Mumble schmumble, botox schmotox

11 01 2009

Again! I’ve still got no coffee to drink; this time I did attempt to make some but forgot to put the water in the bottom of the pot. I’ve burnt out the rubber ring seal and left the air in the kitchen smelling rather noxious. Too bad. I’m thirsty. 


For a while I’ve had a quote in my head about the increasing propensity of actors to mumble their words too much, and audiences not being able to understand them. I couldn’t remember who had said this and when, but a quick internet search of ‘actors hard to hear because they mumble too much’ brought up the exact website that I’d read as the first result.


Apparently it was Sir Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and quoted in The Times, who first voiced concern, and backed up by the actor Edward Fox. Young actors were claiming that to raise their voices would detract from the realism that they were trying to portray because no one SPEAKS BLOODY LOUD ALL THE TIME. But the truth is, no one can hear. And usually we pay money to hear something; personally I’m not a fan of French conceptual mime, so I want to hear.  And as with a Christian wedding, if the granny at the back can’t hear the ceremony, it’s not valid!  (Bribe your gran if you want a quickie divorce)


I’ve been noticing more and more that I just can’t hear what people are saying in films, I’m really having to strain my good ear towards the screen or rely on lip reading to get what’s lost between those expensive pearly whites that are flashed around. It’s the same with facial expressions; actors, women in particular, just can’t express anymore. I think their expressions have been lost under all the makeup and enhancements. The only actresses I really like at the moment are Charlize Theron, because of her amazing transformation into Aileen Wuornos and then transformation into a Dior perfume model (come on, there’s hope for us all!), Cate Blanchett and Jackson’s vote, Frances McDormand. Of course there are old timers like Helen Mirren and Judi Dench, and I would put Scarlett Johansson in as a new fave, perhaps Ellen Page too as she defies the LA stereotype. Oh, oh and I know! Mary Lynn Rajskub! But the rest? Come on! Act a little, speak a little (actually a lot, please). Don’t pout and emote so much. We want to see expression played out on your faces, we want lines and wrinkles, we want to see that you’ve lived, otherwise how we can imagine that your character is living on the very screen in front of us? I think the reason for me having more favourite living male actors than female is because of this, men just seem to have more going on. They add a depth to their characters because they can show more on their faces. 


So now I have three things with which I agree with The Times journalists: that actors mumble far too much, that Cate Blanchett is “curious looking”, and that I, like Sathnam Sanghera, have a “perpetually pissed-off looking face”. We can’t help it, it just works that way.