But, after all that Hollywoodization, the movie is not doing well: " its per screen average was extremely low, indicating weak interest in this well-reviewed pic despite a ton of advance publicity featuring tabloid-favorite Jolie herself." But why did they think a movie focusing on the wife would do well? Many movies portray men of action and splice in scenes showing their wives agonizing about them. I'm thinking of "The Right Stuff" and various John Ford westerns. The scenes with the wives work -- if they work -- because they take up so little of the movie. The role of the suffering wife may take some heavy duty acting skill -- and I don't doubt Jolie has that -- but what -- other than adulation of the star -- is supposed to motivate us to become voyeurs to her ordeal?
That said, I can see the reviews are excellent, and I'm somewhat curious about how Mariane's story could be made into a successful feature-length narrative.
By the way, isn't it surprising to see a white actress playing a role in blackface?
[O]r does Jolie's color-bending turn ... herald a sea change in our racial consciousness? Is it a signal that, kumbaya, we really are the world, Hollywood truly is colorblind, may the best actress win? Does it matter if a visibly white actress plays a historical figure of (partial) African descent? If so, does it matter that Halle Berry is slated to play a real-life white politician?...There are several issues here.
It will be interesting to see the reaction next year when we'll have the mixed-race Berry in "Class Act," playing the role of Tierney Cahill, a white schoolteacher whose sixth-grade class persuaded her to run for Congress in 2000. Still, we're not likely to see chocolate-hued Angela Bassett playing Hillary Rodham Clinton any time soon.
1. We may object to a white actor getting the role of a black character because it seems unfair to let white actors horn in on the relatively few great roles available to black actors. (If this is the objection, we should applaud when black actors get to play in whiteface.)
2. Second, we may simply have a moral objection to the use of makeup to vary skintone. We may think that because there is an evil history to blackface (and to pushing black persons to pass as white) that there should be a flat rule against it.
3. There is the more neutral question of whether an actor looks the part. But in this view, skintone really should be irrelevant, because makeup works perfectly to make the skin any color you want. Everything else about an actor is more important: physique, facial structure, voice. These things are harder to change, but, of course they can be changed too. There can be moral objections here too, such as when a beautiful actress puts on weight or wears a false nose and gets extra credit when in fact she is pushing a less attractive actress out of a leading role.