Jane Fonda, Klute

Monday, September 02, 2013

(image credit to film.com)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pauline Kael

"Jane Fonda's motor runs a little fast. As an actress, she has a special kind of smartness that takes the form of speed; she's always a little ahead of everybody, and this quicker beat--this quicker responsiveness--makes her more exciting to watch. This quality works to great advantage in her full-scale, definitive portrait of a call girl in Klute. It's a good, big role for her, and she disappears into Bree, the call girl, so totally that her performance is very pure--unadorned by "acting." As with her defiantly self-destructive Gloria in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, she never stands outside Bree, she gives herself over to the role, and yet she isn't lost in it--she's fully in control, and her means are extraordinarily economical. She has somehow got to a plane of acting at which even the closest closeup never reveals a false thought and, seen on the movie streets a block away, she's Bree, not Jane Fonda, walking toward us.

"The center of the movie is the study of the temperament and the drives of this intelligent, tough high-bracket call girl who wants to quit.... Though there have been countless movie prostitutes, this is perhaps the first major attempt to transform modern clinical understanding into human understanding and dramatic meaning. The conception may owe some debt to the Anna Karina whore in My Life to Live, but Bree is a much more ambivalent character. She's maternal and provocative with her customers, confident and contemptuously cool; she's a different girl alone--huddled in bed in her disorderly room. The suspense plot involves the ways in which prostitutes attract the forces that destroy them. Bree's knowledge that as a prostitute she has nowhere to go but down and her mixed-up efforts to escape make her one of the strongest feminine characters to reach the screen. It's hard to remember that this is the same actress who was the wide-eyed, bare-bottomed Barbarella and the anxious blond bride in Period of Adjustment and the brittle, skittish girl in the broad-brimmed hat of The Chapman Report; I wish Jane Fonda could divide herself in two, so we could have new movies with that naughty-innocent comedienne as well as with this brilliant, no-nonsense dramatic actress. Her Gloria invited comparison with Bette Davis in her great days, but the character of Gloria lacked softer tones, shading, variety. Her Bree transcends the comparison; there isn't another young dramatic actress in American films who can touch her...."

Pauline Kael
The New Yorker, July 3, 1971
Deeper Into Movies, p. 280-81

(photo credit to MPTV.net)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

John Simon

"....Nevertheless, for its atmospheric and incisive first half, Klute is to be commended and even, guardedly, recommended. Jane Fonda, as Bree, is as irresistible as a surfy beach in July:  her performance washes over you like a tartly cooling, drolly buffeting liquid benediction, bringing wave after wave of unpredictable, exhilarating delight. There is a perfect blend her of shrewdness, acerbity, toughness, anxiety, and vulnerability. A quintessential femininity is caught in transition between a badly dented girlishness and a nascent womanliness as innocent of its past as a butterfly of its larva. Note the play of Miss Fonda's febrile hands when she is sweating it out with her therapist; the dartings and hesitancies of her voice, with its sudden leaps and falls of temperature; the faint seismic tremors of her facial play, indicating turbulences valiantly repressed. Truly this is one of our most valuable, loveliest  young actresses--very possibly the most accomplished of them all."

John Simon, National Review?, July 12, 1971
    reprinted in Reverse Angle, p. 44-45.

(image credit to heart.co.uk)

Monday, October 10, 2005

David Thomson

"The first thing to ask about this ravishing film is, why is it called Klute?.... [T]his is truly a film about Bree and about the several ways in which being a psychiatric patient (talking about oneself), being a hooker (acting out), and being an actress (acting in) are overlapping or in a rhyme scheme. And the triumph of the film is the intelligence and the appetite with which Jane Fonda falls upon it. That she won the Oscar goes without saying, but this is one of the best movie studies of performance. The delicacy with which Fonda balances the story of Bree and the larger implications is exemplary. No wonder Sutherland seems so numb watching her--she was a sight to behold...."

David Thomson, Have You Seen...? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films (2008), p. 444