There is little doubt that 2018 produced some amazing films that warranted more than a few trips to the cinema. But most films are only as good as its cast and the way the actor or actress breathes life into the story. In no particular order, and from no specific genre, here are five performances that stood out in 2018.
- Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place & Mary Poppins Returns
The acting in A Quiet Place is virtually flawless and Emily Blunt is in a class of her own. In a film completely dependent on facial communication Blunt delivers a virtuosic performance of silent emotion.
In a complete departure from her character in A Quiet Place Emily Blunt steps into the shoes of Mary Poppins, one of the most iconic characters in all of cinematic history. Her charm and dry wittiness combine impeccably and she proves herself to be a more than dazzling successor to Dame Julie Andrews. Add to this her lovely singing voice and she is a delight in this role. In fact, she’s practically perfect in every way.
- Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Rami Malek delivers a mesmerizing performance that you will not soon forget. In the performance/singing scenes he makes you believe that he is Freddie Mercury particularly as he struts around the Live Aid stage. But it is his intuitive and thoughtful portrayal of the man rather than the superstar that strikes a cord in a performance that is more an homage than it is an imitation. As Malek has already snapped up the Golden Globe for Best Actor it wont come as a surprise if he walks away with an Oscar too.
- Glenn Close – The Wife
In the midst of all the hype and hoopla surrounding other performances and films Glenn Close’s performance in The Wife may not have received its merited acclaim from the wider audience. But it in no way diminishes the stunning and captivatingly poignant performance by Close.
Though the narrative may not be the most original presented to the audience Glenn Close’s portrayal of Joan Castleman, the long suffering wife, is intuitively subtle and delivered by an actress clearly at the top of her game. So excellent is her performance that without Close this film wouldn’t be anything to talk about. And there is a good chance that Glenn Close, ever the underrated actress, could finally get the Oscar that has eluded her for so long.
- Danai Gurira – Black Panther
While T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) stands firm as the main character, Black Panther, he comes close to being outshone and outperformed by Danai Gurira who portrays Wakanda’s greatest warrior, and all round badass, General Okoye.
Just as the cultural impact of Black Panther should not be underestimated the representation of General Okoye is equally as impactful. The unyielding performance by Gurira re-writes all expectations for female characters in a Superhero film. There is no fighting over the guy or needing to be saved instead she’s fierce and more than capable of holding her own.
Best Film of 2018
What would any list be without at least the mention of, arguably, the year’s best film? A Quiet Place is one of the most imaginative and cleverly crafted films that have been created in some time, especially in the genre of horror. It is a magnificent accomplishment of skillful storytelling and is profoundly effective in its understated terror. Though it may ostensibly be about man-eating monsters at its core it is about family. A terrifying thrill, this film exceeds all expectations.