The Great Performances

Acting is an art form, and behind every iconic character is an artist expressing themselves. The Great Performances is a recurring column in which Jacob Trussell explores the art behind some of cinema’s best roles.

If you are new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these entries:

Browse the archive for The Great Performances below

The Graceful Masculinity of Patrick Swayze in ‘Dirty Dancing’

As Johnny Castle, Swayze was able to demonstrate his natural strengths as a dancer and an actor interested in deconstructing… Read More

The Powerful Performance(s) of Lupita Nyong’o in ‘Us’

Marrying tenets of avant-garde theater and natural acting methods, Nyong’o delivered a masterclass in playing opposite sides of the same… Read More

James Caan’s Best Performance is the Most Compelling Scene in ‘Thief’

Michael Mann’s debut feature film contains arguably the ten best minutes late actor James Caan ever put to celluloid. Read More

How the Ensemble Cast of ‘The Big Sick’ Subverted Rom-Com Expectations

Kumail Nanjiani found ways to surface thoughtful humor in a moment of abject trauma in his and Emily V. Gordon’s… Read More

Celebrating the Incredible Ensemble Cast of ‘Chan is Missing’

Every performance is a great performance in Wayne Wang’s indie noir-comedy classic. Read More

Sheryl Lee Always Knew Laura Palmer Was More Than a MacGuffin

At the center of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s timeless mystery Twin Peaks, Lee surfaced the nuances of a character… Read More

Green Goblin is Willem Dafoe’s Tragic Movie Monster

In the dual roles of Norman Osborn and his maniacal alter ego Green Goblin, Dafoe pulled from classic horror to… Read More

Anne Hathaway Nails the Nuances of Sobriety in ‘Colossal’

As a woman in recovery caught between inner demons and gigantic monsters, Hathaway captures the unique struggles of staying on… Read More

‘Frailty’ is Bill Paxton’s Most Underrated Performance

Part devoted dad, part contract killer for God, everyone’s favorite character actor found the perfect balance of heart and horror… Read More