Current favorite “detailed acting” Impressionists moment

Scene in question begins at 2:43.

[Take as read my mixed feelings about “The Impressionists” here, and thus the highly unstable nature of the term “favorite” as employed here. I feel like this scene betrays my moral convictions. And yet I watch it, again and again.]

Here’s a pic of the key moment:

Richard Armitage as Claude Monet in The Impressionists, episode 2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

In this scene, Monet goes out to the Hoschedés’ house in hopes of collecting some money owed him, and discovers that his customer will not be able to pay. His customer’s wife throws herself into her arms, and he has the grace to be embarrassed by it. The detailed moment that I love is the incredibly ambivalent smile at the very end of the scene, in which Monet shares his perception that the tie is horrid, and smiles at the shared perception, then reveals his own awkwardness at the shared perception. Mr. Armitage’s apparently perennially dry lips help him out a lot here, as they retard or demonstrate the retardation of the smile. They make him look really embarrassed. It’s delightful. Really. Good acting, even if the fact that I enjoy it makes me question my sanity.

~ by Servetus on April 19, 2010.

3 Responses to “Current favorite “detailed acting” Impressionists moment”

  1. As usual, so impressed by the analytical abilities of all the preceding.

    I am highly visual and receive information initially visually. Which often makes it problematic to disengage from the visual and analyse. Switching to a different (and less predominant side of the brain?)

    Trying to switch, with a further watching of The Impressionists now.

    The visual aspects of the film still present a problem. Including Mr. Armitage, however much one wishes to just judge on acting. As a small aside (I’m really good at tangents), a thing to be admired of the actor is a perfect willingness to look odd, pathetic, or downright ugly.

    The morality of the Monet character does not worry me overwhelmingly. Have always accepted the cliche that artists, within any genre, are intrinsically selfish. (Single-minded, as Gisbourne said – wrongly, of the psychopathic sheriff?) If one were to make the decision to live with any artist – accept, and deal with it. (I choose not to “live with an artist” for that reason.

    Will leave it there, till watching more of The Impressionists, and organizing that other side of the brain. If anyone is interested, and hasn’t yet read it, Jean Renoirs’s “Renoir, My Father” is excellent.

    btw, responding to the detailed e-mail analysis and comments – which don’t appear to be up on the site yet. Or as per usual, not surfing properly.


  2. I have never seen this movie. Sadly, there are too many of RA’s movies that I have not had the time to watch.


  3. Avalon: this is a really different role for him than much of what he has done. There are some cute and poignant moments, and he gives his usual great performance, but I would not put this one on the “must see” list.

    fitzg: he definitely was willing to try to look like Monet, although actual pictures of Monet reveal that the artist was even scroungier. I wouldn’t have minded if the character as drawn in the film had been immoral — it was the film’s attempt to excuse him that bugged me.


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