I’m a sucker for trilogies. I love the immediate and underlying story lines and the depth of characterization they’re able to obtain. It takes a true cinematic artist to craft a story that can satisfy for 10+ hours. (1,893 hours if you’re Peter Jackson). Most recently, the second installment of the Hunger Games Trilogy (or quadrilogy) was released and beat its prequel by 100 million in the first weekend. It’s a wonderful adventure that captured me from beginning to end. Shooting in IMAX helped. As I watched, star Jennifer Lawrence left a huge impression on me as a director. I spent the week re-watching her Oscar winning piece, Silver Linings Playbook, and tried to analyze what it was that she does so masterfully.
Jennifer has a way with the media that just melts her fan’s hearts. From tripping up the stage to receive her oscar to the countless foot in mouth situations, her following has grown in astounding ways. But what amazes me is that she hasn’t bound herself with one particular character. What do I mean. Well, Daniel Radcliffe will always be Harry Potter. I don’t care if he’s on broadway or in a horror film. That’s Harry. No matter what Elijah Wood is in, he will always be Frodo. You could say the same for Kristin Stewart, Rupert Grint and Keanu Reeves. But I don’t feel that Jennifer Lawrence has immortalized herself as Katniss Everdeen. Whether I’m watching Silver Linings or Winter’s Bone, I don’t see that girl with a bow. Even her upcoming flick, American Hustle, she portrays a completely new character that will probably be nominated for best supporting actress. As a director, I see this as one of THE mark of a good actor/actress. Someone who can change at the snap of a finger and from script to script. It puts this 23 year old in company with Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman and Russell Crowe. I cannot fathom the career she’s going to have and her movie mortality will carry her to incredible heights.
The other aspect of her performances that stands out to me is her gasp on emotions, and specifically, her portrayal of fear. After noticing this, I started watching other scenes and juxtaposing that with Jennifer’s. Those other scenes started to feel like theater. Like I was watching some structured, scientifically calculated embodiment of emotions. With Jennifer, I’m there. I feel it. I hurt with her. Most actors when told to express fear are able to get themselves to that point. But what Jennifer does so well, is that she gets herself most of the way there and lets the audience imply the rest. She allows us to emote for her. In Silver Linings, she was about to cry in almost every scene. ABOUT to cry. She never did. But I wanted to. In Catching Fire, she was ALMOST petrified by the arena. I was in full on panic. Her style is a subtle, true humanity extremely powerful. I’m challenged, as a director, to dig deeper into emotions and uncover groundbreaking ways to subconsciously capture an audience. Did I mention she never took an acting class?
I’m excited to see Jennifer as she continues through Hollywood. I’m pray she remains her witty self and doesn’t succumb to the pitfalls of the west coast. The Academy Awards have much more Lawrence to come. Watch all her movies. She’s incredible.
Also, if anyone has a way of getting in touch with her, I’d love to take her on a date. Just saying.