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Hurrah for Ryan Murphy. He avoided the obvious trap of super camp. This human tragedy is told without winks and secret giggles. It is a tragedy no matter how funny. Two mega stars of its day drowning in personal pettiness and fear. Now with the benefit of hindsight and with the help of their daughters memoirs we know that fame and fortune is not the happy place most people imagine. Jessica Lange's Joan filled me with sadness, something Joan, the actress, could never do. Susan Sarandon's Bette made me want to shake her like she did Miriam Hopkins in "Old Acquaintance". Alfred Molina as Robert Aldrich deserves a mention all his own. Brilliant!
Why was I thinking that it couldn't work? Maybe because it never does. But "Bette and Joan" present us with that always welcome exception. The introduction of this two icons has sharpness and shine. Both walking a very tight rope. Joan with desperation, Bette with defiance. It is a terrific treat to see Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon going for the real centers rather than the caricature. Alfred Molina is priceless as Robert Aldrich and Stanley Tucci reinvents Jack Warner to a delightful perfection. The late entrance of Joan/Jessica at the theater where Bette/Susan is playing in The Night Of The Iguana is one of my favorite film moments of the young 2017 season. Now, needles to say, I can't wait for the next chapter.
Now already on episode 3 I can say without a doubt. "Feud" is totally addictive. The writing, the direction, costumes and production design, it all works beautifully, satisfying those who knew nothing about the story and those of us who knew a great deal. The biggest surprise, however is the Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon's performances that puts everything into a level way above, camp and/or caricature. Their performances are serious, profound, all consuming. Two modern stars throw themselves into the emotional investigation of two stars from the past and the results are, let me say it, extraordinary. I'm looking at Joan Crawford through an entirely new perspective. Jessica Lange has humanized her without embellishing her and Susan Sarandon plays with Bette Davis's contradictions making them crystal clear even finding a sort of justification for them. I saw the 3rd episode "Mommie Dearest" twice in a row. That's how riveted I was and still am. Let me also mention Alfred Molina as Robert Aldrich. Sensational.
The whole series so far is a rewarding surprise. No camp caricature here but a serious, incisive portrayal of two iconic characters. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon create her characters based on Joan Crawford and Bette Davis with such virtuosity that every new episode allow us to go deeper without ever turning into parody. Their reality is parody enough. But what touches me is that Lange and Sarandon, taking our preconceptions into account, inspire us to look at this two women as human beings. My admiration also to Alfred Molina - Robert Aldrich? Wow! Absolute perfection. On the latest episode "And The Winner Is..." Two extraordinary moments: Geraldine Page (A superb Sarah Paulson) taking Crawford's call and surrendering to her request because "She needs it" or Anne Bancroft (a wonderful Serinda Swan) receiving Crawford in her dressing room. Bancroft and Page understand Crawford's agony even from a distance. Compassion at last. I'm enjoying Feud with all my senses. Thank you Ryan Murphy and everyone involved.
Ryan Murphy managed the virtually impossible. Finding a tone and the tone has to do with the humanity of this Hollywood gargoyles. I wonder if young Joan and Bette knew where they were heading. Those women that their daughters wrote about, were they who they were or who they became. Jessica Lange throws a light on Joan Crawford that made me, already, re-think her myth. Her fear is actually tangible. Great, great performance. Susan Sarandon captures Davis's temperament and allow us a glimpse into the contradictory nature of the woman. Brilliant, succinct observation - when she throws herself into the role of wife and mother, she was thoroughly miscast. Alfred Molina is superb as Robert Aldrich and Stanley Tucci is terrific as Jack "I show you my hemorrhoids" Warner. I can't wait for the next episode.
Superb. The dream, the wish, the thought. Sitting at a table face to face to say, I'm sorry. Thank you to Ryan Murphy and everyone concerned. Jessica Lange gives a performance that will live for ever, so does Susan Sarandon, in the last episode, her Bette Davis is there, totally, absolutely, chillingly there. What a thrill! Jessica Lange has five or six moments that I think will remain as "acting" landmarks. Alfred Molina's Robert Aldrich, devastating, brilliant! And Jack Warner's Stanley Tucci, a repellent delight. Fabulous eight episodes, eight! Enough to keep us wishing for more.
As someone who worked with actors all his life I'm enormously grateful to Ryan Murphy for putting together with such seriousness and such care this series about a subject that is very rarely if ever touched. And when it is, it tends to be a caricature, a satire, an exaggeration of an exaggeration. Here the drama was tangible and the work of Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, superlative. They managed to transport us from the times of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, as women and actresses, to our times, without betraying it. The characters were one hundred per cent present and the actresses playing them were one hundred per cent present. If acting is an art, and it is, that mysterious fusion between actor and character is the manifestation of it. - Many young actors I'm working with at the moment, some of which had never heard of Steve McQueen, let alone Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, saw "Feud" and compelled and inspire them to want to know more. In the last few weeks I've had them come to me with stories of "All About Eve", "Humoresque", "The Little Foxes", William Wyler, George Cukor... So "Feud" has become a tool, an agent provocateur, a gateway to history, the history of their own profession. It's not wishful thinking on my part. I see it in the young one's faces. Discovering passionately, and their horizons broaden automatically. It's a joy to see. As I close this comment a heartfelt hurrah to Alfred Molina and Stanley Tucci for their fearless, remarkable performances and to everyone involved, thank you very much.
