Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Our evenings of late have been mostly a quiet dinner-on-a-tray, accompanied by  gently unmemorable “Have Gun, Will Travel,” with perhaps a TIVOed hour-long drama or  movie to wind down the evening.

You know, I’ve noticed over the years that there are some particularly good actresses out there---not STARS, but the real deal.   When they take on the role, they take on the persona, and somehow, mostly seem OLDER than they are, as well as grimmer and more life-worn.  

We see their faces, and read the character they’re living for that brief flicker on the screen, and we think, “Now, WHERE do I know her from . . .?”    And I’ve noticed that they are all strong, determined women, with families to save, causes to further, sacrifices to make, small and large, and you believe every word and nuance and tear.

And my favorite of them all is the absolutely mesmerizing Margo Martindale---she of the quick laugh and pleasant personality, always with an unerring portrayal of a strength that must be at least partly her own.      Her own expressively-beautiful face dissolves into frump and frown, and she pays no attention at all to how she might look in those cruel expressions, those flappy clothes ---she just IS the role.    I cannot fathom how she hides her own personal warmth and ready smile beneath the grim, stolid take-no-prisoners character of  the absolutely REAL Mags Bennett in Justified.

Her presence dominates the screen, and she so lives the part of Mama to three errant sons she’s raised in those hardscrabble Kentucky hills---I’ve KNOWN her.   You’ve probably known her, and she’s unforgettable---solemn and grieving, avaricious and calculating,  throwing back her head in a big, hearty laugh, singing the Old Songs in the true deep mountain twang, doing whatever she has to do to survive and prosper in the circumstances she was given, with no apology.  

She’s simply the best-written, most remarkably-portrayed character on TV this season, and as she bowed out of the story arc in the Season Finale, I wanted to cry and applaud and hug her, all at once.

This has been a wonderful, rip-roaring story, and her recipe for “Apple Paaaai” is the quickest way out of Harlan County, short of a bullet.    I'm looking forward to the DVD of this season of Justified, just for her stunning scenes.

You GO, Margo,  and buy you a Red Carpet Emmy dress!


Penny said...

Rachel, Thank you for writing about Justified because I know nothing about it or about Margo Martindale. I will definitely look for the DVD. You write so well. I have been enjoying reading all of your posts. Thank you for your wonderful suggestions on the clafoutis. They were spot on and taking the dish ready to assemble is something I had not considered. I always enjoy your insightful comments.

Beverly said...

How is it that I knew nothing about this series?

Thank you for sharing. I'll be on the lookout.