Thursday, October 2, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2971: Not Giving Good Actors an Easy Pass - Interstellar Trailer - When the Body Language is Not Congruent with Real Life (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

You have to love Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain. They're all fantastic actors and Christopher Nolan is an outstanding producer. Excellent Sci-fi is rare and timeless - and I'm very much looking forward to seeing "Interstellar" next month. Even special effects, in a very real way, have become another actor. Yet we should not give any of them a free pass.

What is great acting? It is when the words, the paralanguage (tone of voice, pitch, cadence, pauses, crescendo, volume, etc.) and the body language are congruent with the emotion and context of the scene. When one (or more) of these qualities are in disparity - the actor is not replicating "real life" and doesn't suspend our disbelief as much. 

In this moment when astronaut Amelia Brand, played by Anne Hathaway says, "We're not gonna make it!" as a kilometer high wave is approaching, her face is not at all reflective of fear - particularly the profound fear she would have at this moment. Even the great Yuri Gargarin or the unflappable Neil Armstrong would, if they had been in her spacesuit, have their eyelids dramatically more widely open. However Hathaway's are not. Indeed her eyes in this moment are more consistent with sadness and puzzlement. Facing the immediacy of an unanticipated physical threat and of the fear of sudden death - the adrenaline surges and the eyes would take on a classic "white and wide" appearance.

And even with gracious allowances made for the fact she is speaking, Hathaway's mouth has a much lower level of fear displayed here. With high levels of fear the corners of the mouth pull backwards and the lower teeth are significantly more exposed. Of course we can't see her neck, but in the scenario of real fear - the neck muscles become very tented and tensed.

Still .... it makes me wish we had a wormhole.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2970: Benjamin Netanyahu & Barack Obama at the White House - What Netanyahu Really Feels

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2740: Matthew McConaughey Tells Us What He REALLY THINKS about the Motion Picture Academy - Body Language, Ear Screws and Deception

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2268:  Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kathryn Bigelow & Jessica Chastain - Body Language at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2191: Anne Hathaway's Impersonation of Katie Holmes on SNL - "Norming" Katie and Variations on a Theme

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2338:  Why Does Keit Pentus-Rosimannus feel Fear?  Body Language of Estonia's Minister of Environment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2871: Kate Middleton, Andy Murray and Wimbledon - Body Language of Empathy-Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2862: Eli Wallach, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2457:  Surfer Gets Knocked Unconscious by Whale  Body Language Basics from Bondi Beach