This is rave review, no two ways about it. In retrospect Lang had the
meatier role, as they fleshed out Joan's character in more detail.
Susan with Bette, had a more SANE and centered character to portray.
Both actresses turned in A-Mazing performances and I won't even attempt to compare them as in one was "better" than the other. With both I quickly lost the sense that I was watching an actress "impersonate" a famous person---they both just became the two women they were playing. Obviously it's easily to do a Broad Characterization of Davis. Drag Queens have been doing that FOR DECADES. Sarandon didn't resorts except once or twice, where it made sense, to that shtick. She nails the Character without it. And Lang is no less phenomenal in the way she inhabits Joan Crawford. These are two extraordinary Actresses at their Peek Powers and I won't compare or try to rate one above the other.
The entire cast, male and female and the entire production was simply the BEST that TV has ever Offered. I could write Chapters about every single participated in this series.
It was simply Extraordinary. I captured it on my Spectrum DVR and have watched it over and over again. I can't seem to let go of it. I'm NOT done yet.
Brava/bravo/brave/bravi to EVERYONE involved.
If you haven't been watching this spectacular Ryan Murphy miniseries on
FX, you are missing out.
Murphy has the uncanny ability of going right for the jugular and getting to the heart of the matter. It stings, but it sings.
This is something I often aim for in my own writing.
Life is short. While you'll never hear me complain about long, wide, sweeping vistas and the most elegant dialogue you've ever heard, I also want to get to the point. Don't bury the point. In "Feud: Bette and Joan," Murphy doesn't bury the point, he shines a spotlight on it.
Murphy and all of his directors and one of the most stellar casts you've ever seen anywhere TV, stage or film tell the hell out of the story of the notorious feud between Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
This is simply a master class in acting, screen writing, producing and storytelling. I've never seen anything like it. The actors and I mean all of them are absolutely KILLING these roles. Every single one of them is simply at the top of their game.
I'm writing this review after having seen Episode Six of this eight- installment miniseries. Sorry it took so long.
All I can think is this it was such a shame that Hollywood was hell bent on destroying Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, both of whom were just hitting their strides when Jack Warner felt they were too old to contribute anything worthwhile.
There are so many lessons to be learned here. Here are a few:
Aging isn't a bad thing. It's a glorious thing.
Talent doesn't fade with time, it grows.
Beauty doesn't fade, it changes.
Women get better with age. Period.
Power hungry men are scared little boys.
Hollywood was and is a machine that will chew anyone and I mean anyone - up and spit them out in an instant. Same yesterday, today and probably tomorrow.
Why feud when you can join forces?
Make peace with your past. If you don't, it will haunt you.
Marriage is not for the faint of heart.
Get in front of the story before the story stabs you in the back.
What goes around will surely come back around.
Artistry and fame can co-exist, but it's a tough trick.
When you dig someone's grave, dig one for yourself.
Success is subjective and life is a roller-coaster.
I could go on and on. What fascinates me so much about "Feud: Bette and Joan" is the fact that it's about so much more than a feud between two Hollywood legends. It's truly a cautionary tale about work, ambition, gender, social class, love, marriage, success, money, survival, family, morals you name it.
It's such a pleasure to sit and watch these actors, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Alfred Molina, Judy Davis, Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta- Jones, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Jackie Hoffman and others just having the time of their careers with these roles. It's like watching kids playing, only they're adult actors on screen.
While there are many talented young actors out there, they simply don't have the commanding presence and gravitas of these seasoned veterans. Good actors only get better with age.
Too bad Jack Warner refused to believe that.
Even today, while Hollywood is a bit more generous, any aging actor knows that while wrinkles and thinning hair are great for characters, they signal the death knell for screen careers.
But if you're the vengeful sort, take heart. There's a simple reality that we simply cannot escape whether you're in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington, DC, Wall Street or the Great Plains feud or no feud politics or no politics
No one is getting out of this alive. - Michael K. Corbin http://artbookguy.com/film-reviews-_783.html
I'm 16, and have been a fan of both of these woman since I was 2. I'v watched All About Eve, Mildred Pierce, Queen Bee..etc. Overall the Pilot was a great introduction to the rest of the series. All I can say is that I admire both of these woman, and both Jessica, and Susan can really channel the emotions, and heartbreak you'd never expect from these two Hollywood Icons. Just Amazing!
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