Critic’s Picks: Michelle Pfeiffer’s 10 Best Performances | July 9, 2018

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Best Performances

Since MCU’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” hits the theaters and has great success in the box office (Opening weekend in the US $76,030,000 and $161,030,000 internationally) as expected, media and critics’ eyes are on Michelle Pfeiffer again, The Hollywood Reporter just published an article last Friday and selected their 10 Best Performances of the Ice Queen, take a look:

Critic’s Picks: Michelle Pfeiffer’s 10 Best Performances

From period garb to the Catwoman suit, musicals to mafia films, THR film critic Stephen Dalton ranks the actress’ finest turns as ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ hits theaters.

Photo Courtesy of Photofest

10. Scarface (1983)

The magnetically still center of an operatically lurid melodrama, Pfeiffer was still a relative unknown when she landed a plum co-starring role opposite Al Pacino in Brian De Palma’s ultraviolent cult gangster thriller. As the glittering trophy wife of Pacino’s explosively ambitious Miami cocaine baron, Pfeiffer exudes Melania-like levels of dead-eyed, soul-numbed, caged-bird beauty.

9. Hairspray (2007)

Marrying her singing, dancing and clowning skills to glorious effect, Pfeiffer gives one of her finest comic turns as pushy stage mom Velma Von Tussle in this smash hit screen version of the Broadway musical update of the uber-kitsch John Waters classic. A straight-faced masterclass in vampy camp, with just a hint of Debbie Harry, who originated the role.

8. Mother! (2017)

Pfeiffer gives world-class “resting bitch face” in Darren Aronofksy’s daring, divisive and deranged allegory. It may only be a secondary role to Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence, but she is both hilarious and electrifying as Woman, a Machiavellian monster who alternates between grieving mother and back-stabbing, acid-tongued, Janus-faced houseguest from Hell.

7. The Age of Innocence (1993)

Playing a free-spirited European countess suffering the slings and arrows of a scandalous divorce in 1870s Manhattan, Pfeiffer is the emotional heart of Martin Scorsese’s lavish literary love triangle. Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder co-star, but it is Pfeiffer’s tightly calibrated depiction of repressed lust and bodice-ripping desire that powers the drama.

6. Love Field (1992)

Pfeiffer displays an increasing mastery of accents and subtle command of audience sympathy in Jonathan Kaplan’s heart-tugging retro-drama. She plays Lurene Hallett, a blousy platinum-blonde Dallas beautician whose eyes are opened to racial injustice following John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Despite the film’s troubled launch and lukewarm reception, Pfeiffer’s big-hearted star performance earned her an Oscar nomination.

5. White Oleander (2002)

Cast against type in director Peter Kosminsky’s classy all-star adaptation of Janet Fitch’s Oprah-endorsed best-seller, Pfeiffer takes a rare detour into ice-hearted villainy as Ingrid Magnusson, a poisonous narcissist and abusive mother to Alison Lohman’s long-suffering heroine. Her fierce performance lends humanity to a deeply unsympathetic character, diabolical and manipulative but damaged inside.

4. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Pfeiffer pulls off the tough job of playing the most virtuous, virginal character in this bracingly cynical depiction of sex and power games among the pre-Revolutionary French aristocracy. She won her first Oscar nomination for her brittle, nervy performance as Madame de Tourvel, whose seduction by John Malkovich’s callous womanizer Valmont was mirrored in a real-life affair.

3. Batman Returns (1992)

Replacing a pregnant Annette Bening, Pfeiffer shows her flair for dark comedy as a hissing, whip-cracking, mentally unbalanced Catwoman in director Tim Burton’s second Gotham City caper. The plot makes little sense but Pfeiffer’s kinetic dominatrix energy brings a welcome frisson of sex-dungeon glamour to Burton’s gallery of brooding, dysfunctional, alienated loners.

2. Married to the Mob (1988)

Years before The Sopranos, the late Jonathan Demme nailed the backstage soap opera of underworld crime families with this breezy screwball comedy. Sporting a heavy Brooklyn accent and a curly brunette wig, Pfeiffer virtually disappears inside her starring role as brassy Long Island mafia widow Angela de Marco, a career-making transformation that earned her a Golden Globe nod.

1. The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Channeling the slinky, sexy, sultry spirit of vintage Hollywood screen queens like Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth, Pfeiffer proves her impressive musical chops in writer-director Steve Kloves’ charmingly bittersweet rom-com. She plays Susie Diamond, a seasoned nightclub singer recruited to spice up an ailing cabaret jazz duo, played by Jeff and Beau Bridges. Pfeiffer won a Golden Globe plus an Oscar nomination.

Are these your choice too or you have any other Pfavourites? Will it be Claire Spencer in “What Lies Beneath“, the 1000 years old witch Lamia in “Stardust“, Beth Cappadora in “The Deep End of the Ocean” or lonely waitress Frankie in “Frankie & Johnny“? But I’m sure at least one brilliant performance THR has overlooked and should be on the list: Kyra Johnson in “Where is Kyra?“, which earned tons of praises and rave reviews since it’s premiere in the Sundance Film Festival last year, and hopefully it will lead for some important awards for La Pfeiffer and another Oscar nomination, or even finally win one!

Michelle Pfeiffer in this year’s “Where is Kyra?” is now on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD.

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