best film:  Dangerous Liaisons. Stephen Frears’ 1988 films is rock solid – but a film that barely squeaks into the top ten of its given year (currently #10 of 1988) should not be any great actor’s best film – so this category is a major problem for Glenn Close.  This lack of a best film sort of ends Close’s bid to be in the top fifty (50) of all time on this list. If one were to go looking for the other films close Dangerous Liaisons to compete for the top slot in this category… well… there simply is not much there. When one has to start dipping down to The Natural and Guardians of the Galaxy –  not a good sign.



Glenn Close as Marquise de Merteuil in Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons



best performance:  Dangerous Liaisons by an eyelash over Fatal Attraction. Her verbal jousting with John Malkovich (and she wins the duel) in this film is something to behold and one of the great acting battles in Hollywood of the 1980s.  Speaking of acting battles, just the year prior in 1987,  she and Michael Douglas go at it in Fatal Attraction and she prevails there as well.



Close as Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction – certainly the performance she will be remembered for



stylistic innovations/traits:  Glenn Close is often brought up with Meryl Streep (though at a great distance behind) as the best living female American actor.  The comparison is interesting because they have sort have the same strengths and weaknesses in their resume. Close is highly decorated who is often worth the price of admission alone when watching a film – she is up to eight Oscar nominations now – and, famously, no wins. Her true film debut was a wow splash of a debut – 1982’s The World According to Garp. This role (and a nomination in her first time out) set Close off – she went on a torrid run of remarkable performances in the 1980s. The Big Chill (and she a key cog in the wheel of the ensemble) was an event in 1983, The Natural in 1984, the underrated Jagged Edge in 1985 and then both of her best performances (documented in the categories above) in 1987 and 1988. Unfortunately, Close did not connect with many auteurs over her run and simply is not in enough quality films (her eight (8) nominations to twelve (12) archiveable films is a curious ratio). Still, she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to her style as a performer. She shines brightest when she is playing ruthless women (often in a fixed, male dominated world) who can more than hold her own. Her performance in The Natural may be one of the outliers to this typecast here – and that helps her overall cause – but she has range aplenty.



from The Natural (1984) – director of photography Caleb Deschanel shining the light on Close throughout



directors worked with:   George Roy Hill (1), Lawrence Kasdan (1), Barry Levinson (1), Robert Altman (1) and again this category is the issue for Close. It is odd to see such a revered actor work with so few of the era’s best auteurs.



top five performances:

  1. Dangerous Liaisons
  2. Fatal Attraction
  3. The Natural
  4. The Wife
  5. Reversal of Fortune



archiveable films

1982- The World According to Garp
1983- The Big Chill
1984- The Natural
1985- Jagged Edge
1987- Fatal Attraction
1988- Dangerous Liaisons
1990- Reversal of Fortune
1994- The Paper
1999- Cookie’s Fortune
2005- Nine Lives
2014- Guardians of the Galaxy
2017- The Wife