Making the Case for ‘Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress’!

Thanks to Josh over at TheCinematic Spectacle, I once again heard about an Blog-a-thon I wanted to be a
part of.  Stevee over at CinematicParadox is hosting a Blog-a-thon inspired by films or performances that are not
going to get the awards consideration they deserve.  When I saw this there was one name that instantly
came to my mind and I knew what I had to do.



So, I present to you…

Seriously, can we make Greta
Gerwig ‘a thing’?  I really want this to happen so badly.  Her Spirit
snub was painful, considering that Stillman’s return to form was so exciting
and her performance within it was astonishing to say the least, but I was overjoyed
to see her nominated by the Detroit Film
Critics
, even though that means absolutely nothing.
I was introduced to Gerwig back
in 2010, when she starred alongside Ben Stiller in Greenburg and landed a nomination from The Independent Spirit Awards and became the talk of the town for
about a week and a half.  Everyone was
smitten by her surprise performance, filled to the brim with sharp comedic
timing and dramatic depth that grounded her character and made her feel so
richly human.  When I got Damsels in Distress in the mail a few
weeks back I was anxious to get it going. 
It took me a minute (Stillman’s constructive style is very unique) but
by the third scene I was sold entirely, and most of that was due to the way
that Gerwig developed the character of Violet. 

Perfection…
 
As the somewhat abrasive and
manipulatively judgmental ringleader of her ‘clique’, Violet is an easy girl to
hate.  Gerwig colors her with such
personality that one can’t help but LOVE to hate her.  Violet talks bad about everyone, has a
serious opinion about everything and masks her personal insecurities with a seemingly
faux desire to help others.  The thing
is, Violet really isn’t all that evil, she just appears that way.  Her saccharine sweetness that is offset by
her abrasive bark is genuine to the core, she just has a really hard time
communicating it properly.  What is so
remarkable about Gerwig’s performance is that she actually nails a deeper soul instead
of merely presenting us with a skeletal observation of a loon.  Violet is so bizarre and almost idiotic in
her reasoning and so one could have easily played her for cheap laughs,
creating mere comic relief.  Instead,
Gerwig took the opportunity to embellish Violet, giving her real depth.  You can feel her inner pain, even if it at
times stems from a ridiculous place.  She
never feels as fake as she appears; which is another feat in itself.  Gerwig beautifully balances out the outward
appearance of Violet with the inner emotional growth. 
At the end of the day, she isn’t
the villain we all thought she was and we’re pining for her happiness.
Besides, who can hate anyone intent on curing the world’s problems through dance?

Poor Gerwig hasn’t a chance at an
Oscar nomination, and she’ll most likely be shafted by the Globes as well, even
though she delivers the best comedic performance I’ve seen this year, by
anyone.  Still, Gerwig has earned an
eternal place in my heart, and baring something massive*, a Fisti nomination to boot!

*that ‘something massive’ would have to come in the form of four
performances I deem better than hers of what I have yet to see, considering
that she is currently my runner-up to Rachel Wiesz

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