I find myself often drawn to liking the kind of characters shown, or rather, performed by the f0llowing list of actors in the following films:
Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven.
Alfred Molina in Frida.
Jessica Lange in Big Fish.
Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence.
Kerry Washington in Ray.
Tommy Lee Jones in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Sophie Okonedo in Hotel Rwanda.
Laura Linney in Kinsey.
Donald Sutherland in Ordinary People.
Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind.
The list may just go on and on, but at this point of time, provided that you are familiar with those entries, you can draw one parallel line of similarity on those entries: they all portray faithful spouses, who devote their lives wholeheartedly to their partners. Considering that most of them are taken from the real life stories, the look couldn’t get any more interesting.
Despite the spotlight often falls on the glamorous, larger-than-life characters often portrayed on the big screens, there are always sidekicks or supporting roles who in occurences beyond rarity, steal and even hijack the scenes and the films they are in. With the exception of Moore‘s placement as a leading role (not to mention that the film itself focuses on this supposedly secondary role), the other roles are put as supporting ones, God knows if it’s unknowingly or intentionally.
Certainly they fit to what Tammy Wynette sings in her infamous song “Stand By Your Man” which I shall not probe into this deeper as you may already guess from the title itself.
These characters have become something great on their own for their magical ability in supressing their ego-centrism of themselves to serve their partners dutifully, they are aware of their own choices to be put under or behind the shadows of the men or women they adore and admire. For that, it comes with a price.
Molina has to bear Hayek‘s lust over different kind of life, as to what Moore does to Quaid.
Washington chooses to stick to Charles despite his odd behaviour, while Ryder does it silently, but carefully observes every thought created within Day-Lewis‘s mind.
However, at the end of the day, the so-called suffering that they themselves may not be able to experience those actions as torture for they have embedded within their characteristical thoughts too deep, will get its own reward. To see how Crowe surrenders over Connelly‘s presence and thanks her at the Nobel Prize ceremony scene is a testament on how generosity and endurances will pay off.
Not that they are lack of their own ability or skills that the world may embrace. After all, Linney‘s character is a bright science student prior embarking on a risky life that lasts a lifetime with Neeson. Yet, the turnaround she chooses prove to be a towering platform that strenghtens and enrich herself and the couple’s life.
Or maybe at that time she thinks that she may not be able to move forward with her academic journey as a scientist, we never know. Life’s about different kinds of possibilities and choices we have to make after all.
And to end this ramblings, I can’t help myself humming along this standards that received a dramatic treatment so achingly beautiful by Barbra Streisand at the end of her career-launch pad The Funny Girl:
“oh my man i love him so / he’ll never know / all my life is just a spare / but i don’t care / when he takes me in his arms / the world is bright / alright / what’s the difference if i say / i’ll go away / when i know i’ll comeback / on my knee someday / so whatever my man is / i am his / forever more …”
Goodness! Even a gay icon would love to sing a song strong with male-chauvinism!