Many years ago, for Movieline Magazine, seven film critics were asked to name the best living actor. There were seven very thoughtful essays about Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman, etc. The British-born, San Francisco-based David Thomson (his "Biographical Dictionary of Film" is essential reading) chose Morgan Freeman. In his essay he made a typically Thomsonian quip: "He could play Lincoln." This was meant to describe the range and types of Freeman's performances, but apparently many Hollywood types saw the article and took it literally. I've seen interviews where Freeman has expressed bewilderment: "people keep asking me to play Lincoln."

Now Freeman's Nelson Mandela is up for an Oscar this year. I'm not sure it's Freeman's best or deepest role, but in my review of Invictus, I wrote that: "you almost want to stand up every time he appears on screen." This leads me down the rocky path of Freeman's career, some parts golden, some parts leaden, trying to choose his best role. I guess it's interesting to start with the fact that, for people of a certain generation, he was on the kids' TV show "The Electric Company" from 1971 to 1977, but he has every right to earn a paycheck, and it obviously introduced him to the right people.
categories Cinematical