This week I have mostly been thinking about Anna Kendrick. It’s not my fault I swear. In fact I blame her entirely. It all started with Pitch Perfect. Actually… that’s not true. Whilst watching that film over Christmas did inspire me to write this piece, my little love affair really started with Up In The Air.
She’s a most interesting actress – and if you had to pinpoint her appeal I’d put it down to a few factors. She chooses her roles with care, often playing interesting characters that are put in quite complex situations; also she tends to play characters that develop in subtle and often joyful ways – something difficult to do convincingly.
And finally she manages to bring a wonderfully endearing quality to the parts she plays, whether it’s the lead or a supporting role, she holds the screen well and disarms us with her wit, charm, intelligence and adorable nature – all wrapped up in one tiny, cute package.
In terms of characters played and films in which she’s starred, here are my favourites:
Up In The Air (2009)
Most of us remember our first proper job out of education being tough, but what if your first job is firing others from theirs? In Kendrick’s breakout role she played a rookie ‘downsizer’ brought in to fire people from their jobs in the most efficient way possible. She beat rising star, Ellen Page, to the role, and you can see why – her performance was a delight.
A comedy about cancer? Surely not. Loosely based on the experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser, this film sees Kendrick as young therapist Katherine, helping Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Adam deal with his illness. Kendrick played her part beautifully, giving Katherine real warmth and believability as an inexperienced therapist who has blurred the lines between doctor and patient. Watch the clip below to hear Kendrick’s thoughts on the role.
End Of Watch (2012)
Another role as a supporting girlfriend you say? Well, yes. Here she plays Janet, the girlfriend then wife of Jake Gyllenhaal’s cop, Brian Taylor, in this tough thriller/drama, written and directed by David Ayer and set in South Central Los Angeles. Kendrick’s Janet acts as perfect balance to how Taylor acts when on patrol, softening him in the film’s quieter moments. Watch the non-scripted scene below where the two actors – in character – just improvise. It made the film and you can see why – really touching.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
The second highest grossing musical comedy behind School Of Rock and with a sequel on the way it’s fair to say this film was a success – another to add to the Kendrick filmography. With the tagline ‘Get pitch slapped’ and projectile vomit scenes, this was no Glee. And Kendrick was the smart and sassy centre of it all. In the riff-off scene below there’s a really sweet bit where she turns to her friends with a big ‘look at me’ grin. So cute and so Anna Kendrick.