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"She can be rather bland (see Drive for one blatant example) BUT when she is on, she is on fire. Phenomonal in Shame and Never Let Me Go." - Huh

"She will have a long and fruitful career. I see her like the next Charlotte Rampling. Aging gracefully carrying complicated roles in complicated movies." - Peggy Sue


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Belated Birthday Flowers: Carey, Annette, Helena

Belated Birthday May Flowers ~  Andrew here.

It’s the end of May and with the end of the month comes the end of May Flowers (*tear*). This past week saw three significant birthdays pass by for The Film Experience – Helena Bonham Carter (May 26), Carey Mulligan (May 28) and Annette Bening (May 29). Although we didn’t carve out proper time at TFE to fête each of them  – a combined celebration of May Flowers will surely suffice. True, they’re all at different stages in their career but if there’s one thing that we at The Film Experience know it’s that actresses are the flowers in the garden of cinema and we just couldn’t survive if they stopped prospering. So, on with the celebration. 

First up, Carey Mulligan...

It’s not surprising that her breakthrough character Jenny Mellor is the one on the receiving end of flowers. It seem like everyone is interested in courting her, doesn’t it? But, are they really? Since her breakout performance in An Education she’s been in seven films (eight if you count the upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis) with major roles in only four of those, so it’s not as if she’s truly been as ubiquitous as people believe. Were she receiving that bouquet from me and not a slimy, cheating husband (what has Peter Sarsgaard been up to since An Education) my message would be, “Keep doing what you’re doing.” Between roles like Irene, Sissy, and Kathy she’s at least proven her versatility. And who would have imagined our Jenny Mellor would grow up to be Daisy Buchanan? She deserves any flowers coming her way, I’d say.

Our Lady Annette...

Carey is lucky to receive flowers from suitors. The Bening is proactive - she’s not waiting for flowers to turn up at her door but growing them on her own. It’s the unfortunate fate of many actresses over forty who are not working with subtitles. Big name directors aren’t as interested in courting them as muses. Looking ahead we’ve got three Annette ventures that seem promising. Annette has been a case study for actors who’ve maintained their talents (or even improved them) as they’ve grown older.

What would 2013 Annette be thinking looking at that sleek rose? Probably some variation on, “I’m as flawless as this American Beauty.” She’d be right.


Carey’s receiving flowers, Annette grows her own, Helena Bonham Carter seems fine just standing in a field of them. That's telling. Though it's a touch disingenuous to say that Helena has given up on acting - she is still sometimes the saving grace of her films (looking at you Alice in Wonderland) -- but post Sweeney Todd it seems she’s too often willing to merely exist, content to "be" instead of thrive. That's why I was so intrigued by the news that she’d be playing Elizabeth Taylor for BBC. If there’s one things that’s unfortunately separated post 2000 Helena from pre 2000 Helena it’s the lack of risk in her role choices. It might be difficult to find another Kate Croy to play, but if I could send Helena a message on her birthday it would be to push herself more. She’s good enough to make stock queenly figures lilt, but let’s hope she looks for more than just stock figures to play in the near future.

We send Carey, Annette and Helena separate virtual bouquets tonight. Which cards would you like to co-sign? What would your message be to these actresses?  


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Reader Comments (12)

I really enjoyed reading this! I love all three of these women.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Nathaniel: Please name your favorite performances from each of these three actresses.

Here are mine

Mulligan, "An Education" ('09)
Bening, "The Kids Are All Right" ('10)
Bonham Carter, "Fight Club" ('99)

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

BVR - sure "an education", "the grifters", and "wings of the dove"

Andrew -- i think you hit the card messages spot on. Helena needs to stretch again. Carey needs to seal the deal on her rep with a big perfect leading role, and The Bening just needs to keep on doing what she do. Such a talent that one.

June 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I love Bening cos she has kept being diverse and has not touched her face,so the life still lives in it.

Mulligan has capatalised on her promise and will keep doing so.

Bonham carter i agree totally on,she even seemed to be doing her sweeny todd bit in tks.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I'm sad that Helena doesn't have a stronger pedigree in the US, because she is very beloved here in Europe, and not just because of Harry Potter.

Most people I know think she's a very good actress. The sad part about this is that they haven't even seen The Wings of the Dove.

She really needs to step out of her comfort zone (like Depp, btw). On the other hand, I feel she'll be ok, she'll have Tim and she'll be like Helen Mirren perhaps and achieve ubiquity when she's older.

P.S. - Speaking of British powerhouses, I NEED MORE EMMA THOMPSON. She rarely works now and it's a pity, because she is one of my favorite living actresses.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Carey Mulligan is the new Keira Knightley, as far as status/british talent A-List is concerned. Only without the backlash and with more range.

She needs to bring her usual level of excellence to a leading role. Her last one - Never Let Me Go - was a disappointment. When Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling and Keira Knightley run circles around you when you're the lead, you know you're doing something wrong.

To LA BENING (I'm sad she hasn't shown up, she usually loves to comment when TFE acknowledges her :P): NEVER. CHANGE.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I saw An Education and thought it was ok, didn't really get the Carey hype (I think I just didn't really like Jenny) and then I saw Shame and I was like wow. I'm a fan. She was so good in Shame, and so completely different than Jenny.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I feel Carey is more like a Winslet than a Knighley,although KK is getting better and better,seems she has been on the up since that oscar nom in 2006 and then being criminally overlooked in The Duchess in 2008.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I agree with you, Carey has the potential of becoming a Winslet, but she'll need the Oscar love to back it up.

I'm not saying it won't happen, although if it is true that Kate got her 1st, 2nd and 3rd noms from Oscar prestige (Titanic/Sense & Sensibility/Iris) and even 2 more noms from novel adaptations (albeit with A LOT of nude scenes - The Reader and Little Children), she did manage to get a nom from Eternal Sunshine, very far from Oscar's usual wheelhouse.

Carey couldn't manage the same from Shame or Drive, even if we still have to consider that Kate's Eternal Sunshine nom was her 4th. Nevertheless, they could have gone the easy way and nominate her for Finding Neverland (they did nominate Depp).

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

P.S. - I don't 'get' the Keira Knightley hate. Ok, she excells in prestige novel adaptations/period drama but what's the problem with that?

Not everyone has to be Jennifer Lawrence (whom I love) who's currently playing two heriones from two different franchises (Katniss and Mystique) + won an Oscar for a character that was very wrong for her (she's too young) and is doing another O. Russell movie with the same problem (character too old for her) and did Serena with Bradley Cooper in which once again we have to buy them as a couple.

I say: put JLAW in a corset and let's have a period drama-face off!

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

I don't quite get the adoration that Annette Bening and Carey Mulligan inspire, but I think that Helena Bonham Carter is the bee's knees. She's looking fab on the cover of British Vogue this month.

Perhaps Annette should go back to the theater. Her style of acting is better suited for the stage than for film, IMO.

June 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

wow es muy bonito de flores y gracias a compartir su información.

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterscadiaflowers

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