Cate Blanchett: The Cinematic Chameleon
Ask anyone: who’s the most versatile actor to have come out of Australia? The answer will be unanimous. It’s got to be Cate Blanchett. Her roles span the portrayal of movie stars, royalty, a Disney villain, a housewife, an elf queen, a mysterious psychiatrist, partner in crime and the goddess of death. The list goes on.
Her performances have been marked by their emotional depth and complexity (and usually some Oscar buzz), showing off her incredible range. Each nuanced and powerful performance cementing her status as one of the greatest actors of her generation.
Now, the icon is being featured in a collection of video essays as part of Australia’s national museum of screen culture (ACMI) latest exhibition exploring the impact of women in Hollywood, Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion. To celebrate this great curation, here’s a look at some of Blanchett’s finest moments on screen.
Nightmare Alley (2021)
Ah, Dr. Lilith Ritter. In Guillermo del Toro’s masterful thriller, Blanchett leaves us hanging on every word as the cunning psychiatrist. Opposite Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of a carnival worker, she brings alive the magic on screen. The plot thickens. There’s one last con job to be done. Ritter’s motives are revealed. And Blanchett dives into her character’s manipulative and mysterious nature with precision.
Ocean’s 8 (2018)
The race to pull off an elaborate heist is high stakes in this star-studded, female-led spinoff. Its cherry on top is Blanchett, who is effortlessly cool, stylish and formidable as Lou Miller, a street-smart criminal who partners with Sandra Bullock’s character to commit the perfect theft at the Met Gala. The chemistry is obvious, the wardrobe is to die for, and Blanchett easily makes Lou Miller one of the best characters in the film.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Sure, Indiana Jones is technically the protagonist of this story. But you can’t help but love Blanchett’s role as the formidable villain. With her striking bob, sharp Soviet accent and sword-fighting, she brought personality and depth to the ‘bad guy’ character. Described as “a non stop thrill ride”, the film is a fun adventure. And Blanchett is well and truly along for the ride.
The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
As the delightful American socialite Meredith Logue in Anthony Minghella’s psychological thriller, Blanchett is empathetic and expertly humanises the role of a love-sick rich heiress. You’ll come for the dreamy wardrobe of cashmere, pearls and berets. But you’ll stay for her electric chemistry with Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), which makes their scenes together some of the most memorable in the film.
Her role in these films is now being honoured alongside the work of other female icons in ACMI’s exhibition, Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion. These ‘goddesses’ are defined by their unapologetic take on complex female characters, and how they’ve portrayed the stories of women that shatter glass ceilings and change the way we think about society.
Included in the curation are several video essays, including the work of Cate Blanchett, that explore the way certain themes and tropes have been reproduced across film history – like the classic femme fatale archetype or scenes of women fighting back against the patriarchy.
With its impressive scale, the exhibition is part of the Victorian Government’s 2023 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces blockbuster offering. After six months dazzling Melbourne, Goddess will tour internationally and showcase the wonderful world of women on screen across the globe.
Goddess is open until October 1st at ACMI in Melbourne, before touring internationally. Enter below for your chance to win 3x Double Pass tickets to see the exhibition. Or book your tickets at the link here.