This article contains minor spoilers for Iron Man 3.
Gwyneth Paltrow has made it easy for the world to hate her. She was born into privilege, is pretty much perfect, and leads the most glamorous of lives that 99 percent of the world can only dream about. It’s understandable that jealousy has caused us to spurn the 40-year-old actress — but we really can't go on hating Gwyneth Paltrow after her kick-ass performance in Iron Man 3.
The platform for Paltrow hatred was set by her childhood. She had an edge up in Hollywood as both of her parents worked in the film industry. Her mother Blythe Danner was a talented actress and her late father Bruce Paltrow was a well-acclaimed film director and producer. For this reason alone, she never really had to work as her parents had money enough— but still, Paltrow decided to take up acting as a career. Her parents’ names likely made it easy for her to get her start, but she has been quite successful in her own right. In 1999, she even earned an Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love.
As if her birthright didn't separate her enough, Paltrow has had quite the personal life. She’s been engaged to Brad Pitt, dated Ben Affleck, and is now married to Coldplay’s front-man Chris Martin. She has two beautiful kids with him and unlike most other Hollywood marriages, she seems to be making her home life work.
She doesn’t make it any easier for herself by bragging about her celebrity pals. She has referred to Jay-Z as her “best friend” and has given famous chef Mario Batali the ridiculous nickname of “Batals.” Besides that, the actress has made herself sound even more insane when she admitted in one of her cookbooks that she doesn’t let her kids eat carbs.
All of this is may seem impossible to excuse and it may have seemed infeasible to like Gwyneth Paltrow again, but then Iron Man 3 happened. Not only is Paltrow on top of her game in this movie, but she embraces every feminist ideal that we have held against her in the past: beauty, brains, talent, and success.
First of all, it’s important to note how powerful she is in her role as Pepper Potts. In the past two Iron Man films, she let the role dictate how she acted. This time around, Paltrow uses her talent to direct how Potts is portrayed. There is one scene in particular where she commands the screen: the final battle. Her emotions pour out through her character during this scene — and it seems as if she's melted into Pepper Potts in real life. She allows you to feel what Pepper is feeling in the final moments and it’s all because she has embraced a deep connection with her character. This may sound silly to talk about her capturing the role of a character from a superhero movie, but there is nothing silly about it. Paltrow turns Potts into herself.
But it’s not only Paltrow’s talents that allow her to shine in Iron Man 3. We may like to make fun of her for spending hours at the gym, but if she didn’t do this as part of her regular routine, she couldn’t have been as powerful as she is in this movie. It’s her personal strength that she attained prior to filming this movie that allows to truly fly on-screen. She embraces her personal strength and uses it to move her character forward in fight scenes.
After watching Iron Man 3, it’s easy to understand why she was casted to play Potts. What other Hollywood actress could so accurately cull together emotions and physical prowess to take on a character? Sure, we may be used to seeing her in the form of Pepper Potts, but she keeps coming back because she does such an excellent job with the character.
You can hate Gwyneth all you want, but her role in Iron Man 3 has reinvented my opinion of her. It’s no longer appropriate to hate her for her beauty or be jealous of her for her perfect life. She has a strong work ethic and she’s extremely talented. Instead of hating her, let’s celebrate what this actress brings to the screen. We all want a second chance, and for Paltrow, Iron Man 3 is that second chance.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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Obviously what will draw people to this movie is the talent and Swimfan gathers a able collection of good-looking youngsters to carry the movie. Bradford (Bring It On) has a baby face that belies a growing maturity to his acting. He's a natural. Bradford and Appleby (TV's Roswell) are also refreshingly believable as a young couple in love without too much sugar coating. They have an honest moment together sitting at a restaurant while he is trying to get her to forgive him--it's a nice chemistry and you end up rooting for them. Christensen however is the one we all really want to see. Since her fantastic performance as the teenage junkie in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic two years ago she's been touted as one of Hollywood's young performers to watch. At first she infuses Madison with a fair amount of intelligence and wit; she actually seems pretty sane. While the young actress is obviously talented this particular approach works to her disadvantage later when she goes off the deep end. It seems almost forced. Christensen is much better at the cool manipulative and charismatic persona rather than the "look-out-I-have-a-knife" one. She is still one to watch though once she gets her hands on some great material.
OK so there isn't anything new about this concept. Some may cite Clint Eastwood's 1971 Play Misty for Me as the first classic chick-stalker movie and since then there have been some great ones (Fatal Attraction) and some not so great (The Crush). Swimfan falls somewhere in between. For the sake of moving the story along it asks you to suspend your disbelief quite a bit. How could Madison get her hands on hospital drugs or be strong enough to do some of the things she does? Still the direction surprises you at times. Actor-turned-director John Polson isn't going to win any awards but knows how to use the camera effectively. The film captures its actors and the surroundings in a lush way. One particular editing technique he uses is the quick cuts when emphasizing an actor's emotional reaction. When Madison is rejected he cuts between her slightly varying wounded glares. It works. Unfortunately the film still falls into the same tired clichés set by much better predecessors.