In praise of Jennifer Beals

When considering great living actors, I don’t often think of Jennifer Beals.  Does anyone?  I’m not even sure that what I’m responding to when I see her on screen is great acting; it’s more of a presence, a quality, that pulls me toward her.  The delicate nature of her movements and the quiet, warm timbre of her voice risk being drowned out by the outsized affects of just about everyone else working in Hollywood.  But that quietness, that delicacy, is magnetic.  When she appeared in Nanni Moretti’s Dear Diary (Caro Diario, 1994, pictured above), playing herself, I couldn’t help but smile.  For Moretti—and for many others—Beals is best remembered for Flashdance (1983).  For me, she will always be Cinderella.  And in Roger Dodger (dir. Dylan Kidd, 2002) she has a scene with Elizabeth Berkley, Jesse Eisenberg, and Campbell Scott that is so beautifully written and acted that it floored me.

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