Some actors have the ability to cry at the drop of a hat and do it with conviction, some have exceptional comic timing that leaves audiences in stitches even when no dialogues are spoken, and some can walk into a scene and make it their own even if they take up only a part of the frame. Meryl Streep embodies all these qualities but above all, she has a magnetic screen presence wherein you are perpetually in awe of her abundant talent.
She is a chameleon in every sense of the word but more than anything, she is incredibly human in every performance she has given us throughout her impressive and versatile filmography. She can shrink or expand according to the demands of each character, embodying the unique essence of each one, never allowing her individual persona to overshadow the traits of the characters she undertakes, and that we believe is what makes her an actor in the truest sense of the word. Today and every day we marvel at this incredible force of nature who raises the bar with every part she plays and does it always with grace and dignity. Below are some of her most outstanding performances that we’re watching today to celebrate her 71st birthday!
Kramer vs Kramer
This incredibly moving film tells a story about a woman (Meryl) who leaves her husband (Dustin Hoffman) and young son because she is unhappy with her marriage and wants to pursue an independent life. This film sparked debates across the globe about the complicated process of custody battles and the gender roles society has assigned to both men and women and what happens when it all implodes. Streep beautifully portrayed the role of a woman torn between her responsibilities and a life of true autonomy and humanised a complex character that elicited empathy from audiences, specifically young women.
The Devil Wears Prada
Bold, unapologetic and iconic are just a few words to describe the fascinating Miranda Priestly played by Streep in this 2006 blockbuster hit. She played the editor in chief of a popular magazine Runway, where she terrorised those who worked under her with her cold and unforgiving demeanour. She was both intimidating yet fascinating to audiences around the globe who were inspired by her sophisticated style and subtle yet powerful screen presence. This film is massively entertaining and also a master class in acting for those who wish to perfect the unapproachable yet intriguing character.
Julie and Julia
One can watch this film a hundred times yet be amazed each time by Meryl Streep’s ability to completely lose herself when playing the legendary author and television personality Julia Child. The film is based on the true story of Julie (Amy Adams) who when bored of her dead-end job, turns to her passion for cooking by attempting to recreate every recipe from Julia Child’s famous book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. The story is told through two timelines, where the past was the journey documenting the process Julia Child went through while writing the book, and the present is Julie recreating the dishes from the book for her new blog. The film is funny, heart-warming, and is guaranteed to make you dig up Julia Child’s celebrated book of recipes to master your own craft in the kitchen!
During these uncertain times we find ourselves in, some days become more overwhelming than others. On those days, watching a film like Mamma Mia! can lift your spirits and bring back a bit of sunshine and joyfulness to your day. This incredible story is of Donna (Meryl Streep) who lives with her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) on a beautiful island. Sophie has never met her father and hilariously, Donna is not quite sure which of the three men she dated when she was younger is the father of her child. Chaos erupts when Sophie, behind her mother’s back, invites all the three men to her wedding! We won’t spoil the rest for you, catch the film on Netflix and let us know which ABBA song from the film was your favourite to sing along to!
This film is an underrated one and although it isn’t one of Meryl’s most notable films, we still believe it’s worth a mention. The story surrounds Jane Adler (Meryl), who has separated from her husband Jake Adler (Alec Baldwin) 10 years ago after he cheated on her with another woman. The two reconnect at their son’s graduation ceremony and although he has now remarried to a much younger woman, they start a secret and passionate affair. What follows is an entertaining rollercoaster with lots of laughs and ‘aww’ moments. Also, did we mention that the film also has legendary Steve Martin playing Meryl’s other adorable love interest?! This romantic comedy is light and enjoyable and a great watch on a cozy night with your loved one.