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« Love Letters Pt. 1: Zachary Quinto, Ahna O'Reilly, Chris Messina | Main | Melanie's Lynskey's Photo Album Pt 2 »
Thursday
Aug302012

A Love Letter to Noah Taylor

[Editor's Note: Melanie Lynskey Guest Blogging Continues!]

So, the movie Lawless came out last night. I don't know a whole lot about westerns, but I do know this movie is filled with great actors. Including, one of my absolute, all-time, favourite actors, Noah Taylor.

I remember so clearly the first time I saw Noah Taylor in a movie. I was 16, and I saw the movie Flirting, and that was it. I was in love. I loved his face, I loved the way he walked. I loved his voice and the little lisp in it. I loved the way he looked at Thandie Newton so shyly but so directly at the same time. There was such a lovely, innocent quality to him, but underneath it was something really powerful. He was sexy in a very unexpected way. There's a little edge to him and he's so funny in that movie. I went on a Noah Taylor rampage. I saw The Year My Voice Broke, I saw The Nostradamus Kid. At a certain point I realised that the reason I loved him so much was that there is an incredible vulnerability to him. You feel his soul radiating when he's on screen. He just has to glance sideways and you feel your heart twisting in compassion. There is something in his eyes that made me feel like this person has known and understands life, and love, and suffering, and he's putting it up on this screen with no filter. As the young David Helfgott in Shine, he is like a walking open wound. There is such a sweetness to that performance. But you feel him breaking as the movie goes on... just taking the mistreatment and quietly shifting and trying to adjust himself until he collapses inward. It all happens very subtly, but he really sets up Geoffrey Rush's insanely great performance as the older david.

Over the years Noah Taylor has become a truly great and versatile character actor. Every time I see him on screen, I cannot look away. He's played sweet dads (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), rock and roll band managers (Almost Famous), and Adolf Hitler (Max) and been utterly believable as every one. He can play comedy (The Life Aquatic) so beautifully; there is a realness to his humour that is so appealing, and that sweet face can be so goofy when he wants to be goofy. But he can easily access a dangerous quality that can set you on edge. I also love the wide range of genres and sizes of movies he's done. He can do a big silly action movie (Tomb Raider) and look like he's having so much fun while also, totally committing (not easy), and then fit right in to something like The Proposition.

Noah in [from top left]: The Year My Voice Broke, Flirting, Shine, He Died with a Falafel in His Hands, The Life Aquatic, and Submarine

Noah Taylor, I love you, and I'm so happy you're in movies.

- Melanie Lynskey

Next: Chain love letter

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Reader Comments (10)

Time has not been kind to Noah Taylor, sadly, but it's been nice seeing his face (albeit, haggard and worn face) lately in stuff like "Red Dog" and "Submarine". I wasn't aware he was in "Lawless", but it's hardly surprising given the director's nationality.

Personally, I've always preffered Taylor to Rush in "Shine". And, yes, "Flirting" is divine.

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I love FLIRTING too! really touching movie (bonus points for Nicole Kidman's earliest great role). The Year My Voice Broke is also well worth a rental if people want to discover something more obscure.

Glenn -- i also prefer him to Rush in that movie. Less tics or at least more organic feeling tics for a very tic-friendly part :)

August 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Superb actor. I swear Submarine was several notches better just because of his work with Sally Hawkins.

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Z

He always reminded me of another sexy Australian, Nick Cave.

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPUNKBOOKKEEPER

brian z-- i'm just agreeing with your left and right lately. But i do think the parents in SUBMARINE really made that film work, very nice counterpoint work.

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I saw Lawless, and I actually thought Noah Taylor was Nick Cave in it. (Which would make sense, since Cave wrote it.) Thanks for setting me straight, Melanie! Wish he had a bigger part in it.

Agree with everyone here about Flirting and about Taylor > Rush in Shine.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Have you seen Red White and Blue? It's magnificent and he's really brilliant and scary in it.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteryo

yo- I haven't! I must!
Nick- Noah DOES look like Nick Cave...who is another person I am deeply obsessed with.
xo

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Lynskey

Melanie, you have good taste! :) I'll never forget a quote I read once, "Nick in a suit is like sex on a stick".

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPUNKBOOKKEEPER

Y'all realise FLIRTING is a sequel to THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE, right?

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn
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