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Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor Hardcover – January 6, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Longworth’s book functions both as a biography of a star and a theory of stardom. It is a nuanced, enviably readable work of cultural studies." – Slate

About the Author

Karina Longworth is a film critic and journalist based in Los Angeles. She has contributed to LA WeeklyVillage Voice, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Slate and other publications.
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Product Details

  • Series: Anatomy of an Actor
  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press (January 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714866695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714866697
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mike O'Connor TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Meryl Streep is arguably the greatest living actress ever. Her list of awards is awesome. She's been nominated 18 times for Oscars - more than any other actor/actress ever - and won three times. Her string of 28 Golden Globe nominations - 8 wins - is also a record-setter. Then there's two Emmys, two SAG awards, BAFTA, an AFI Life Achievement Award, etc., etc. It's fair to say the kid can act!

Karina Longworth's MERYL STREEP, ANATOMY OF AN ACTOR is part of the CAHIERS DU CINEMA series, which examines the career and craft of oustanding actors. (Other volumes have focused on Pacino, Brando, etc.). Longworth's book explores and analyzes Streep's career development by focusing on ten iconic films, detailing the who-what-where-why-and-how of Steep's involvement and performance. The films include KRAMER VS KRAMER, SILKWOOD, OUT OF AFRICA, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTRY and THE IRON LADY. Longworth interweaves biographical details with the film criticism to present a multui-layered portrait of the woman and the actress. The book combines probing, insightful narrative, comments from Streep and her co-stars/directors/etc. and a nice mix of b&w and color photographs.

Film buffs will enjoy Longsworth's book. It's certainly a step above - a big step above - most "The Films of XX" books. It's revealing and informative and helps unlock keys behind the work of a great actress. Recommended.

*****
I have always had the same attraction to Streep's work that I have had to Laurence Olivier's. It's fascinating to watch them in action, seeing the obvious intelligence behind the work and marveling at their performance. Yet there's inevitably the realization that they're ACTING - technique, technique, technique! - versus being the character. FYI.

*****
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A thorough, well-written book about one of the greatest actress of the century---and probably all time. Sometimes analytical in its approach, it is still completely engaging and substantial. Any fan of hers will be satisfied; any non-fan will be educated and informed enough to make them want to explore her impressive body of work and undoubtedly BECOME a fan. If you only give her one chance, see "Sophie's Choice", one of her older movies, but I guarantee you won't be dry-eyed at the end of it. And you'll NEVER forget it. Trust me.
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What an amazingly wonderful woman Meryl Streep is. She knew, almost from childhood, that she wanted to be an actor, and she did everything to make that happen. I didn't know that her "lover" was the same man who played Michael Coreleon's older brother in the Godfather series. He died young, from cancer, and Ms. Streep was severely impacted by her grief, however, she rallied, and became the star we now know.
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This book is part of a series on actors and 10 of their movies. What's interesting here is learning about the background of the movie -- the story line -- & getting the actor's & director's take on the production and performance. I especially liked reading about Meryl Streep's role with Clint Eastwood as actor and Director in Bridges of Madison County. I think I will pull it up on Netflix & enjoy it in a new light.
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Bought this for our 10 year old that loves Meryl Streep - and a kid that is very into the world of acting. The book is really amazing. It analyzes 10 of her characters and goes into depth on that particular character, Meryl's insights, interviews, and what not. There are loads of images. The content is certainly written for adults, and not 'written for kids' - but due to her sheer passion, she is devouring this book and hasnt put it down. Completely happy with the purchase!
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Format: Hardcover
Meryl Streep is a cinema nonpareil whose acting talent and aura seemingly can't be explained. Nominated for a record 18 Academy Awards and winner of three, Streep was nominated this year for an Oscar for her over-the-top portrayal of a grieving, drug-addicted mother in John Wells' movie version of Tracy Letts Broadway smash "August: Osage County."

Finally, film critic Karina Longworth, who has moved from movie blogging in New York, to long-form criticism at the LA Weekly and Village Voice Media, to book author, has managed to nail Streep down. Longworth's third contribution to the Cahiers du Cinema/Phaidon series --the first was on Master of Cinema George Lucas, followed by an Anatomy of an Actor book on Al Pacino-- takes a straightforward deep dive into ten iconic Meryl Streep characters, from the start of her career through her rich middle-age blossoming, accompanied by glossy color photos. Longworth argues that "serving up a corrective to the patriarchal version of history has been the major project of Streep's acting career." At the end of her introduction Longworth concludes: "In playing and thereby giving voice to the voiceless, she has again and again authored alternative historical fiction from a female point-of-view. That's more than speaking to feminism, it's enacting feminism."

The book is a pleasurable and enlightening read. No heavy plowing required. ---Anne Thompson
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