• George

Meryl Streep's Great Performances

To celebrate the birthday of Meryl Streep I have selected some of the best performances in her long and illustrious career! She dominates all roles in whatever film she is cast. And with a whopping 21 Oscar nominations, it is no surprise that she has become one of the greatest actors to grace our screens. Streep has given us some iconic performances and picking just three was a serious challenge – I will focus on her performance in each and express her amazing talent in honour of her and her birthday.

Mamma Mia (2008)

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is preparing for her wedding on the beautiful Greek island she lives on with her mother Donna (Meryl Streep). Desperate to know the identity of her father she invites three men to the wedding, all mentioned in her mother’s journal. Donna of course knows nothing! You can expect awkward conversations and hilarious situations to ensue as three of her old lovers descend on this little island. To top this all off is the musical numbers, all ABBA hits! It is charming and fun with an interesting and varying degree of musical talent (looking at you Piers Bronsnan). But Streep and Seyfried make up for it doing a fantastic job as this iconic mother, daughter duo.

This is the craziest of the three performances I have picked – Streep just let go and had fun in this role and we can really see that! There is no heavy lifting for her to do she just sings and does something that resembles dancing! It is a performance like this that shows her true range, she is funny and charming and light. A different woman than her other roles have allowed her to be. She brings a smile to all those that watch her and has fans coming back to the film over and over. It is such a refreshing role and wow she can sing!

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) lands herself a job as the assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). The brutal and demanding editor-in-chief of a highly successful fashion magazine - Miranda is aloof and demanding! She asks a lot of her assistants demeaning them with tasks not suitable for talented individuals equipped with their own degrees. Andy must adapt and change herself for this job (looks and personality) just in the hopes of winning over Miranda and furthering her career in the fashion world.

This may be the most iconic performance of Meryl Streep! Her performance as Miranda is insane and incredible. She embodies the high-flying powerful woman with that nasty streak running through her and plays it so, so well! Streep is nuanced here when compared to Mamma Mia – while her exterior is hard there seems to be a soft underbelly to Miranda hinted at throughout the film. It is due to her amazing skill that this character becomes the three-dimensional success that we know and love. It is powerful and moving! It is no surprise that this hard character has become so iconic and even endearing.

Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) is a career man who has neglected his marriage and son. His wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) leaves her husband and son Billy (Justin Henry), forcing Ted to balance his life and become a better father in her absence. He learns to put family first. But then enters a nasty custody battle with Joanna for their son putting a spotlight on gender roles within marriage. It is in the second half that Joanna is given a voice.

This performance is one of her most powerful. Her character enters at the half-way mark as the bad guy - She is the one that broke up the dynamic duo of father and son. The more you delve into the character of Joanna the more you learn about the myriad of pressures felt from her husband, son, and society. This comes to a climatic head in her immense speech at the court proceedings. Streep portrays such depth of emotion with it bubbling over. The mix of deep sadness and rage is etched onto her face as she controls these complex emotions allowing them to boil over in a speech that reaches a fever pitch. It is gobsmacking and brilliant and utterly changes the dynamic of how we see Ted and Joanna. It is a masterclass of acting.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of Streep's greatest ever performances, it does give you a taste of just what kind of range and talent she has! She has stood the test of time, keeping ever relevant and always on our screens. This is mainly down to her incredible talent as an actor, some of her performances will never be topped! Happy Birthday Meryl Streep!

Written By George Marshall

Edited By Isobella Norman

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