Cocktail Recipes Inspired by Meryl Streep Performances: Special Edition
In Praise of Meryl’s Protégé: Debut drinks!!!
by Lindsay Parnell
It’s time. It’s time to put my often non-existent authority to use and make a suggestion of sorts. A suggestion, that once printed, shall live forever. Well, live until the internet is abolished and we all live underground. And, it must be said, we won’t live forever, now will we (SPOILER ALERT for the three people on the planet who haven’t seen “The Godfather: Part ii”) Fredo? So in the wake of Meryl’s triumphant return to Academy Awards gold glory this year, I got to thinking about the daunting realization that I, in my irrelevant power and biased-film knowledge, will need to consider there may be a Meryl-like talent out there. The first step is admitting it. And it made me wonder, after a year of phenomenal female performances, who’s got next?
Among the strong caliber of actresses gracing stage and screen, are there any potential Streepies in the lot? And with that, I suggest it is time….it is time for Meryl’s successor to be named. She shall be named so she can then formally begin her ‘in-waiting’ duties. This will include a rigorous boot camp of all things Meryl (which I am happy to host and lead) and culminating in her own personal rendition of ‘Winner Takes All’.
In my (imaginary) cinematic power, I would like to hereby declare Meryl Streep’s next in line a la film royalty the fabulous Jessica Chastain.
So celebrate this majestic occasion with a duo of ‘Debut Drinks!!!’ to guzzle whilst taking a closer look at their professional introductory seasons.
Every legend has a beginning, so here we are my friends. The Deer Hunter, Manhattan, The Seduction of Joe Tynan and (the film I save all my tears for then release during my yearly viewing of) Kramer vs. Kramer—and there you have the academic year of ’78-’79, Streep’s spectacular debut which won her critical recognition and well-earned screen cred from her colleagues and fans alike. This crucial foundation of roles including a young and absent mother, an author and a young woman in a Vietnam War inspired love triangle, built the diversity of her career. Maggie Thatcher-milk snatcher? Ohhh, you know it! Fashion magazine editor/piranha? That’s her. Ethel Rosenberg, junkie actress in recovery, sister with a grudge, New Yorker writer Susan Orlean, genius musician, Julia Child, and of course….of course the delicious Headmistress Sister Aloysius…and the list goes and goes and goes. Because that’s what Streep is about folks: a compelling range of performances, unshakeable delivery of emotion, consistent commitment to her character, and a general sense of being awesome.
So here we are, with 34 years and 152 nominations later and the gorgeous blonde from Summit, New Jersey is a living legend with a decent shot at being Britain’s next Prime Minister. Yeah, I said it.
Although the majority of her film work shot over a four-year period, Chastain didn’t see her cinematic debutante ball until 2010/2011 with the releases of, “The Debt”, “Take Shelter”, “The Help”, “The Tree of Life”, “Coriolanus”, and “Wilde Salome”. Chastain’s 2012 would then begin with nominations abound, but none so well deserved with recognition from the Academy Awards for ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture’ for her portrayal of Celia Foote in the film adaptation of “The Help”. Her performance of Foote, a character who notably fell victim to quite jarring narrative omissions from the source text, subtlety juxtaposed infectious humor and the quiet strength of an ostracized woman carrying the burden of an agonizing secret in 1960s American southern “high society”. In a powerful film examining the detestable injustices of racial discrimination, Chastain was a luminescent standout whose poignant connection with her maid Minny (the stunning, STUNNING Octavia Spencer. Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean all the time, I think the word ‘stunning’ was made for Octavia Spencer), carried the film.
She received endless praise for her work in “The Help” but her current body of work exemplifies an astonishing versatility in such a short amount of time. Her roles to date articulate her gravitation towards art that interrogates its audience, requiring them to think, to engage, to submit to its story and characters. Her credentials thus far reflect a commitment to honest characterization, a thoughtful consideration of narrative and her meticulous exploration as an actress of human intimacy and its often accompaniment detachment and desolation. She’s got the green light for staying power and I anxiously wait to see what the next year brings for her.
Maybe it’s too soon to call (I mean, clearly it’s not, but to appear more open to it….you’re welcome…). Claire Danes, Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman and the ever ingenious Charlize Theron, have all drawn comparisons to the queen of the silver screen. Their contributions to contemporary film have provided some of the most inspired performances—ever. Yeah. Ever. But I vote for Chastain’s quiet but accomplished strength and hauntingly controlled portrayals of the boundaries of human emotion to outlast them all. All actresses. And all humans, ever. She is wonderful. And so I stand, and greedily guzzle my tipples by this declaration.
But enough chat. Please enjoy the following tipples and toast to the passing of a torch, Meryl to Jessica. Forever and ever. Amen.
3 oz Whiskey
2 oz Italian vermouth
2 dashes of bitters
Garnish with a cherry, because cherries are wonderful.
Jessica’s Drink of Life
4 oz Gordon’s Gin (£12 Sainsbury’s special, what a steal!)
6 oz Orange Juice