The Universe and Me

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Not being there

Movie: The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. There’s no way to say this without sounding superficial: Geoffrey Rush is not attractive enough to play Peter Sellers. Not that Sellers was staggeringly handsome. But he had a certain cuteness that either magnified his innate charm or was a manifestation of that charm. Rush does a remarkable job with the mannerisms and voices of Sellers and especially of all the characters Sellers played so I hate to fault him for anything, especially when this movie was intended to be a venomous vilification to make us hate Sellers and succeeds at that. It fails in making Sellers endearing and lovable despite being abusive and obnoxious, which is how that type pf person can make friends to hurt and turn to enemies. He asserted he had no personality (“There used to be a me behind the mask, but I had it surgically removed”), but the problem may have been that he hated his real self (with cause, it seems) and tried to submerge it beneath his roles. Although his childhood wasn’t shown, what we see of his whacked-out mother leads me to think he didn’t stand a chance. He may have thought he needed to make people laugh to be liked and to like himself. He never seemed to apply to his personal life what we can only hope he finally understood with the making of “Being There.” That he didn’t need to be deliberately funny, using fake accents and pratfalls to win over people. Interesting radio was equated with “a circus of twits.” I heard no mention of his playing Quilty. Enjoyed Stephen Fry’s character. (“Green is the unluckiest colour in the spectrum.”) Poor Swedish accent there, Charlize.


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