My memory bank of movie reviews doesn't stretch as far back as it should, but am I wrong in feeling that Nine is the first time people have been ragging on the critical behemoth known as Daniel Day-Lewis? It's almost as though some critics have been longing to tear him apart for ages. As per The Guardian: "Listen: can you hear a sort of whooshing and gurgling? That is the sound of Daniel Day-Lewis flushing his mystique down the toilet. He has mystifyingly taken the non-singing lead in a musical that is hideously naff, shallow, creepingly misogynist, badly acted and as phoney as a three-lire bill." Yikes. Surely you ought to rack up at least one or two more bombs before they write you off that way!
Day-Lewis gets so much press for being so deeply method that I constantly like to tell people to watch movies like The Boxer, Room With a View, or The Age of Innocence because he's so appealingly low key in them. There Will Be Blood and Gangs of New York are all very well and intense, but surely the true test of a very good actor is when they can turn off the scary eyes and actually play someone you'd invite home for tea. It's the contrast that makes Day-Lewis who he is, or will be once the dust settles on the milkshake drinking.
With that, I'd like to give you one of my favorite scenes from The Age of Innocence. It's hard to pick just one, and pulling just one frame out of Martin Scorsese's delicate film feels like yanking a piece out of a tapestry. Still, this one is as good as any. This is the beginning of Newland Archer's obsession with the haunting Countess Olenska -- and his sentimental line about the romantic play they're watching is an intriguing tell as to the nature of Archer's soul, and just how he has viewed relationships up until now.