Monday, May 03, 2010

Lynn Redgrave, 1943-2010

I was saddened to hear the news today of Lynn Redgrave’s death. My thoughts and prayers are with her family – especially her sister Vanessa, who, in a little over a year, has lost a daughter, brother, and, now, sister.

I have two special “movie memories” of Lynn Redgrave.

The first is her amazing turn as openly gay director James Whale’s dour housekeeper, Hanna, in Bill Condon's 1998 film, Gods and Monsters.

It's a portrayal that's scene-stealingly funny, yet, in the end, profoundly moving. Why? Because Redgrave plays Hanna as a pious woman who turns out to be bigger and more compassionate than the God she professes to believe in. She was nominated for an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actress" for her role in Gods and Monsters.

The second special “movie memory” I have of Redgrave is her brief but incredibly powerful appearance in the 2004 film, Kinsey.

Steven Winn of the San Francisco Chronicle describes this particular scene as follows:

Lynn Redgrave plays a woman who tells Kinsey his work freed her from guilt to love another woman. “You saved my life,” she says, her radiantly grateful face and brimming eyes filling the screen. She gets up and lays her hand on Kinsey’s in quiet communion.

And here is critic Christopher Kelly’s appraisal of this penultimate scene:

There’s a brief, beautiful sequence near the end, featuring Lynn Redgrave as another sort of late bloomer - an elderly woman who, after reading [Kinsey’s] Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, finally comes to terms with the lesbian feelings she has tried to suppress for decades. The peerless Redgrave sends us out of the theater in tears of triumph, and she connects Kinsey’s science to a very human face. She shows us that, in preaching tolerance, open-mindedness and progressiveness, Alfred Kinsey was really saying this: You’re never too old to learn to love yourself.

In honor of the talented and beautiful Lynn Redgrave, I share her poignant scene from Kinsey.

Recommended Off-site Links:
Actress Lynn Redgrave Has Died at Age 67 - Associated Press, May 3, 2010.
Redgrave’s Death Sparks Internet Searches on Acting Dynasty - Michael Krumboltz (Yahoo! News, May 2, 2010).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Natasha Richardson, 1963-2009
Remembering Alfred Kinsey’s Legacy of Liberation

1 comment:

Terry Nelson said...

Such a talented family - I love them all - so sad about her death.