“She’s just so intensely present. One of my favorite things in watching an actor is feeling, the story is safe in your hands. I can lean back and trust you with this. You can count on this girl. There’s no vanity or pretense that gets in the way of her being the character. When she’s standing somewhere, she looks like she’s standing in that place. I buy every second of it, which allows all the fantasy to come in.”—Actress Alison Pill on Jennifer Lawrence, interview by Sheila Heti, The Believer, February 2013
With all the music on the Oscar telecast the other night, one especially apropos set of notes could have been played at one certain moment: Culture Club’s “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” as Jennifer Lawrence lost her footing on the way up to collect her honor.
But years from now, one hopes, Lawrence will be able to surmount that mortification to remember that Hollywood in turn tumbled for her that night. (Personally, I think a more potentially dangerous moment was averted with the disappearance of Tinseltown’s Dirtiest Old Man, Jack Nicholson, following what appears to be an attempt to reenact in real life his typecast star turn as the Devil in The Witches of Eastwick.)
What her peers in the acting community, and beyond, will recall then is her deeply true and heartfelt performance in Silver Linings Playbook, a film that, because of all its risks (not all of them successfully paid off) in depicting mental illness, needed every ounce of believability she could provide it.
I can’t say that I’ll ever watch The Hunger Games or its inevitable sequels, but Lawrence’s performance in Silver Linings Playbook has convinced me that there’s enough truth in what Alison Pill says about her fellow thespian that I’ll follow as much of her other work as I can in the future.