Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The best part of every movie she's in


Michelle Monaghan is delightful.

I've thought it for a long time, so I might as well just go ahead and say it.

She's like a breath of fresh air personified. She's like carbonated joy.

Monaghan may never be an Oscar winner, but she is delightful as all get-out. And who knows, maybe she will win an Oscar. She can do independent drama with a high amount of credibility, if you saw her in Trucker.

However, like every actor or actress, the delightful Michelle Monaghan has made some bad choices. She was in The Heartbreak Kid. She was in Eagle Eye. She was in a couple movies I haven't seen, but was told were bad (Due Date, Made of Honor). In each case of the ones I've seen, and assuming in the cases I haven't, she was not the reason these movies were bad. In fact, she probably made them almost worth watching.

What is it about Michelle Monaghan that makes her so damn charming?

Yes, like many actresses in Hollywood, she's beautiful. But true star quality takes a lot more than beauty, which is why Monaghan has it but Megan Fox doesn't. Star quality involves having personality in your face, and that's where Monaghan really separates herself from the crowd. Just look at how much personality she's expressing in that photo above. In one single expression she manages to convey playfulness, sarcasm and a tendency not to take herself very seriously. Okay, the first and third may be related. But I challenge Megan Fox to make a face like that. She can't because it doesn't come naturally to her. You have to first feel those things to express them in your face, and robots don't have finely detailed thoughts and feelings.

I saw another weak entry in the Monaghan canon, Source Code, this past weekend. After seeing a movie with a ridiculously high concept plot from a director who fills you with high hopes, you should want to blog about any number of other things before you blog about the underdeveloped romantic heroine. The fact that the romantic heroine was underdeveloped was the fault of director Duncan Jones and writer Ben Ripley. The fact that I'm still talking about her was the fault of Michelle Monaghan.

Once again, Monaghan brought the delightful sass that just makes your eyes gravitate toward wherever she is on the screen. You really don't know much about her character, and that's partially driven by the scenario -- you only get to know her during the eight-minute snippets of time that our hero (Jake Gyllenhaal) has to try to solve a train bombing. What he doesn't know, we don't know, and there are iterations of this Groundhog Day scenario where he basically doesn't interact with her at all. So although Monaghan is more involved in some of these vignettes than others, her character still exists at this sort of basic level.

Good thing she's so damn watchable. Even just delivering a few flirtatious lines, she stakes her claim and sticks in your mind. And even though the script hasn't done enough to support the idea that Gyllenhaal's character is falling in love with her, you get it, for the same reasons you fell in love with her in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Mission Impossible III.

Wow, weird choices for movies to fall in love with someone, right? And that's because we still haven't gotten that perfect role from Monaghan, the role that could make her a Sandra Bullock or a Julia Roberts. She's so damn delightful that I really do think the sky is the limit for her. Instead of taking these supporting roles in action thrillers, she needs a successful romantic comedy to propel her into the forefront of our minds. Maybe she thought that movie would be the Farrelly Brothers' remake of The Heartbreak Kid, which ended up being a disaster. Let's hope that experience hasn't scared her off from that type of movie, which, if done correctly, could be the perfect vehicle for her talents. Her next credited title on IMDB is something called Machine Gun Preacher, so I guess she hasn't gotten that particular memo just yet.

However, as long as she keeps working, I'll keep going, no matter what the movies are. Spunky doesn't get much more delightful than this, and delightful doesn't get much more spunky.

And sure, it helps that she's adorable.

1 comment:

Mike Lippert said...

Yes I agree she's got a lot of potential although she hasn't struck me as anyone who is a particularily good part of bad movies (I kind of liked Eagle Eye in a I shouldn't be liking this kind of way) but she does have a lot of presence. Unfortunately, even as a good indie movie, Trucker isn't anything that usually make heads turn. She was also quite good in the first movie I saw her in which was Winter Solstace.