Amanda Bauer - Claudia - The Myth of the American Sleepover (32nd)
On the last night of summer before the start of school we follow a group of teenagers as they cross paths, interact and narrowly miss each other as they search for the popular party, an elusive crush, romance and a little adventure. When we look back at our adolescence it is usually caught between a nostalgic limbo and one of the more hellish periods of life, we remember the bad and eulogise the good at least that’s what I’ve caught myself doing. In Myth we look at the mostly good, the small moments that we rarely forget that can have the biggest impact on our futures selves. It’s a loving amble through one night and is a beautifully made and wonderfully acted (there are several brilliantly natural turns) piece, a freshman Robert Altman with overlapping stories and crisscrossing characters all linked in some way or another. It can be seen as a tad earnest in its depiction but I felt it was sufficiently awkward, movingly confused and yet confident about itself as a representation of a certain stage of youth. In amongst all this there are a number of standouts including Claire Sloma as Maggie, Marlon Morton as Rob and Brett Jacobson as Scott Holland. My favourite though is Amanda Bauer as the girl who kisses another’s boyfriend, hey the girl got with her crush! As Claudia, Bauer is superb, a self-assured new girl who has an unexpected spikiness and the intelligence to use it. Now it may be the faint Linda Manz vibes that personally struck a chord but Bauer gives an assured and striking performance.
John Hawkes - Patrick - Martha Marcy May Marlene (28th)
I always liked John Hawkes, as a mostly satisfied if forever longing Deadwood fan I enjoyed and respected his performance as the affable Sol Star a performance equal to those around him and no less memorable but certainly not as juicy? Still Hawkes obviously had the goods and soon we saw him as Teardrop Dolly in the excellent Winterbone where, as actors have it he was very different but no less good. In Martha, Hawkes again plays opposite and offers sterling support to a phenomenal debutant leading actress the difference for me this time is that as commune leader Patrick he sticks around longer in the mind and in the gut. He is intense and though I wouldn’t say charismatic he certainly knows how to lure and manipulate new comers to the fold by focusing his attentions on them. It is a chilling, uncomfortable and downright disturbing portrait of a man who establishes power by changing the names of his devotees, psychologically (before physically) pervading their person.