' ' Cinema Romantico: My Favorite Performance of 2017 (delayed)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

My Favorite Performance of 2017 (delayed)

Any movie that makes your breath come up short always requires a critical unpacking, or at least a layman's after the fact working through, to truly grasp how and why it elicits that sensation. Even so, I simultaneously remain a devout believer in the ambiguous non-theory of You Know When You Know — that is, when you see your favorite movie of the year you just, like, know, and when you see your favorite movie performance of the year you just, like, know. And while I knew my favorite movie of the year, even if I might have tried to talk myself out of it a little when I composed my inessential year-end Top 10, the one detail I knew about my favorite movie performance of the year was that I did not know at all.

Oh, I love all the performances on my year-end list, absolutely, and when someone would ask me to name my favorite performance of 2017 I would generally reply Cynthia Nixon in “A Quiet Passion.” And she was phenomenal. But. I knew that wasn’t it. And, as is usually the way of such things, the only reason I didn’t know was simply because I hadn’t seen it yet.

Though I will get into it more deeply in my actual review being posted tomorrow, I still wanted to make an official proclamation because this is my blog and, hey, what is a blog if not an avenue for making official pronouncements that no one is paying attention to? So. Willem Dafoe in “The Florida Project” was my favorite movie performance of 2017. For a lot of reasons, surely, like how he chooses to have his character, manager of a shabby central Florida motel, deal with some irksome cranes in the manner of a teacher at recess, but another one I could not fit into my review that I will therefore offer here in the form of an in-advance outtake is this — the way he has his character hunt-and-peck at the computer keyboard. His turn is so evocatively lived-in, and those sorts of little bits of actorly behavior are why.

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