My friend Daryl suggested that perhaps Keira would not wear a hat and that I, a completely impartial critic who is simultaneously totally biased in Keira’s favor, would fall all over myself to praise this tactical costume change-up, probably calling it something like, say, a mixture of transplendent and stupendous – call it, stupsplendentous. This wouldn’t be inaccurate. But the thing is, for all this blog’s Keira Knightley In Hats flattery, we are just as aware of how she pretty much slays any form of clothing like a silver screen Kate Middleton, just as she slays in any sort of role period because Keira is transformational.
Keira, see, does not figuratively (literally) shapeshift like Day-Lewis. No, she has a timeless quality that allows her to function equally brilliantly in period pieces and modern fare. This is why Cecilia Tallis’s emotional repression that eventually gives way is strikingly akin to Joanna Reed’s, just as I swear, if you look close, Elizabeth Benet and Gretta James possess the same sort of sunny ferocity. And though that might make it sound like her performances across the eras are the same, she provides distinctive shading to each character to set them apart, like Cecilia passionately plunging ahead and Joanna cautiously easing forward. That shading, of course, extends just as ably to costuming, where Keira can cycle through all manner of wardrobe choices, past or present, while making each one not merely believable but so damn fetch.
Keira Knightley in a hat.
Keira Knightley in a scarf.
I just blew your mind.