Savoring a Sure Thing
Every now and then, though, it restores my faith to return to a known goodie from Oscar's past that I haven't seen in a long while, and which I'm now bound to appreciate with a different critical eye. A perfect case in point is Silkwood, Mike Nichols' superb and humane dramatization of the life of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear-plant employee who died in a very cryptic auto-crash, just as she was preparing to expose her company's most lethal and reckless abuses against their workers. I've written a long review of the film which I hope you'll read and enjoy, but let me add what an awe-inducing treat it is to see Meryl Streep working at her level best with a top-drawer script and director. Sure she was the best thing in A Prairie Home Companion and among the best in The Devil Wears Prada, but her genius in those movies lay in her savvy, lively approaches to the parts, neither of which permitted a truly satiating characterization. Also, she was so conspicuously better than most of what surrounded her in both films that she was almost an unwitting liability, calling a sizable bluff of two enjoyable larks that could have been much, much better. Still, Silkwood, the first of her many and fruitful collaborations with Mike Nicholsmy loving tribute to their subsequent Postcards from the Edge is hererequires no caveats for anyone involved, before or behind the camera. It's a better, fuller, more ambitious movie than it needed to be, and a great palliative, albeit a depressing one, in a summer full of films that are several shades slimmer than they promised to be.
(Image © 1983 ABC Films, reproduced from the Internet Movie Poster Awards site.)