This is my first blog since my MA course came to an end, so I’ve decided to write a more personal blog in order to steer away from an academic writing style and showcase more of my own voice. For this reason, this post is going to focus on one of my favourite actors, the incomparable Frances McDormand. As always, this list is purely subjective: and come on, ALL of McDormand’s performances are amazing!
4. Olive Kitteridge (2014)
Based on the Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, this miniseries is guaranteed to entertain any McDormand fan for its four hour duration. The plot focuses on the slightly prickly titular character (played by McDormand) and her often strained relationships with her husband and son. I do not want to spoil the various plot developments for anyone, but you can check out the trailer HERE.
3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson is one of my favourite directors, and his unique brand of zany comedy is on full display in this movie. Moonrise Kingdom is set in the 1960s and is basically a coming-of-age story about two twelve year olds, Sam and Suzy, who fall in love and decide to run away together just as a storm is approaching their tiny New England island. McDormand plays Suzy’s mother, Mrs Bishop, a complicated woman with love problems of her own. Boasting a bizarre host of characters brought to life by an all-star cast that includes Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton, this film is the perfect Sunday afternoon watch.
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
McDormand gained her fifth Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Mildred Hayes in this razor-sharp comedy/drama, and is the favourite to win the Best Actress category tonight at the 90th Academy Awards. The film deals with the quest of Mildred as she attempts to ‘encourage’ the local law enforcement to solve the rape/murder of her teenaged daughter, with the help of some well-worded billboards. I am absolutely OBSESSED with this movie (I’ve seen it twice already!) and I adore Mildred – she is a three-dimensional, well-developed female character who is fighting and struggling to get the justice she desperately craves and deserves for herself and her daughter. The only problem with this movie is that you have to make it to a cinema in this weather to see it!
1. Fargo (1996)
Was there ever any doubt?!?!?! Number one on this list goes to this iconic black comedy from the Coen brothers. McDormand took home the Oscar for her vulnerable yet tough performance as she provides the emotional heart of the film as Marge Gunderson, the heavily pregnant police chief tasked with solving the strange kidnapping of the wife of a car salesman (played by William H. Macy). The movie is also set in Minnesota and it snows ALL. THE. TIME in this film. Perfect for this cold Irish weather! Fargo is available to watch on Netflix and you can check out McDormand’s Oscar acceptance speech HERE.
*Title Quote: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Dir. Martin McDonagh. Perf. Frances McDormand. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2017.