best film: Patricia Arquette’s two best films could not be more different. Lost Highway (1997) is trip through the twisted mind of David Lynch – and Boyhood (2014) is maybe the coming-of-age film to end all coming-of-age films – a rewarding, elaborate project from Richard Linklater.
best performance: Patricia Arquette is a fearless actor – and that muscle is on display in both of her best performances. The two selections here are the same two films as the category above with her work in Linklater’s film Boyhood edging its way to the top by the slimmest of margins. In Boyhood, Arquette plays Olivia – Mason’s (Ellar Coltrane) mother. Arquette is a constant in the film and Mason’s world as he grows up – she is solid throughout the film, and then in her final scene, she gets a jaw-on-the-floor powerhouse emotional scene to send her off into the sunset (and to her Oscar win). Arquette’s work in Lost Highway is a close second. The role and performance is not quite on the level of Naomi Watts just a few years later in Mulholland Drive (2001) – another Lynchian nightmare – but regardless – Arquette gives a brave performance, and similar to Watts’ work, Arquette gets to play a double – one of Lynch’s doppelgängers. She plays both the Renee Madison and Alice Wakefield characters.
stylistic innovations/traits: Patricia Arquette can surely play strength and resilience. She is perfectly edgy/jittery in Lost Highway and a damn trooper and divorcee in Boyhood. One film is pure surrealism – the other an important work in the history of realism in cinema. In True Romance, Arquette’s character Alabama can take a beating in True Romance (the third most important film to her case/resume) and Arquette gives Alabama a believable grit. Her fourth best film is the female lead in what is essentially a very fine romantic comedy (Flirting with Disaster) – so there is real acting range here. Her best work definitely comes from the 1990s with six (6) archiveable films out of a total seven (7) landing in the decade.
directors worked with: Tim Burton (1), David O. Russell (1), David Lynch (1), Martin Scorsese (1), Richard Linklater (1)
top five performances:
- Lost Highway
- True Romance
- Flirting with Disaster
- Ed Wood
|1991- The Indian Runner|
|1993- True Romance|
|1994- Ed Wood|
|1996- Flirting with Disaster|
|1997- Lost Highway|
|1999- Bringing Out the Dead|
I was skeptical when I first heard about Boyhood (2014) and the praise it was getting, perhaps I thought the concept was gimmicky. It was a pleasant surprise to be so wrong, I completely underestimated both Linklater and Arquette who plays the Mom in a familiar, yet completely authentic way; perhaps its because her character reminded me of one of my friends mothers. She hits the perfect dramatic notes without overacting especially in that showstopping scene before Mason goes off to College.
I think Boyhood was a career capper for her. Her career was leading upto this.
It’s like JK Simmons in whiplash or Allison Janney in I Tonya or Laurie Metcalf in Lady bird. She was playing great roles on TV winning emmys and all.
Have you thought about including Emmanuelle Riva on this list? She gives the best performance in 1959 with Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Gives another strong performance in a top 10 film Amour in 2012. And is also co-lead in Melville’s Leon Morin Priest(1961) I believe.
@Malith- I have, yes, my starting list had 261 actors on it I think
What was the starting list for the male side?
@Matthew- Have not done it yet for latest update. I will soon.
Has Saoirse Ronan made the cut? Her top 3 is incredibly strong.
1. Little Women
3. Lady Bird
@M*A*S*H- Thanks for the comment – a strong career thus far. I am not going to reveal the list until I reveal the list here if you’re asking about the top 100. But of course she was on the starting list of some 250+ actors.