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January 14, 2023 / barton smock

( 23 notable performances from films seen in 2022

Lili Taylor 
in Bright Angel, 1990, directed by Michael Fields
~
A performance so present as to author time. It gets ahead of you, but comes back at the right moments.

.

Donald Elise Watkins 
in Emergency, 2022, directed by Carey Williams
~
A vividly internal performance- sad, funny, long lived-in, rented. Two reaction shots in particular left me with that trinity of witness made holy by anger, intimacy, and indictment. 

.

Anthony LaPaglia 
Judy Davis 
in Nitram, 2021, directed by Justin Kurzel
~
Caleb Landry Jones, of course, is killer in this...but it's LaPaglia and Davis who give it its distant intimacy, its weak-as-a-twig horizon.

.

Clifton Collins, Jr.
Molly Parker
Moises Arias
in Jockey, 2021, directed by Clint Bentley
~
I don't really have words for what each of these people do in this film except to say there are silences here in each that erase history not to rewrite it but to write it as remembered the first time.

.

Sean Harris
in The Stranger, 2022, directed by Thomas M Wright
~
Evil gets amnesia again and again, and Harris changes passwords enough to create new and terrifying permissions.

.

Anna Gunn
Janeane Garofalo
in The Apology, 2022, directed by Alison Locke
~
Gunn is all eyesight and abyss, weariness and void. Holds the center gently with an outer, flown-in, brutality. And Garofalo, damn. When she shows up in the final third, her comic timing is a fury that lightens nothing.

.

Andrea Riseborough
Allison Janney 
in To Leslie, 2022, directed by Michael Morris
~
Riseborough is an anxious predictor of the past, dancing for both stoplight and spotlight, and gives a performance that has a few steps on creation. Must mention here her other films as well, that I saw this year, Here Before and Nancy. Riseborough is so fucking good. And Janney does work here that she's made a transient home of before, but gets to go deeper than usual and gives place a spot to remember.

.

Kelli Garner
in What Josiah Saw, 2022, directed by Vincent Grashaw
~
All the performances here - Nick Stahl, Scott Haze, Jake Weber, Robert Patrick- deserve strong and correct words, but from the moment Garner's Mary puts the path in her path with the body language of anti-destination, the movie makes a scenic witness of its periphery and goes about vicariously burning itself beside the salvage of Garner's nervously resigned vision.

.

Alison Pill
Sarah Gadon
Mare Winningham
in All My Puny Sorrows, 2021, directed by Michael McGowan
~
Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon glow wounded in performances that separately heal, and Mare Winningham keeps detail as something some god has locally misplaced. I was glad for how Pill baptized the submerged, and for how Gadon let others believe they’d invented the headlight.

.

Amanda Seyfried
in A Mouthful of Air, 2021, directed by Amy Koppelman
~
Seyfried claims so many new moments in this that it's hard to say if she belongs to it or it belongs to her but the whole thing is a given possession.

.

Aisha Dee
in Sissy, 2022, directed by Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes
~
Dee gives an otherworldly un-mirrored performance that is both exodus and revelation, and moves the end times back into the middle where belief must re-earn its brutal beginnings. 

.

Thandiwe Newton
in God's Country, 2022, directed by Julian Higgins
~
Newton is radar and blip, and never fails to locate the strayings of her lived-in living out.

.

Mia Goth
in Pearl, 2022, directed by Ti West
~
Goth levels heaven and brings up the hell with a performance in so much local pain that what lands becomes less alien the more it invades. There is one scene so held by Goth that it makes of the eye a eulogy for every unmourned keyhole.

.

Anna Diop
in Nanny, 2022, directed by Nikyatu Jusu
~
In a film both timeworn and newly doomed, Diop gives a fictile performance of spiritual and physical fluidity.

.

Rebecca Hall
Grace Kaufman
in Resurrection, 2022, directed by Andrew Semans
~
A possessed and wholly overtaken showing from Rebecca Hall. And Grace Kaufman moves the happening from under the accident with a waiting lonely enough to cradle the hurting young and uncarried old.

.

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