April Showers evenings @ 11
I was too young to understand or appreciate the rise of Glenn Close in the early 80s but by the time the one/two punch of Fatal Attraction / Dangerous Liaisons hit in 87/88 she was knocking me out. She was already a star by then, though. Those fourth and fifth Oscar nominations (and who knew they would be her last?) only amplified her celebrity. Critics and Oscar voters had been devoted since her feature debut in The World According to Garp (1982).
The murderous climax to Fatal Attraction wasn't the first time a Close movie scored big with a tub/shower sequence and it wasn't the first time she starred in a Best Picture nominee either. The Big Chill (1983) brought her her second supporting actress nod and some people believe her nude shower scene sealed that honor.
We're not far into this reunion film when it happens. The film has had a surprisingly light mood despite its kick off funereal plot point (Kevin Costner is the dead man, though he was left on the cutting room floor). Suddenly Close kills the laughter but amplifies the movie's dramatic undercurrents. There's no warning.
Directly on the heels of a light scene the camera pans very slowly through her bedroom (we don't understand what's happening at first) until we reach Glenn racked with sobs in the shower.
As The Big Chill's "Sarah" she's arguable at her warmest if still a little cool and guarded. That's why this sudden but tellingly private display of vulnerability works. Ah! So she does feel after all. Close performs this same rug-pulling stab of pain in even more devastating fashion for the finale of Dangerous Liaisons five years later. But after her 80s heyday, that sudden reveal of the three dimensional woman behind the icy mask became as rare as Yeti sightings. Close's screen persona hasn't altered that much over the years but it has hardened.
She has no trouble commanding the small screen on Damages but even in those moments when her character "Patty Hewes" appears to be vulnerable, tears welling up furiously in her eyes, one still can't trust her. Close was always expert at showing us the mask. Now, when she lets it slip, aren't we only seeing another mask just underneath?