Watching Out of Africa earlier this week, in which a young Meryl Streep appears as Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen, dressed in various period costumes from the late 1910s and early 1920s, I was struck by just how much she looked like Virginia Woolf.  The round, hooded eyes, the slyly pursed mouth: how is it possible that Streep actually appeared in a film about Woolf (The Hours, dir. Stephen Daldry, 2002) in which she was not cast as the author in question?  Of that film’s three female leads, Nicole Kidman—who does play Woolf, and who somehow won a Best Actress Oscar for doing so—gives what is arguably the weakest performance.  I can’t help but imagine how different (read: better) the film would have been if Streep had been moved into the role and another actress had taken over her own as a latter-day Clarissa Dalloway.   

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