My All-Time Favorite Female Performances

When I was younger, one of my wildest dreams is to become an actress. That’s right. And that dream wouldn’t be if there weren’t no inspiration. Most of the performances that inspired me are by women; I think it’s because I can connect more with women than with men. So here they are, the female performances that made me want to be on screen, inhabiting a character and reciting my lines.
Isabelle Huppert, LA PIANISTE


One of the bravest, no-holds-barred performances I’ve ever seen, male or female. Miss Huppert is Erika Kahut, a middle-aged piano teacher. On the surface, she seems frigid and emotionless. Deep inside her is another woman: a voyeur with sadomasochistic practices.
Canadian actress Mia Kirshner described her performance as “razor-sharp.” Why not? She’s so convincing as this character who occasionally likes to injure herself with a razor blade. It’s mesmerizing to see Miss Huppert become this whole different person.
Kathy Bates, DOLORES CLAIBORNE


Most audiences rave about her Oscar-nominated performance in Misery, but I think they are overlooking Miss Bates as Dolores Claiborne. Judging by her interviews, Miss Bates is a bubbly person in real life; that’s why it’s great to see her turn into this gloomy but brave character. I first saw this film as a 10 year-old. Miss Bates’ performance stuck with me since then — that’s how remarkable she is in this film.
Lolita Rodriguez, WEIGHED BUT FOUND WANTING


Known in its native Philippines as Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, this film is about a young man who grows up in a prejudiced village. He comes to a realization that around him is a town full of contempt and hypocrisy. Along the way he makes friends with the scorned ones: a leper named Bertong Ketong and “a village idiot” named Kuala (Rodriguez).
Kuala was driven to madness when she was forced to abort her child. Forty years later, Miss Rodriguez’s performance as Kuala is still like the first time I saw it: poignant and almost real.
Isabelle Adjani, CAMILLE CLAUDEL


Passionate. That’s how I would describe Miss Adjani’s performance as Camille Claudel, a celebrated sculptor who descended into tragedy.
I’ve followed Miss Adjani’s career, and I can say that this is her best performance so far. Also the film’s producer, Miss Adjani gave her all into this film with her heartfelt portrayal of Camille Claudel; watching her performance is like feeling Camille Claudel’s heartbreak. ‘Nuff said.


Miss Wood is one of my most fave actresses, and I’ve also followed her career. And yes, this, I think, is her best performance — followed by Splendor in the Grass. Miss Wood is Alva Starr, the main attraction of Dodson, a small town in Mississippi. Alva’s dream is to one day get away from it all: from the town and from her mother’s dominance.
Neither overacting nor underacting, Miss Wood is fascinating as Alva. One can’t help but see the intriguing parallels of Alva’s life with that of Miss Wood’s. Both women were once dominated by their mother. Both women got attention, wanted and unwanted. Both women had big dreams. Both women’s life had a tragic denouement. It seems like Miss Wood is portraying herself.
DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don’t own or claim to own any of the photos used.



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