Wayne's Recommendations of the Week
But not the musical version or the film of the musical version. This contemporary version has really focused on the emotional integrity of the text. It's the first time I've seen this story and not felt that it runs on too long or indulges in itself too much. And the choice to make it a series gives them the flexibility to spend more time on the arcs of the characters--the moral meat of the tale Victor Hugo was trying to weave.
It's truly excellent acting, and it made me cry, which a television show hasn't done for me in a while.
For those American actors struggling to understand why all these British and European actors are starting to dominate Hollywood, I would beg you to consider their training infrastructure. Starting in youth, there are schools focused on developing skills in the arts almost more as a trade school does than as a general academic high school in America. Several actors move on from those schools straight to training at theaters, in mentorship programs, or academies (which are different from universities). Training is taken seriously, it's about much more than being pretty. Hollywood needs to be careful our own local actors are not skimping on their training or they won't be able to compete.
"Cheri" with Michelle Pfeiffer
For those actors deeply concerned about falling into the "trap" of type, look no further than Michelle Pfeiffer in this role for an example of a solution. It was made for her, and yet is an opportune departure from previous roles.
Michelle Pfeiffer is often under-regarded as an actress. She's incredibly beautiful, and many people have a hard time seeing past that beauty. Why cast her to be anything but beautiful? This has led to fewer meaty roles for her to sink her teeth into. And prove herself with.
But here, as she is aging, she finds new "types" that can she perform, and new opportunities to showcase an emotional complexity and a very clean acting technique that can give a career new life. The lesson? When you transform out of one type, or that type ceases to be popular in Hollywood's repertoire, show them a new way to reimagine you.
In the words of one reviewer, "her acting is invisible." Which is exactly how it should be.