Brilliant acting defined by one look.

All this Fincher talk lately gave me the idea for this post. So many bloggers were pointing out how awesome Rooney Mara was in her short time in The Social Network, that it gave me this idea. Sometimes a simple look an actor gives is nothing short of brilliant. So here are my favorite examples of great acting in one particular scene.

Rooney Mara in The Social Network - When Erica finds out what Mark has been saying about her online. Just look at her face. Mara shows she's one of the best actors in this movie with this look alone.

Denis Leary in Rescue Me - The look on Tommy's face when he finds out his son has died is absolutely heartbreaking, and is the only time I've ever cried when watching a TV show.

Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones - Sansa's gone through hell in King's Landing. And when Margaery, a proper lady she admires offers friendship, Sansa is so happy she nearly cries. Look at her face. She was perfect.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet in Mysterious Skin - This is the scene where the reality of what happened to these men when they were children sinks in, and all they can do is sit there silently with each other. 

Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda - His despair in this scene. I burst out in tears. (shocker, I know)

Natalie Portman in Black Swan - "I was perfect" she says. The reality of how much she wanted that hits you like a ton of bricks. 

Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men - His face says "Literally, you can buy this same knife anywhere, for fucks sakes."

Michelle Fairley in Game of Thrones - Catelyn's life is ruined and she's about to die. She knows this, and you can feel her anguish. 

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad - This hug says so many things. Walt's manipulation of Jesse. Jesse knowing it's all bullshit. Yet deep down, even after everything, they can't help but still care about the other. 

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight - The Joker's introduction set the stage for what was in store. We know here we're in for a wild ride.

Adepero Oduye in 12 Years A Slave - Eliza telling Solomon why she will continue to weep for her children was powerful, heart breaking, yet very brave of her. She had nothing to lose at this point.

Evan Rachel Wood in Thirteen - This was the moment that the weight of Tracey's decisions came crashing down on her. 

Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Yes, I had to sneak some Harry Potter in here. But seriously, (Siriusly?) The minute Voldemort opens his eyes after returning is terrifying. We know immediately he's still every bit as dangerous as he once was.

Kevin Spacey in American Beauty - "Spectacular" The monologue he's giving and the way Spacey plays it match up so perfectly.

Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men - Yep. He's going to kill you.

Melissa McBride in The Walking Dead - Carol having to make one of the hardest decisions she's ever done weighs heavy on not only her, but the viewers. We feel Carol's pain here, but we know she's doing the right thing. 

Michael Shannon in Take Shelter - No one loses their shit quite like Michael Shannon. It's so hard to watch him in this scene. Everyone is judging him, thinking he's crazy, but no one is offering to help him. It's sad.

Hopefully this post made sense. Tell me some of your favorites?

26 comments:

  1. That's quite the selection of scenes. I just recently got past that moment on Game of Thrones (now starting season 4) and man that whole sequence took me by surprise. Maybe I should have known better than to expect proportionate responses in a show based on a series of fantasy books that were obviously inspired by Medieval England. I mean the guy (I'm sorry, I forgot his name) tried to massacre the whole Stark family because one of them didn't want to marry his daughter.

    One of the things that makes Anton Chigurh such an interesting character is the strangeness of his expressions. Even when he smiles it looks so awkward and just makes you wonder what goes on in his head.

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    1. GoT is so wonderful, when I read that book, the Red Wedding also surprised me, and I really should've known better at that point. I never learn, GRRM kills everyone and I'm still shocked every time.

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  2. Such a wonderful post! Some of the blinks here were so effective, like Sansa's happiness and Nina's in Black Swan (I got chills just by that image as everything in the film rushed back to me), but this: "Literally, you can buy this same knife anywhere, for fucks sakes" is just hilarious. I looooooove that film -- and I love your post!

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    1. Haha, thank you. You know Juror No. 8 just wanted to say that to everyone. Sansa's little smile was so great, she slayed me in that scene.

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  3. I love this so much. Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda devastated me, but that doesn't take much. Ledger's face as The Joker was perfect in just about every frame. Bardem is flawless in No Country. I'm with John on that one. It's almost funny how impossible it is to read Chigurh's face from scene to scene. The guy's so f--king crazy!

    But my favorite pick of all of yours has to be Henry Fonda...and I've never even seen that movie.

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    1. You should check out 12 Angry Men, I absolutely loved it, and how often to I LOVE classics? lol

      Chigurh is such a creepy fucker, it was kind of hard to pick a specific picture because he looks so batshit in all of them.

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  4. This was quite spectacular! Every time I wanted to highlight an actor your chose, I kept scrolling to find that I loved each other selection down the line! Great post...this could totally be a blogathon!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, I've had a few other people ask about a blogathon. I'm not sure if I'll have the time to put it together, but if others did these posts, I'd love to read them!

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  5. All I can say about this list.... OH HELL YEAH!!!!

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  6. Great post! I love Michael Shannon and that scene in Take Shelter is just wow.

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    1. Michael Shannon blows my mind, he really was robbed of an Oscar nomination for this film.

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  7. Such an awesome list! Totally agree with so many of your choices like Henry Fonda. His face is like "Gotchya beyotch."
    Could I ask for permission to do a list like this in the future? I'd credit you, of course. :)

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  8. Oh this is one of my favorite posts ever - for me, there is nothing more impressive than an actor being able to convey so much with one look. My fav performances are actually examples of that. Can I make a post based on this? It would overlap a bit too - Fairley is one of the finest examples of doing that

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    1. Yes, please make a post on it! I'd love to read it.

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  9. Fantastic idea for a list and I LOVE your selections. Even though I haven't seen some of them, upon seeing the photo I totally get why you included 'em here! Nice job Brittani!

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    1. Thank you! The only picture I couldn't find was the exact one for Rescue Me, that bummed me out because it was so perfect.

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    2. Would it be ok if I steal your idea here? After seeing this post, I started thinking about which performances I wanted to include!

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    3. Of course! I'd love to read what you come up with. :)

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  10. Fantastic post! I haven't seen all these, but the images for the films and shows I have seen are perfect.

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  11. This is my favorite thing I’ve ever read on your site. A brilliant and absorbing list. Seriously, excellent work here Brittani. Those moments from The Social Network, Hotel Rwanda, Black Swan and Thirteen all slayed me. While The Joker’s introduction is so absolutely on-point.

    But I love that you included that devastating moment from Rescue Me. Holy shit, what an emotionally brutal episode.

    If I had to pick one, I’d choose the look on Robin Williams’ face as he and Matt Damon hug in Good Will Hunting. What a moment.

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    1. Wow, thank you! That means a lot. That moment from Good Will Hunting is a good one too! I need to revisit that film again.

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  12. This list is amazing! The moments from Thirteen, The Social Network and Take Shelter were particularly memorable for me.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.