The Best Female Film Performances of 2010

by PopMatters Staff

4 January 2011


10 - 6

cover art

I Am Love

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marisa Berenson, Flavio Parenti, Edoardo Gabbriellini


Tilda Swinton
I Am Love

“One’s always downloading one’s heroes, I suppose, all the time. We’re not referencing any particular, current pieces of work. I remember being asked whether I thought about Gena Rowlands for Julia and thinking ‘well, I think about Gena Rowlands all the time!’ Not just for Julia. Of course, we thought about [John] Cassavetes a lot for Julia. For this film, we thought about Catherine Denueve in Belle de Jour. I thought about—and again, I always think about—Delphine Seyrig in Last Year at Marienbad. But again, it’s not just sampling these performances, but being inspired by them all the time. I could say that I’m just as inspired by Delphine Seyrig when I’m making Julia as when I doing I Am Love. Who else? Let me think… Carole Lombard in To Be or Not to Be. Those are the people that kind of spring to my mind. So does Ingrid Bergman.“
—Tilda Swinton, on her inspirations for I Am Love, to Matt Mazur, July 2010 Matt Mazur



cover art

Rabbit Hole

Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Tammy Blanchard


Nicole Kidman
Rabbit Hole

How does one move on past grief? Better yet, how do they do it when the rest of the world demands a socially accepted series of bereavement “steps”. If you’re Becca Corbett, the devastated mother of a dead son in John Cameron Mitchell’s captivating adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire’s hit play, you try to find a balance. Your husband wants answers. Your family wants closure and compliance. But you? You reach out to the young man who caused the car accident tragedy, hoping that forgiveness achieves the equilibrium you need. Allowing her porcelain statue facade to fade, if ever so slightly, Kidman combines an understated grace with a simmering sadness to give us both sides of the story. When finally confronted, the blowback is bracing, if only because it was so controlled before. Bill Gibron



cover art

Fish Tank

Director: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths, Harry Treadaway
Review [15.Jan.2010]


Katie Jarvis
Fish Tank

Playing Fish Tank’s Mia Williams, the older of two wild girls doing their best in the absence of any real parental figure, Katie Jarvis creates a portrait of the teenager in free-fall with no sense of a safety net. When not engaged in territory-defining combat with any random person that crosses her path, Mia practices dance moves in a vacant flat, dreaming of the big-time break on one of the junky reality shows always flickering in the background. Her rage isn’t caricatured as it so easily could be, but channeled into this slight, seething sprite of unbottled fury. She’s a bomb with no fuse but tragically unaware that her unchecked anger doesn’t make her safe, but more vulnerable to the predator she didn’t see coming. Chris Barsanti



cover art

Animal Kingdom

Director: David Michôd
Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville


Jacki Weaver
Animal Kingdom

She calls herself “Mama Smurf” and lords over a household of men each going through their own struggled stages of corrupt criminal growing pains. Yes, we’ve see the malevolent matriarch shtick before, going back to when Angela Landsbury helped foster her son’s Manchurian candidacy, and the last 12 months have seen a rife of similarly styled roles. But beyond Kim Hye-Ja’s vengeful nother, or Melissa Leo’s fame whoring Alice Eklund, Weaver’s Janine Cody is capable of her own acts of indescribable horror, from fostering said feloniousness to hinting at an incestual bond that goes beyond cops and robbers. And she does it all with a smile that even the most blood-thirsty, man-hungry shark would envy. Bill Gibron



cover art

Winter’s Bone

Director: Debra Granik
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt, Dale Dickey, Shelley Waggener


Jennifer Lawrence
Winter’s Bone

In Winter’s Bone, based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell, 17-year-old Ree Dolly (Lawrence) must venture into the figurative seven circles of hell (in fact, into a far more terrifying network of meth production and dealing) to find her father, who used their home as security before skipping bail. It’s a task which would terrify an adult but with the confidence of youth and the determination of someone with no alternative Ree pushes forward despite both verbal and physical warnings to mind her own business. Lawrence has previously appeared in smaller roles in several major films and television shows but her performance as Ree is a revelation which marks her as one of the up-and-coming stars of her generation. Sarah Boslaugh


We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article