Monday, April 28, 2014

A Study in Scarlett

I'd been at best apathetic, at worst faintly derogatory towards actress/singer/model/ex-Global Ambassador Scarlett Johansson; I'd never found her performances that captivating and didn't think her particularly talented or attractive (that wispy blonde look not my thing: routinely voted sexiest woman in the world, I remember seeing a photo of her some years ago in a woman's magazine without make up on, lo and behold, she looked just like you or me; in fact, she looked worse than you or me).

So why is it I've never found her more watchable, more human, more alluring and more vulnerable than in two recent films in which she plays a computer operating system in one and an alien in the other? In Spike Jones' Her you only hear her voice: she plays Samantha, an advanced computer OS who Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with. In Under the Skin (above), directed by Jonathan Glazer, she's an alien driving round Glasgow in a white van picking up young men. In both films, I've never felt such empathy and affection for her.

Though she resigned from Oxfam as Global Ambassador after promoting SodaStream (whose headquarters are on the West Bank), Oxfam are "grateful for her many contributions ... [in] helping to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds to save lives and fight poverty". Of course, without her, we'd have no idea of the impact of natural disasters.

It embarrassingly occurs to me I have an album of her cover versions of Tom Waits' songs, Anywhere I Lay My Head. I have it by accident, I swear, but it's not that bad, a tad over-produced perhaps, but dreamy and quite listenable.

Previously on Barnflakes:
I'm in Love
Alien Underwear

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