Every now and again, you watch an old movie (or less frequently) a new one where you see a performance which just, well, knocks your socks off. And you marvel at the ability of an actor to play such a range of human emotion such that you believe he — or she — has lived the feelings he (or she) portrays. She’s not playacting the role; she’s inhabiting the character.
Last night, I saw just such a film. Now, to be sure, The Trip to Bountiful, starts mighty slowly, but when Geraldine Page‘s Carrie Watts begins to realize she will get to complete the movie’s eponymous journey, you feel like you’re taking your own (beloved) grandmother to her childhood home. You want to be with her every step along the way.
Here’s a clip from that sequence:
You can see the continuation that episode here.
It is almost as if this role were written as an acting lesson to showcase the full range of feminine emotion, including remorse over a lost love, sadness, determination, anger, frustration, nostalgia, mischief even, gratitude, delight and affection (and then some). Not only does Page stay in character as she expresses each emotion, but you believe she has lived the stories she tells and feeling the words she speaks. No wonder she won an Oscar for this performance.
No wonder she was considered “one of the greatest American actresses of all time“.
Interesting to note that this great actress was born on a day I already celebrate, November 22, the anniversary of the birth of the greatest female novelist of all time, George Eliot, and my great (literally and figuratively) Aunt Ruth. Seems to be a day for great women to be born.