You Raise Me Up

While watching David O. Russell’s American Hustle a few evenings ago, I started thinking about how much harder it can be to portray the “good” guy, the one who walks the straight-and-narrow, compared to the “bad” guy or the character struggling with emotional issues and obstacles. So many of the main players in American Hustle received acclaim for their performances and yet the good guy, Mayor Carmine Polito-portrayed wonderfully by Jeremy Renner- seemed sadly overlooked. If that character wasn’t infused with just the right amount of sincerity and heart, it could have come across as stereotypically cliche and then the whole thing would have just fallen apart.
those hairstyles are characters in their own right
Richard has said that playing characters that are closest to himself is difficult. I can understand that. When I was little, playing “pretend” with my friends, I always preferred to be the disruptive student when playing School; the annoying child when playing House; the rogue cop when playing with the boys.
yeah, the dog ate my homework; wanna make something of it?!
I was able to become someone that I wasn’t in real life but someone that I had inside of me, just the same; it was very freeing. Playing the good kid though, or the quiet student, the obedient soldier, was confusing. The self-consciousness and second guessing quickly crept in, making it all seem too real.
I can’t today, guys, I gotta go feed my dog
So when “good” characters like Harry Kennedy and Alec Track get discounted for being easy, I must respectfully disagree.
when I asked if you wanted dessert, Alec, that’s not what I had in mind
Harry had to have just the right amount of affability, while leaving enough room for self-doubt, in order for it all to culminate in the ending proposal scene. He had to be charming enough to get the unflappable Geraldine nervous but aloof enough to not appear arrogant.
so hows about you & me get hitched?
The proposal wouldn’t have worked nearly as well
without Harry pulling nervously at his collar and giving those confused awkward pauses while Geraldine moved full force ahead, oblivious.
she should not only know Rosie’s name but where she lives and works as well. Geraldine is such a novice at stalking crushing.
Harry wasn’t there just for Geraldine to bounce jokes off of,
the jokes were there because Harry set them up.
we’ll have a movie marathon. it’s much too wet for a walk, too many mud puddles
Similarly, Alec Track was the sun his coworkers orbited around. He could have been the condescending boss, making Paul’s attempts at stealing his girl justifiable. He could have been the neglectful boyfriend, hiding Jane away out of some kind of commitment phobia, instead of the dedicated leader who was trying to do what was best for everyone involved. Richard gave Alec integrity enough that dragging his feet in the romance department didn’t automatically warrant harsh condemnation.
where’s Jane?…don’t know, don’t care
I’m not trying to take anything away from the “bad/struggling” characters that Richard portrays so well, just that the “good” guys may have more depth and purpose than they’re getting credit for. This is often why I respect the Best Supporting accolades even more than the main character praise because
they must possess strong shoulders, to raise those others to greatness.

18 thoughts on “You Raise Me Up

  1. Great speech of defense, Kel. You have me convinced to look again. I tend to prefer the reluctant, ambiguous hero, and sometimes Harry seems almost too sweet for me. But that shouldn’t distract from the mastery of playing him. I need to check out Golden Hour again. I only fast forwarded through it, once.


    1. The Golden Hour is really hard to get a grasp on the characters, since it never got continued but I think there is a lot more to portraying Harry then Richard gets credit for. plus, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Jeremy Renner πŸ˜€


      1. Yeah right. You were just looking for an excuse to post about Harry πŸ˜‰ Just kidding. I think your argument is quite convincing. Much like in RL, the good guys get overlooked while the trouble-makers hog all the attention. Well done to Renner! (And you!)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I never need an excuse to post about Harry, I just do it πŸ˜€ and for those who think he’s overrated, they’re allowed their opinions, I just disagree πŸ˜‰ but yes, the attention-hoggers need to step back from the spotlight once in awhile, good guys don’t always finish last.


  2. Right, some of his smaller/shorter parts always left us “hungry” for more of the/his story….. πŸ˜€ Thanks for the shout-out for the less noisy guys out there. Fun read as always, kelbel!


      1. Oh, my dear John Standring! Isn’t it wonderful that there are some wonderful fanfics out there, were he (not only) gets the girl…….. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you convinced me to watch Sparkhouse a while ago and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Tonight I am committed to watching The Golden Hour. It’ll be fun to see RA as the nice guy. I’m not sure why I haven’t watched it before other than I’ll have to watch it in 28 parts on youtube.

    In Silver Linings I thought Jennifer Lawrence did a great job (obviously she won an Oscar) but I thought that Bradley Cooper had a more difficult role to play. Her role was over the top where I felt his had more subtlety. Have you seen it and do you agree?


    1. I do agree about Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. that was a balancing act if I ever saw one! (& he did it very well 😎 ) I’m not exactly sure why Jennifer Lawrence gets so much praise though :/ in American Hustle, for example, she was just playing an amped up version of herself. I really like her as “herself” in interviews and whatnot, but that shouldn’t be confused with her acting.

      I’m so glad you watched Sparkhouse b/c of me and liked it πŸ˜€ John Standring is so lovable ❀ The Golden Hour is a bit different b/c it's less about the characters and more about the medical storyline in each episode but I really like each of those scenarios; it's a shame they didn't continue the series.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw Dawn French on The Graham Norton show and she kissed Bear Grylls the way she kissed Harry Kennedy. Really reminded me of it! LOL! Hmmm you can have Harry. I’ll let you. πŸ˜‰


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