From the film “Boyhood” to the series “High Desert”, the 55-year-old actress and feminist activist has been making radical artistic choices for a decade. At ease in all registers.
Published on May 21, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.
Dn the prolific career of Patricia Arquette, from a famous family of actors, the last eight years are to be placed in the fireworks category. Multiplying scores and registers, from cinema to cable channels to streaming platforms, the actress is everywhere and, everywhere, she occupies the screen with remarkable intensity. Spearheading the fight for equal pay between women and men in life and in the cinema, she has made her art the primary tool of her activism. Like many of her peers, Patricia Arquette has taken her destiny into her own hands by producing the fictions in which she embarks. latest, High Desert, for Apple TV+, a dramedy about an ex-methadone addict’s unlikely retraining as a private detective in the California desert. She takes the blows of fate there but also knows how to return them with crazy charisma. Overview of the second life of the 55-year-old actress in five roles.
“Boyhood”, by Richard Linklater (2014)
For Richard Linklater’s film-experience, the actress agrees, like the entire cast, to sign her a blank artistic check. Every year, from 2001 to 2013, she takes on the role of Olivia, courageous little soldier of the American dream, in good times and bad, in front of her camera. Single mother of Mason and Samantha, then ill-married then divorced then ill-married again and divorced again… Fighting like a knockout, Patricia Arquette ages on screen before our eyes. But his naturalistic playing remains sober and powerful. Melancholy and raw incarnation of passing time. A vibrant portrait of an ordinary woman that earned her a Bafta, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
“Inside Amy Schumer”, by Amy Schumer and Daniel Powell (since 2013)
Celebrate “the last fuckable day”, that’s to say “the last day we’re fuckable”, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey, another comedy icon? Impossible for Patricia Arquette to resist this invitation, launched by their youngest Amy Schumer. Gathered on the occasion of one of the cult episodes of his series Inside Amy Schumer, the three fifties enjoy themselves, macaroons and flutes of champagne in hand, pounding their obsolescence decreed by Hollywood. With radical punchlines and transgressive replies, they pay for their male counterparts who do not suffer from a consumption expiry date. Arquette reveals a sense of self-mockery at the height of the queens of comedy. Few country lunches have been so funny and political!
“Escape at Dannemora”, by Ben Stiller (2018)
In this mini-series directed by Ben Stiller and inspired by real events, Patricia Arquette made an appointment with Emma Bovary. Another era but the same deadly spiral. Supervisor of the sewing shop at Dannemora Penitentiary (in upstate New York) where her husband also works, Tilly languishes in her life as a “white trash” (“white waste”, from the poor white social class). Only his distractions with two inmates (Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano) appease his ogre’s sexual appetite and his gloom. Perverse, manipulative, victim and culprit, physically unrecognizable, she delivers an astounding performance of realism against a backdrop of marital frustration and the intoxication of the forbidden.
“Severance”, by Dan Erickson (2022)
Always under Ben Stiller’s camera, always in the shoes of a “villain” (wicked), this time, the actress invests, on Apple TV +, the figure of the two-headed hydra. It splits into a UFO series between anticipation, dystopian office comedy and psychological thriller. On the one hand, icy and creepy in the strict suit of Harmony Cobel, a psychorigid hierarchical superior. On the other, in Mrs. Selvig’s down jacket, warm, intrusive and apparently a good neighbor, who settles disputes about taking out the trash with homemade cookies. An astonishing mirror performance which above all reflects his multifaceted talent.
“High Desert”, by Nancy Fichman and Katie Ford (2023)
The actress is Peggy, shattered by drugs, family, life. Nothing was already simple in his fifty-something life on artificial methadone. The death of his mother (Bernadette Peters), his soul mate, precipitates a radical questioning. She embraces a new career as a private detective in the Californian desert. Cheeky, “badass” but still vulnerable, the actress here gives free rein to her irresistible comic nature. Crazy Patricia Arquette!
:t2: High Desert, series created by Nancy Fichman, Jennifer Hope and Katie Ford, United States, 8 × 28 min. The first three episodes are available Wednesday, May 17 on Apple TV+, then a new episode every Wednesday.
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Intense in “Boyhood”, hilarious in “High Desert”… Patricia Arquette in five crazy metamorphoses