In 1999’s The Gifted Mr. Ripley, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marge Sherwood is, in some ways, the eyes of the viewers—candy and considerably naive, she welcomes Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) into the idyllic life she’s constructed together with her boyfriend Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Legislation) in ’50s southern Italy, earlier than the previous secretly murders the latter, adopts his identification, and units off on a grand tour on his dime. When she later catches up with him, she’s deeply suspicious, however there’s nonetheless a sure fragility to her—determined although she is to convey him to justice, she is aware of there’s little she will be able to truly do.

Now, in Ripley, Steven Zaillian’s icy, eight-part Netflix retelling of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 basic—the newest in a protracted line of variations for stage and display—Dakota Fanning is inheriting that half from Paltrow. She nonetheless, at instances, acts because the viewer’s eyes and ears, however that’s the place the resemblance ends. This new iteration of Marge is, in a way, the antithesis of Paltrow’s sunny, floral-midi-skirt-clad hostess—wearing trousers and outsized white shirts (and filmed in atmospheric black and white, versus the unique movie’s ravishing pastels), she’s steely, watchful, and shrewd, somebody who appears to acknowledge Tom (Andrew Scott) for the opportunist he’s from the get go.

She’s additionally unapologetically formidable, penning a guide on Atrani, the sleepy Amalfi Coast city the place she and Dickie (Johnny Flynn) have ended up. Whereas her prosperous boyfriend spends his days parading round his palatial villa, she takes pictures and edits drafts in an enthralling however ramshackle one-room condo crammed with knitting provides, wild flowers, and candid snapshots. It’s clear that she doesn’t come from cash or, a minimum of, from as a lot cash as Dickie does, and isn’t from his crowd of New York sophisticates—we hear she’s from Minnesota and, at one level, she resents being seen as “a small city hick.” The image we get of Marge in these scenes—somebody who’s spiky, slippery, and steadily unreadable—is a lot richer and extra complicated than something we’ve been afforded earlier than.

It’s a exceptional efficiency from Fanning—nonetheless, emotionless, chilly, and cryptic—which ranks among the many 30-year-old actor’s greatest. And that’s actually saying one thing: she’s been working for nearly two and a half a long time, having began out as a toddler actor, enjoying a youthful model of Calista Flockhart in Ally McBeal, a baby-faced Reese Witherspoon in Candy Residence Alabama, the exuberant lead in Charlotte’s Net, and Tom Cruise’s daughter in Conflict of the Worlds. With I Am Sam, she grew to become the youngest SAG nominee in historical past (she was seven) and scooped a Critics’ Alternative Award, giving a surprisingly articulate acceptance speech as she was lifted as much as the microphone by Orlando Bloom.


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