JA from MNPP here, sharing in Nat's excitement about today's release of the latest Coen Bros. flick, Burn After Reading. I was just now reading Manohla Dargis' (not particularly kind) review at The New York Times and took note of this comment:
"The biggest punch line is Linda, whom Ms. McDormand plays with a grin that tends to look more like a grimace, perhaps because she’s been saddled with yet another one of the Coens’ ghastly pageboy dos. (Really? Again?) It’s a punishing look for a cruelly unflattering character whose narcissism is matched only by her witlessness."
Ouch. I mostly took note of this because the purported sadism directed at McDormand's character was also a big part of the review at Slate that I read yesterday. I haven't seen the movie yet - I have my tickets for tonight though! - so I can't say whether this claim holds true or not. But Dargis' swipe at the "ghastly pageboy do" immediately reminded me of Julianne Moore's turn in The Big Lebowski (aka Juli's one successful stab at comedy) for me:
And from there I started thinking about all the looks that McDormand has worn for her husband and bro-in-law. With Burn After Reading, she's now been in six of their films (seven if you count some voice-over in Barton Fink), and lord knows there's nothing better that The Coens love than a silly wig or accent or the like (I say that with love). Whatever has this poor woman been saddled with? Let's look at how they've envisioned McDormand over the years:
(Top Row, left to right: Abby, Blood Simple (1984); Dot, Raising Arizona (1987); The Mayor's Secretary, Miller's Crossing (1990). Bottom Row, left to right: Marge Gunderson, Fargo (1996); Doris Crane, The Man Who Wasn't There (2001); Linda Litzke, Burn After Reading (2008))
Ya know, save poor Dot and that dead possum on her head, I'd say the Brothers Coen have actually been pretty decent to Frances and her on-screen incarnations so far, wouldn't you? It could've been worse at least. She hasn't really had to weather anything like this:
That's intolerable cruelty, that is.