Despite what people say, Sally Hawkins should have bagged the Best Actress award at the Oscars. Even though I strongly feel McDormand’s win was very well deserved, Hawkins’ performance was special and unique to its times. It is amazing really how she manages to transform herself with every role she takes on. From playing a jolly, talkative primary school teacher in ‘Happy Go Lucky’, to her stunning turn as the mute princess in ‘The Shape of Water’, Hawkins integrates herself with her characters so perfectly, that she is almost unrecognizable. We decided to compile a list of top 10 Sally Hawkins movies. Hope you enjoy it. Happy reading!
1. The Shape of Water (2017)
Guillermo del Toro is respected in the industry for his original monsters and authenticity. ‘The Shape of Water’ had plenty to offer in that regard, giving us a beautifully estranged love story so seeded in Toro’s gloriously outrageous fantasy universe that it surpasses ordinary human imagination and stops caring about practicality. Eliza is a mute sweeper at a secret defense lab operating at night. A mystical God-like creature is brought in the facility which instantly becomes an object of curiosity for Eliza. Sparring egg-eating sessions quickly transform into a relationship with a deeper meaning as Eliza civilizes him to finally let him out. Hawkins is stunning in everything she attempts; whether it’s that tap dance or having intercourse with a fish. Her performance will live with us forever and enthralls us with every viewing. ‘The Shape of Water’ is a film of the highest proportions, and will be remembered for years to come.
2. Happy Go Lucky (2007)
Pauline “Poppy” Cross is a zealous primary school teacher with a positive attitude in life. Avoiding to get into a relationship due to her free-spirited, and somewhat irresponsible, nature, her generosity affects the people around him and eventually lands him her special person. Mike Leigh’s mature and carefully observed understanding of daily life in England stands out and is given a new meaning by the virtue of its lead’s powerhouse performance. The way Hawkins transforms herself is special and points towards her unique talents. Her life-affirming and beautifully humane performance, constructed with the care of a midwife and executed with the precision of a surgeon, surely is one of the most comprehensive and incisive character studies of modern day life and society.
3. Maudie (2016)
A true story about a Canadian folk artist, ‘Maudie’s eccentric charm and dry humor absolve it of any plausible critique and shows shades of its actors never seen before. Without deviating from its source material and compromising the appeal of the story, director Aisling Walsh unflinchingly portrays the Irish Catholic society with a biting realism that is enchanting. A film that glorifies life and some great music!
4. Blue Jasmine (2013)
Jeanette comes to stay with her adopted sister, Ginger, after her husband is arrested and she goes broke. Their strenuous relationship in the past extracts its burden on their present one, eventually distancing the two apart as Jeanette acquires her arrogant and snobby former self back. The biggest strength of Woody’s return to heroism lies in its actor’s abilities to hold a scene and render it immortal with their craft. Sifting through two timelines, Allen’s flowing direction makes the film a breeze and by the end, you almost wish it didn’t. Cate Blanchett puts, in my impoverished opinion, in the best performance by a female actress in the last 10 years. Her comprehensive character study manages to be ambivalently courageous and alluring, while at the same time heartbreaking and generous.
5. Made In Dagenham (2010)
Gender disparity is a fight that women have carried into the 21st century. One of the most inspiring and socially popular movement was the one in Dagenham. A group of women, working in a capacity that requires skill and intricacy, the women are listed as unskilled labour and paid paltry wages compared to their male counterparts. When negotiations prove futile, Rita leads a revolution that sparks off major upheavals in the industry. Hawkins’ endearing turn as the strong-willed and inspiring leader of the movement stands out in an above average retelling of an impassioned triumph of a battle that will go on for ages.
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6. All or Nothing (2002)
For anyone else who felt Timothy Spall should have won something big for ‘Mr. Turner’, ‘All or Nothing’ simultaneously proves a pure delight and rugged frustration. Capturing the everyday ordeal of a working-class family, Leigh proffers more with his characters and their humility with his self-effacing direction, allowing his actors the chance to hog the limelight. Absorbing, heartfelt, and artistically satiating, ‘All Or Nothing’ lives up to the brevity of ordinary people who are the most special people in the world. Sally Hawkins shines through a difficult role.
7. Vera Drake (2004)
The face leading this Leigh helmed odyssey of moral quandaries and ethical dilemmas is a familiar one. Continuing her negative effervescence as Jane Umbridge, Staunton humanizes the character and lends it an emotional depth that is provocative and diligently done. Leigh’s sensitive and bleak attempt at tackling themes of immortality, free will, and illegal abortions in England is a colossal triumph and one that will be etched in your conscience with a permanent and resonating effect.
8. An Education (2009)
A young teenage girl’s life transforms when she falls in love with an older man. Will they sustain their relationship or crumble to the people around them? ‘An Education’ stands out as one of the most important films of the decade and in posing this serious question, gains on its marvelous cast that simply amazes. The story movies at a dense pace, succeeding in providing us with enough material to keep us engaged. Hawkins is spectacular as a supporting character and impresses yet again with his measured performance. Technically brilliant and vaguely humane, ‘An Education’ offers a complete cinematic experience which renders you speechless and teary-eyed by the end.
9. Cassandra’s Dream (2007)
Murder and Woody Allen have a very old and fruitful relationship. Ever since his ‘Crimes and Misdemeanours’, Allen has frequented the themes of dreams and death in his screenplays, crafting elaborate plots to accommodate them. ‘Cassandra’s Dream’ derives a lot from the two themes, the title indicating towards the ancient Greek prophetess Cassandra, whose prophecies of doom went unheeded by those around her. The boat which the brothers Ian and Blaine buy, leads to similar results for the two, eventually consuming them in its deathly and morbid prophecy. Like all Woody movies, ‘Cassandra’s Dreams’ is replete with innovative moments of humor and satire, often risking themselves to the extent of overbearing.
10. Persuasion (2007)
Anne is distraught after her family calls off her wedding to Frederick Wentworth. Eight year later, Frederick returns a wealthy man and tries to rekindle his romance with Anne. The television movie became an instant hit with its lovable cast and grand production values. Hawkins won various awards for her deeply moving performance.
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