches the eye of every audience member. Her orange hair and bold eye makeup are nothing less than remarkable. Just like the star Streep is, she managed to shine through the complicated array of colors and fabrics.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Meryl Streep in her role as Topsy, I would highly recommend it. If you have seen both Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns, which one was your favorite?

I played Fanny Kori in Mary Poppins my sophomore year of high school. The costumes were as whimsical as the story!

Meryl takes on the Witch

Just when we thought we had seen Meryl Streep do it all, she announces she will be playing the Witch in Into the Woods. In this musical extravaganza, Streep takes the role of Rapunzel’s adopted mother (more like kidnapped, but who’s counting). The once-beautiful Witch takes possession of Rapunzel in an unfair trade deal made with the Baker’s father. Once the trade was made, the Witch transforms into an old hag — wrinkles, warts and all.

Streep’s voice is showcased once again in a series of raps and ballads — the first being “Prologue: Into the Woods”. In this song, Streep raps the family history of the Baker’s and the Witch. Streep seamlessly sells the scene, using drastic and eerie movements as she narrates her story through rap.

The Witch embodies everything evil and relatable. While Streep shows how cold, maniacal, wicked and heartless the Witch can be, she manages to make the audience fall in love with her adoration of Rapunzel. In the purest and most twisted way, the Witch’s wickedness was a product of her love and protection over Rapunzel. Streep portrays this complex beautifully in her approach of showcasing the torment between the mind of a witch and the heart of a mother.

This torment is most prominently seen in the song “Stay with Me.” The audience watches Streep play both the crazy, unpredictable side of the Witch, while also playing into the motherly, protective side. Streep reveals to us that Rapunzel is the only form of joy she has left. Once her beauty had vanished and any chance she had at finding love fled, she clung to her daughter in the hopes of finding love and acceptance from Rapunzel.

It’s no surprise Meryl Streep own the role of the Witch. She brings to life the two personalities of the Witch simultaneously. Streep molds her speaking and singing voice to match that of a witch, with cold cracks and commanding persuasiveness in every word.

Into the Woods showcases dozens of starkly different characters. It’s easy to get lost in the whimsical nature of the show. However, Streep manages to keep eyes on her in every scene she is in, taking authority like any witch would do. Who’s your favorite character in Into the Woods?

I played Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods my junior year of high school. Here are some pictures!

Meryl takes on Miranda Priestly

For every fabulous clothing design, there is a mastermind behind it all. In the film The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) owns the runway. Playing as the executive editor of Runway Magazine, Meryl Streep effortlessly takes charge of the room with her cool, haughty presence. In every step Streep takes, she commands both attention and respect without need for words.

Set in the grand city of Manhattan, New York, the everyday bustle of magazine editing, client meetings and fashion consultant workshops keeps each scene racing. Though it would be easy to get lost in the fashion madness, Streep maintains her cold elegance by her posture and deathly stares. Without overacting, Streep manages to once again be the star of the show, even though she is not the only lead within the film.

Though Priestly appears to be very blunt and cold, the audience gets a taste of what drives her actions toward the end of the film. The audience is only ever exposed to Miranda when she is large and in charge. But, when the film takes us to her home, we find she has young children and a husband who all but loves her.

Streep flawlessly portrays the attitude of a woman who has climbed up the business-world ladder while having a home life that is far less than perfect. Once the audience has been shown her family situation, Streep’s acting in the following scene only confirms that her work-self and her home-self are two completely different individuals and this divide tears her marriages apart.

Priestly’s life may appear as a dream come true to some with her large office, respected positions, big-name title and well-deserved fame. However, Streep displays perfectly how toxic a role as big as hers can be to one’s life.

Once again, Meryl Streep has taken the movie screens by storm, leaving her audience amazed at the vast roles she can play with seemingly graceful ease. What is your favorite role Meryl Streep has played?

Meryl takes on Donna Sheridan

Taking the world by storm, Meryl Streep as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! (2008) the musical left the audience singing and dancing in their seats. Streep effortlessly brings the show to life by portraying Donna as a stressed-out single mother with bills to pay and a hotel to run.

Streep graces the audience with many musical numbers — all the way from Donna and the Dynamo’s “Super Trouper” to the heartfelt “Slipping Through My Fingers” sung to her daughter, Sophie.

Streep’s acrobatic vocals are showcased in the ballad “The Winner Takes It All.” In this number, Donna stands on the side of a mountain with her past lover, Sam. As he professes his love for her, she sings “The Winner Takes It All” as the wind rushes through her dress and rustles through her golden locks.

And of course, who could forget her iconic number, “Mamma Mia.” Donna sports her classic dark denim overalls and messy hair, parading around the villa, reminiscing on the summer she met Sam, Bill and Harry. Streep sings this song with a care-free spirit. With youthful, almost nostalgic energy, Streep tip-toes across rooftops, melodiously belting about all the wrong’s love has thrown her way.

It’s no secret Meryl Streep was born to play Donna Sheridan. Streep’s ability to bring life to the screen by tapping into the undying youth and spontaneous spirit of Donna proved to be a cinematic masterpiece beloved by people of all ages. What are some other characters Streep has played that you love?

These are pictures I took during my time in Greece where Mamma Mia! was set to take place in!

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