Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1986: Daniel Day-Lewis in A Room With A View

Daniel Day-Lewis did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cecil Vyse in A Room With A View.

A Room With A View did find itself a supporting actor nomination from the academy for Denholm Elliot who was fine but not especially noteworthy, but the man ignored from the film was Daniel Day-Lewis who made a notable breakout in 85 and 86 for starring in this film and My Beautiful Laundrette where he played characters who could not be more different. A fitting way for him to start his time as a noted actor since he went on to never pigeon hole himself as a type other than the roles always tended to be particularly daring nature. Day-Lewis here plays a role that actually might not seem particularly daring right off the page in fact he might seem a rather boring character especially since the role of Cecil really is suppose to be a boring man. These types of roles are usually the ones most forgotten with performances that are just as forgettable, that is not the case here as Day-Lewis shows exactly how one should approach such a role.

Day-Lewis may in fact give the ultimate Edwardian portrayal as the genius of this performance is quite extraordinary. Day-Lewis becomes the man of the time with every facet of his performance. His physical manners all are that of a man of perfect refinement who has tries to have the best tastes in all things. The way he turns pages in a book the way he walks they are all in that of a man who has learned to be as proper as one could possibly be. His voice only follows suit with his prissy high pitched voice that is perfect for his endless recitation of the books that he reads. The whole demeanor and every manner reinforces the idea of the repressed nature of the man's upbringing and life. It is to such an extreme in Day-Lewis that there is a strong comedic value actually in his work in that is rather quite funny because Cecil just is just so very proper. Although Day-Lewis slyly makes this a comic performance that does not mean he seems out of place in the film.

One of the amazing aspects of his work is that even though he allows some of what he does to be amusing that does not mean he does not realize Cecil as a real man. All he does still feels completely natural to the setting and he comes off enough as a realistic man of the period still. All of the mannerisms are used by Day-Lewis to create a cohesive whole that is Cecil Vyse. This is not just a great performance in terms of character creation though, Day-Lewis goes beyond that with his performance. Although he definitely plays Cecil Vyse as a repressed man and even technically speaking a boring one, he does not portray him as a simple man particularly in regards to Cecil relationship with the Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter). Although the story of picture suggests that Cecil is the wrong suitor and the "free-spirited" George Emerson (Julian Sands) is the right one, Day-Lewis's performance kind of rejects this notion.

Where Julian Sands plays his role so one note that he makes George rather uninteresting, Day-Lewis never makes that the case for Cecil. Cecil is a man who suffers from everyone else apparently telling him who he is in fact Lucy does a little too often. Day-Lewis though portrays an honest frustration in Cecil over her dismissive attitude, but he effectively shows it as something that he still needs to repress by his nature. Another strong example of the subtlety he brings is also when George is fairly obviously trying to woo Lucy while she is suppose to betrothed to Cecil. Day-Lewis again in these scenes suggests an underlying unease and that Cecil actually is aware of the situation but can break his mold to do anything about it. Day-Lewis's best scene though is when Lucy breaks off the engagement with Cecil. Day-Lewis makes it a surprisingly moving scene because he shows that Cecil is heartbroken over it, but Day-Lewis only allows it to be seen in a internalized fashion which properly fits Cecil's manner toward life. This is a perfect portrayal by Day-Lewis as he makes the boring character entertaining, and realizes his character fully as his own man rather than just a hurdle between the main romance.

12 comments:

luke higham said...

Louis: Have you seen My Beautiful Laundrette

luke higham said...

Louis: is there any other performances that you liked in A Room with a view, as well as ratings for them

Also, Thoughts on Brendan Gleeson in Goblet of Fire, Broadbent, Gambon & Rickman in Half Blood Prince.

luke higham said...

Louis: Lastly, Ratings & thoughts on Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of The Mohicans, The Boxer (1997) and Nine.

RatedRStar said...

I really liked him in My Beautiful Laundrette.

Michael Patison said...

Louis: I was wondering, do you think Lone Survivor (which I still haven't seen), would have been a better film if Kathryn Bigelow had directed it instead of Berg? If so, how much better? Also, who do you think should've been cast in the non-Ben Foster roles? I thought of Jeremy Renner for Wahlberg, but that may just be because of Bigelow-related reasons (Renner's also a decade too old, but then again so is Wahlberg).

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

And this was BEFORE he went full-method.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: My Beautiful Laundrette is one I really need to get around to.

Almost everyone else in A Room in A View for me was basically a variety of being good enough.

