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.
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