PDA

View Full Version : "His performance is honest" - Huh?


Roadfood
06-29-2005, 01:01 PM
Sometimes I think that movie reviewers are wannabe wine connoisseurs. They grasp for descriptive terms that sound meaningful but are, in fact, vacuous. Take this review (http://www.paloaltoonline.com/movies/cgi/moviescreener_long.cgi?id=2196) of War of the Worlds. The reviewer says of Tom Cruise, " His performance is honest and wrought with emotional content."

What does it mean for a performance to be "honest"? Can anybody tell me what that means? And does it imply that an actor can give a dishonest performance? Can anyone give me an example of a dishonest performance?

pinkfreud
06-29-2005, 01:08 PM
By "honest," I think reviewers mean that a perfomance is not mannered or hokey. A "dishonest" performance would be hammy and unbelievable.

Larry Mudd
06-29-2005, 01:53 PM
Compare "acting the truth."

By definition, acting is not truth -- but when people say this, they're talking about emotional truth.

Mr. Blue Sky
06-29-2005, 02:24 PM
Compare "acting the truth."

By definition, acting is not truth -- but when people say this, they're talking about emotional truth.


"YOU CAN'T ACT THE TRUTH!"

Eve
06-29-2005, 02:25 PM
As Lillian Gish used to say, "Never let them catch you 'acting.'"

Roadfood
06-29-2005, 04:11 PM
By "honest," I think reviewers mean that a perfomance is not mannered or hokey. A "dishonest" performance would be hammy and unbelievable.Ok, that makes sense, I guess, thanks. Why can't they just say, "His performance was very believable", so that ordinary people like me can understand what they mean?

GorillaMan
06-29-2005, 04:13 PM
I take an 'honest' performance to be a very open one. With acting, it perhaps exposes more of the character and/or of the actor than might otherwise occur. But yes, it can be a vague term to use in times of creative block when writing reviews.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.