Gleeson - (By far the best part of that film. Gleeson is such a good fit for the well worn veteran, and is so naturally likable and fun in the role well still carrying a definite menace)

Broadbent - (Broadbent is usually quite entertaining and adds a substantial amount of lightheartedness to a film that was in a definite need of it)

Rickman - (Solid as he is in all of them carrying himself so perfectly for the character as he does in every film. This one he is given a bit more to do and does a strong bit of work in subtly suggesting at the eventual revelations about his character)

Gambon - (Gambon road a Dumbledore is a slightly shaky one. For one the way Dumbledore changes through the books actually rather interestingly favors Harris's warmer interpretation early on, but with the later revelations of the character Gambon's rougher turn is more suited. Another reason though is that in Goblet of Fire he must have been horribly directed or something because what he does in the role seems of ill fitting for the character. He does come into his character well in Half-Blood Prince though balancing well the kinder sides with the cold sides with the utmost delicacy, and his final scenes are particularly effective. In fact a re-watch could easily raise my score for him)

The Last of The Mohicans - 4(Day-Lewis proves himself a more than capable action hero as well. It's one of his thinner roles but he brings the right physicality and passion for Hawkeye)

The Boxer - (Haven't seen it)

Nine - 2.5(The only time perhaps he was miscast? I'm not so sure. Sure he seems to dour but his character is suppose to be in a malaise. Really the film just is pretty bad so what's he going to do about it. To be honest I really don't remember much of him here which is not the case for any of the other performances of his that I have seen including his work in Gandhi. It's a shame he chose this as his musical as I think he could have been a perfect Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables)

Michael:

Bigelow I do think would have been a better choice particularly since she probably would not have filmed it in such a poorly fitting location, and would likely have given an even stronger visceral edge to the material.

Obviously yes keep Ben Foster as he was perfect. I think I would have liked Joel Edgerton in Wahlberg's role, Jason Clarke in Kitsch's, and maybe Tom Hardy in Hirsch's.

luke higham said...

Louis: your ratings & thoughts on:
Frank Langella in Robot and Frank
Irrfan Khan & Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi.

Louis Morgan said...

Langella - 4.5(Nicely handled portrayal of his character's growing Alzheimer, but also a particularly enjoyable and endearing portrayal of an old elderly thief with some bizarrely believable chemistry with the robot)

Khan - 4(Is not allowed the big emotional scene, but he handles his scenes more than admirably. He shows well basically what the tale made of the man, and adds the right poignancy throughout his telling of the tale)

Sharma - 4.5(Very strong leading work as he carries the film quite effortlessly without being overshadowed by the special effects. He also the one who gets the big emotional scene and more than delivers on it)

luke higham said...

Louis: can I have your ratings for the casts of Deathly Hallows Parts I & II.

Also, what are your top ten child performances, with ratings as well.

Kevin said...

What are your ratings and thoughts for James Caan in Thief, the cast of Heat and the cast of Public Enemies?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Part 1:

Radcliffe - 2.5
Grint - 3
Watson - 3
Carter - 2.5
Felton - 3
Fiennes - 2.5
Gleeson - 3
Ifans - 3
Nighy - 2.5
Staunton- 3.5
O'Hara - 4

Part 2 -

Radcliffe - 2.5
Watson - 2.5
Grint - 2.5
Fiennes - 2.5
Carter - 2.5
Coltrane - 3
Davis - 3
Gambon - 3
Hurt - 3
Rickman - 3.5
Smith - 3.5
Lewis - 3.5

Child Performances:

1. Tye Sheridan - Mud - 4.5

2. Haley Joel Osment - The Sixth Sense - 4.5

3.Justin Henry - Kramer vs Kramer - 4.5

4. Christina Ricci - The Addams Family - 4.5

5. Natalie Portman - The Professional - 4.5

6. River Phoenix - Stand By Me - 4

7. Leonardo DiCaprio - What's Eating Gilbert Grape

8. Jamie Bell - Billy Elliot - 4

9. Christian Bale - Empire of the Sun - 4

10. River Phoenix - The Mosquito Coast - 4

Kevin:

Caan - 4.5(He is such a natural fit for the tough action hero to being with, but he goes the extra mile here bringing a surprising amount of heart to his performance as well that gets you invested in his character)

Heat -

Pacino and De Niro - 3.5(Both are technically good in that I feel they show what their characters are going through and such, but they never go the extra distance like their great earlier performances)

Kilmer - 3(Kilmer does best when he stretches himself that is not the case here. He is completely fine though)

Other than that I really don't remember the performances all that well in its one I probably should give another go.

Public Enemies:

Bale - 2.5(Bale is technically fine but Purvis is such a woefully underdeveloped character, and his presence seems far too non existent at times which is one of the problems with the film)

Crudup - 3.5(He gets more out of J.Edgar in his few scenes than DiCaprio did out of a whole film. Seeing him and DiCaprio do the same courtroom scene is pretty interesting to watch as Crudup actually brings such a stronger element to the part. He has this weaselly quality at all times but there is undeniable strength of his presence as well. I really would have liked to seen far more of his character to have seen Crudup have a whole film to explore the character, although preferably not written by Dustin Lance Black or directed by Clint Eastwood when he does a good job)

All the rest of the guys are really solid with what they are given like Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang, and Stephen Graham and I'd probably give them all a three. Unfortunately the film is way too jumbled and should have either tightened or expanded its scope. As it does not focus enough but at the same time it gives just enough for a taste, but in a way like someone giving only one bite out a great tasting dish)