Split (2016) – James McAvoy
James McAvoy plays about eight characters in the this film and delivers about seven of them beautifully, but the final character he plays is another story. This last character is called “The Beast” and is everything you’d expect from a character with this name. he’s angry, full of himself, supernaturally strong, and, most of all, too dramatic. This isn’t all down to the performance, it’s also down to the writing. M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this film and actually did rather well (surprisingly) for most of it. Most of the characters (specifically those played by McAvoy) are well thought out and cleverly written, but “The Beast” feels like a stock character that Shyamalan resorted to when he realised the rest of the story was good. The poor writing of this character, and perhaps poor direction on how to portray him, resulted in what I consider to be a terrible performance that brought the whole film down.
Les Miserables (2012) – Anne Hathaway
When this film came out, there was a lot of talk about Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine, especially in regards to her performance of I Dreamed a Dream. Most of the comments were in mockery, laughing about her dirty, snotty face and shaky voice. When I finally got around to watching this last year, I was very interested to see her performance and make my own judgement. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was full of raw emotion, as it should have been, and was incredibly compelling. Tom Hooper’s decision to have live singing paid off, I feel, as it helped show the emotion more effectively.