I’ve decided to change some of my Throwback Thursday/Flashback Friday posts to put a spotlight on a specific performer and two or three of their films.
This post will be focusing on British actor Minnie Driver.
In 1997, Driver burst into Hollywood in the film Good Will Hunting. Academically speaking, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a genius. He works as a janitor at MIT and anonymously solves the math problems left on the black boards overnight. But Will has no direction in life and often finds himself in trouble with the law. When his anonymity is discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), Will is offered a deal that could change his life.
Under the watch of Prof Lambeau, Will will not be facing jail time if he studies mathematics with the professor and spends time with a therapist. After several therapists flounder, Will finds himself in the office of Sean Maguire (the late Robin Williams). He also finds himself attached to Skylar (Minnie Driver), a Harvard student with ambitions to attend medical school at Stanford. Can Will sustain this new path in life or will he return to his old friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck) and the way he used to live?
This movie won all of the accolades and attention that it did for a reason. It is a brilliant film and just reminds the audience that sometimes we have to take risks, especially when new paths open up in life.
Three years later, Driver starred in Beautiful.
Mona (Minnie Driver) has only one goal in life: to win Miss American Miss. Mona’s home life is a roller coaster. The only steadying influence is her best friend, Ruby (Joey Lauren Adams). But there is one hitch to Mona’s dreams: her child. Contestants in the pageant cannot have children. Ruby agrees to pretend to be Vanessa’s (Hallie Eisenberg) mother so Mona can compete. When a reporter starts snooping around, Mona finds that the pressure to keep the facade up is building.
Can she keep the facade up or will the truth come out, ending her dreams forever?
This movie has an element of camp to it. But then again, the entire world is that beauty pageants is campy. While this movie does not require a lot of brain cells, it is still a fun movie.
The same year, Driver stepped into romantic comedy genre with Return To Me.
Bob (David Duchovny) lost his wife in a car accident. After his wife’s death, her organs were anonymously donated. One of the recipients was Grace (Minnie Driver), a woman who has had heart problems since she was a teenager. A year after his wife’s death, Bob receives an anonymous letter from Grace, thanking him for his wife’s heart. At the same time, Bob goes on a blind date at the encouragement of his friends. The restaurant they go is owned by Grace’s grandfather (the late Carroll O’Connor). Grace is their waitress that night.
Bob asks Grace on a date and she agrees. Their relationship start to move along, but she is not ready to tell him about the surgery and the heart that is not naturally hers. Will she tell him and what will the consequences be of the reveal?
As rom-coms go, this movie is starting to slide into the same old formulaic story. But it is the performances of the lead actors that keep the movie going.
I recommend all three.