If you wrote an equation for how many great roles an actor should be assigned per year, it might read something like: how many good performances they'd given in the past 10 years plus how much you re-watch them in all their old performances per year divided by number of bad movies they've made. I'm not sure Thurman's ever made a bad movie, so this calculation has been rendered completely useless, but I'm telling you. If this calculation functioned, the number would be a lot higher than the number of movies and shows per year that Thurman's currently doing. So bow down before me with relief and with gratitude when I tell you that Uma Thurman's My So Called Wife TV role means we'll be seeing more of her on the reg.
My So Called Wife follows a seductive con woman (played by Inbar Lavi), who robs as many hearts as she does possessions. Thurman is reportedly going to take a guest star role with a story arc playing out over multiple episodes: she will be playing Lenny Cohen, the ultimate fixer. Cohen can fix pretty much anything: whether you need a recalcitrant employee taken out or the best omelette you've ever tasted, she has got you covered.
This role description makes me so happy, because it's such a perfect case of art imitating life. Who's more of a fixer for your film than the multi-talented Thurman? Part of the wonder of the actress for me is her flexibility. She's best known for two roles: playing the femme fatale in Pulp Fiction and playing the dangerous Bride in Kill Bill. But Thurman's never been one to let roles define her, and perhaps the excitement of following her career is watching what she'll get up to next: she's tried her hand at goofy rom-coms (Noelle in The Truth About Cats And Dogs), superhero movies (Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin), science fiction (Irene in Gattaca), and musicals (Fantine in Les Misérables).
Most importantly, Thurman is the magic ingredient for so many of her movies. Often, she's the element that turns a movie from good into great. Pulp Fiction is an indisputably excellent film, but the film minus Thurman's performance would be all wit, no heart. Thurman's incarnation as Mia Wallace gave the film the emotional undertone it lacked. It took the movie from being something film students would gush about forever to being something everyone would gush about forever.
She's also the redeeming element for less critically-appraised projects. Batman & Robin was famously the least popular Batman movie with critics, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it just 11 percent and reviews like "the Batsuit seems to grow in size and scope while the characters and story line grow flimsier and more irrelevant" being typical of the response to the film. However, when it came to Thurman's performance as Poison Ivy, critics gushed.
The Washington Post said "Poison Ivy, the sinuous villainess, is the only relief from the onslaught of spoofy humor, special effects and meaningless comic book mayhem" while People Magazine were equally approving: "Two green thumbs up for Poison Ivy, the deliriously wicked horticultural zealot played with gawky panache by Thurman in Batman & Robin."
A fixer is a term for someone who can make arrangements that will solve all of your problems. Thurman doesn't just solve a filmmaker's headaches, but an audience's. When watching anything with Thurman in it, my smartphone-induced short attention span magically vanishes. I don't half-watch her performance with one eye and keep the other trained on my Instagram feed. I don't think about all the stuff I haven't crossed off my to-do list for the day. I don't think about that weird argument I had with a friend. I'm completely swallowed up my the film or the show, and isn't that what entertainment's all about?
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