Judy Davis received her first Oscar nomination for playing Adela Quested, in A Passage To India.
A Passage To India holds a special place in my heart, as it remains the only Oscar nominated film I actually fell asleep during. Even the awful, pointlessly long Around The World In 80 Days (which took me three days to finish) seems more interesting then Passage. It’s very good to look at, but the story is flat, and the direction moves at a snail’s pace. Add on top of that some very quiet acting from the entire cast. The story follows a bride to be, journeying to India to see her fiance. Along the way she meets up with an Indian doctor, who she eventually accuses of molesting her.
Judy Davis plays Adela, the bride to be. She goes to India, to not only see her fiance, but to experience the real India, the countryside and it’s people. She loves her fiance, but she always seems to want someone more risky and interesting then him. She’s more liberated in her sexuality then most women in the early 20th century, but oddly, Judy Davis never explores that aspect of the character. We know about her sexual conflicts, but it doesn’t surprise me Davis didn’t show alot of the shadings of Adela, since her performance is on one, long, note.
Judy Davis has always been an actress who I feel never gets in touch with her characters, even her adaptation of Judy Garland felt flat and uninteresting. Here, she never raises her voice, cries a little, but it always seems like too much. Her characterization and the elements of liberation and accusation Adela possesses, never fully connect, as Judy Davis always seems mannered and not to mention, boring. It’s not entirely her fault A Passage To India isn’t entertainment at all, but still, she doesn’t do much to make it interesting either.
Judy Davis’s performance just did not impress me. It’s not interesting, entertaining, or even reliable in the characterization of Adela.