Nicole recently celebrated a milestone birthday, the acclaimed Aussie actress turned 50! Belated birthday wishes to Nicole.
Nicole has long been one of my favourite actresses. I like how she always chooses such different and interesting roles. I can’t wait to see her reunite with Jane Campion in the second season of Top of the Lake.
Nicole makes her characters believable and makes you feel the sorrow, joy, fear etc that they are enduring. In honour of her reaching this special birthday, I’m listing five films in which I feel she gives her best screen performances.
1 – The Others (2001) Nicole plays Grace, a mother living alone on the Channel Islands with her two children. Grace tries to get to the bottom of the strange and frightening disturbances happening in her house. Nicole has to deliver a very emotional performance in this one. Grace is strong and in control at first, then she becomes frightened, then paranoid and finally emotionally devastated. One of the best horror films ever made. There is a gut punch of a twist at the end, that will leave you both open mouthed in shock and sobbing.
2- Rabbit Hole (2010) A raw film looking at how people cope with loss in their life. Nicole plays Becca, a woman whose son was killed in a car accident. Becca can’t even begin contemplating going back to normal daily life. She is angry and confused when her husband seemingly can begin to rebuild his life. Nicole captures the numbness you feel after a loss, and how the loss consumes you; everyday life becomes something you don’t want to endure. This features one of Nicole’s most powerful performances.
3- Moulin Rouge! (2001) Nicole is a modern day Marilyn Monroe in this dazzling musical. Nicole is Satine, the beautiful star attraction at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub. She is forced to choose between two very different men. Tragedy lies just around the corner. Nicole perfectly captures the joy Satine feels when faced with the possibility of a life away from her current one. She longs to be valued for herself alone, not for her physical beauty and sexiness. Satine knows though, that the reality is she will never escape this life or perceived impression of her. Nicole has to portray a confident, sexy woman, who is also harbouring a sad secret which will bring heartbreak once revealed. An unforgettable and moving performance.
4- The Portrait of a Lady (1996) Nicole plays Isabel, a wealthy heiress who is nothing more than a beautiful ornament to most of the men in her life. Nicole captures the growing realisation of this in her character, and shows us how this character copes in her life with this knowledge. A lot of her performance is found in the eyes alone, it is a subtle and memorable performance. Your heart breaks for this woman who longs for happiness and freedom, in a restrictive era for women.
5- Dead Calm (1989) Nicole plays Rae, a young mother grieving for her dead son. She and her husband (Sam Neil) go out on their yacht to give themselves a break. They pick up an insane man (Billy Zane)and are soon fighting for their lives. Nicole starts out as fragile and depressed, but later transforms into a strong and determined woman fighting for her life, and that of her husband. I like the scenes where she tries to hide her disgust and fear of Zane’s character and take control of the situation. This is a cracking thriller with a Hitchcock feel.
Honorable mentions: The Hours, Birth, The Interpreter and To Die For.
Which films do you consider to be Nicole’s best? Please leave your comments below.