This week's topic is a freebie, but a guided one: it's all about film this week. It's about our favorite movies, our favorite actors or actresses, favorite film genres, etc. You can pick literally anything and if you think it's difficult to pick your favorite book, then add about 10 points for movies because oh lord did it take me ages to decide on a topic much less on the top ten works!
My choice was finally narrowed down to Dame Maggie Smith. She is one of my favorite actresses ever and has been for years, even before she was cast as Head of Gryffindor Minerva McGonagall. Today I'll share with you my top ten favorite roles of her, taking from her film and television career.
10. Gunilla Garson Goldberg, The First Wives Club
I love it when Maggie Smith is the brains behind the operation and if I remember correctly, she's not only THE first wife, but she's been around long enough to accumulate the wealth and wisdom of a second, thirs, and fourth wife. Do not mess with Gunilla!
9. Caroline Benett, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
This was a funny yet emotional role. There's a lot of internal stuff that she had to deal with regarding this character, a lot of secrets, and she handled them well.
8. Janet Widdington, Ladies in Lavender
I love this role most because I got to see Maggie Smith work beside Judy Dench. Their work together, along with the musical background of the film, made it a beautiful film.
7. Agatha, Nanny McPhee Returns
6. Muriel Donnelly, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Muriel Donnelly is the character on this list that, I think, makes the greatest strides as a person and Maggie shows her journey from a crabby, xenophobic woman to someone that overcomes their feelings of abandonment in order to find person in later life. I have yet to see the sequel to this movie to see how Muriel fares there, but if her trajectory in the first film is any indication, I see Maggie carrying her along quite well.
5. Reverend Mother, Sister Act/Sister Act 2
I didn't even realize this was Maggie Smith until a few years after I'd first seen this movie. Maggie Smith's character, the Reverend Mother, is rather abrupt in the first movie. She's stern, quite like the Dowager Countess but without the snarky humor. Things get slightly less tense in the second movie when things move from the convent to a Catholic school and she's charged with saving it. It's a lighter movie that lets not only her, but the rest of the nuns shine in their humorous rolls.
4. Granny Wendy, Hook
Granny Wendy is such an important character in this course of this story, but doesn't really play that big of a part on the screen. It's more of a backstory, really, in how she interacted with Peter before the movie starts, but Maggie plays her well. She exudes this wisdom that Granny Wendy would be expected to have, this knowledge of all the stories she's collected over the years, the children she's interacted with in the course of her welfare work. I could see her perfectly in that line of work.
3. Dowager Countess, Downton Abbey
2. Minerva McGonagall, Harry Potter series
Maggie Smith is the best choice to have played Minerva McGonagall. I'm sure I would have been alright with whomever had been cast, but she embodies McGonagall in all of her glory. She has her stern look down when the students are in need of a talking to, but she also has the capacity for great kindness. This is demonstrated especially in Order of the Phoenix when, regardless of how she felt about Trelawney beforehand, she defended her against Umbridge.
Maggie herself embodied this character particularly well in real life when she was filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as she was seriously ill at the time, but decided to keep on going.
In character, the whole time! Marvelous.
1. Grace Hawkins, Keeping Mum
This was one of the single biggest surprises I've ever had when watching a movie. I think I picked it up because I was working at Blockbuster at the time and I had a free movie pass, so I figured why not. I won't say too much so as not to spoil the plot, but suffice it to say that Maggie Smith's character is much, much more than she seems.
The movie is funny, a bit crude in parts, and actually has some valuable lessons coming from not only Maggie Smith's character (Grace Hawkins), but from the vicar (played by Rowan Atkinson), his wife (played by Kristin Scott Thomas), and the people in their small village.
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