Thursday, July 30, 2009

I hereby declare it to be Toni Collette Thursday

It's the morning after the night of the United States of Tara. It's very difficult to come up with a decisive assessment on the series after only half an hour but hey, let's give it a go.

I'll get straight to the point. There's one reason to watch the program and that's Toni Collette. The script clearly offers her the opportunity to present a tour de force in character acting with the various alter egos of Tara. Last night we were introduced to two of them - "T" - the irresponsible teenager and "Buck" - the Vietnam veteran. And there was one moment that will make me return to watch again next week. Tara finds her daughter having trouble with her boyfriend outside her school. Tara gets back in the car and transforms into Buck. It was subtle yet overpowering. I very much doubt that "Our Nicole" or even "Our Cate" could have pulled this scene off with such success. Too often with character pieces you can "see the acting". For I think there is a difference between inhabiting a character and actually becoming a character. And in that short scene I saw Tara become Buck. I didn't see Toni Collette "getting into character". I've always thought Collette has been short changed in terms of critical acclaim. Is it because her big break was a comedy? (which when I think about wasn't actually so much funny as tragic). If so, that's silly. She was absolutely devastating in Japanese Story. Take that Ms Kidman and your false nose.

Enough of my waffle. The other reason to watch so far is John Corbett(i.e. Chris-in-the-Morning from Northern Exposure) as Tara's husband. I'll watch him in anything. Even My Big Fat Greek Wedding...and that's saying something.

Stay tuned for more opinionated posting after next week's episode.

7 comments:

2paw said...

I thought it was excellent. I liked the transitioning too, subtle, but effective. I don't think it is a 'comedy' as such. It is not really laugh out loud, but for and American show, strangely understated and clever!! At least CITM is still recognisable as himself, I can never believe Don Epps from Numb3rs is really the man from Northern Exposure!!
PS Hope your morning was all ear rings and Berocca and no mice!!

Catriona said...

I've not been interested enough to watch United States of Tara and I don't think I ever will be--too much television, too little time.

But I have been rewatching Northern Exposure, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed that show, how non-white the cast and mise en scene are, and how very very pretty John Corbett was back then.

Wendy said...

yes earrings intact 2paw and berocca digested all in good time.

I will be interested to see how the tone of the program develops. I don't know if it's going to be "must see TV" but it's interesting in terms of the theme and character. Much more so than say, for example, Mad Men.

And John Corbett is still quite pretty in my humble opinion. I love Northern Exposure for all the reasons you have mentioned Catriona. Pity it sort of fizzled when Dr Fleischman left.

celiapowell said...

I finished watching the first season of United States of Tara a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed it - Toni Collette's performance throughout is incredible. What an amazing actor - she pulls off these complete transformations so believably.

Wendy said...

Hello Celia! That's encouraging. I look forward to seeing what comes next. If she's able to maintain the performance that makes it all the more amazing.

celiapowell said...

She does this marvellous thing in one of the last episodes where she pretends, for a moment, to transition into one of the other selves - and being Tara acting like that self is completely different to a proper transitioning into that self. Does that make sense? Anyway, it's a great moment :-)

Wendy said...

yes it definitely does. sounds great. can't wait for more. :)