Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jodie Foster in "Taxi Driver"

Jodie Foster received her first Oscar nomination for playing Iris Steensma, a teenage prostitute, in Taxi Driver.

Taxi Driver is an terrific, incredible film about violence. It's just astonishing in it's brilliance. The acting is really first rate, including Jodie Foster.

She plays Iris, a 12 year old runaway who has come to New York City and has taken up with a pimp. She appears on screen when she tries to run away from the pimp, and Travis Bickle, the taxi driver, has taken a strange interest in her. This continues as Travis soon makes it his goal to get Iris back to her family and off of the streets. Jodie Foster portrays Iris with a smart attitude and worldly sense. Which first of all seems all wrong for the character. I mean, she is 12, but Foster plays her like she's maybe 17 and has been around for a very long time.

But, regardless of that, I still think Jodie Foster is giving a very good performance for someone very young. Her scene with DeNiro where she thinks he just wants to "make it" is fantastic because it shows Iris may be a smart hooker, but she's also just a little girl, who likes to be showed kindness. And then, their "date" is also a great moment for Foster to shine as she finally shows Iris's playful sensibility about herself.

Be as it may, I still think she played most of it all the wrong way. And the ending scenes don't feel nearly as effective as they should have. But, it's still an undeniably big part of the movie, and Foster adds so much playfulness and youth to the role of Iris, that it is very hard to ignore. Maybe not the best way of playing it, but a truly great performance nonetheless.

12 comments:

Louis Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sage Slowdive said...

She certainly was better then Jane Alexander...

Louis Morgan said...

I accidentally deleted my comment.
Re-post:
Your right about her performance. It is a little mixed I prefer when she seemed to play it more as her own age. By the way do you think Shirley Stoler the commandant in Seven Beauties deserved to be nominated this year.

joe burns said...

Great review. It seems like you were a bit generous to her. Sounds like an interesting performance and I'll check to see if Supporting Actress 76 is possible for me. But when I do Supporting years, I'm planning to start with 42.

I think your ranking will be:

1. Straight

2. Laurie

3. Grant (She might be second, but I'm just predicting she's third)

4. Foster

5. Alexander

Sage Slowdive said...

Thanks Joe!

I should have said she is very good, I just didn't like how she played it most of the time.

Sage Slowdive said...

By the way Joe, I thought you were already ranking them smally?

joe burns said...

Oh, well, I sometimes do a ranking of them, but I can't do it every time because I hardly have seen all five of the nominees in a Supporting year and I can't always find a picture for some of the years I'd like to do.

Plus, 42 is an interesting year to me and I haven't seen A LOT of the Supporting winners.

joe burns said...

And also speaking of that, have you seen every Best Supporting Actress nominee?

Sage Slowdive said...

Yes.

Twister said...

I LOVE Foster's performance as Iris! However, I disagree that it was wrong of her to play her like she's 17 because Iris needs to put on the front that she IS older than 12. She tries to be all wise and sexy (like a 17 Y.O would) yet she's actually this lost, confused child who is smarter than one would think yet utterly trapped in a sticky situation.

Totally my pick.

Sage Slowdive said...

I get what you mean, I think it was Foster herself who said it was her most tough role to play because of her inexperience. But like I said, I still thought she was very good, no matter how much older she seemed.

DistinguishedFlyer said...

Glad you liked this role - it's probably my choice out of the nominees.