I can't hide it anymore. I know there is disgust for Ms. Zellweger on other film blogs and in the comments sections of said blogs, but I'm coming out: I love Renee Zellweger.
There. I said it. Attack me in the comments if you want (or defend me...whatever), but hear me out! She has had her blunders (especially recently), but who hasn't? Nicole Kidman, care to explain Bewitched? Annette Bening, I know you were in The Women! Diane Keaton, Because I Said So? Really?
Renee is delightful. Here's a view of her partial filmography and why she deserves to be loved, not hated.
Jerry Maguire- She had America at hello. Once she agrees to quit her job in order to work with Tom Cruise, we fall for her as quickly as he. This was mainstream America's first taste of the lovely Renee, and what a taste! She's lovable and fresh. Those eyes, that hair, that quirky little expression. It's all just perfect.
One True Thing- Two years after Jerry Maguire, Zellweger was holding her own against William Hurt and the divine Meryl Streep. It was a glimpse of the other side of Renee, the serious thespian, no longer the angelic Dorothy we knew.
Nurse Betty- Her first Golden Globe win, and for a film that you either love or hate. Zellweger's performance alone should make you love it. She failed to earn an Oscar nom. here (see: Oscars dislike comedy) but she gives one of the best comedic performances of the "aughts." A performance she would only match two years later with Chicago.
Bridget Jones's Diary- Renee Zellweger? A Texan? As the unlucky in love Bridget Jones? It sounds weird on paper, but translates differently on screen. Once you've seen it, you cannot imagine any other actress (British or non-British) in the titular role. Good job Miss Zellweger! And you finally got that Oscar nomination!
Chicago- Her second nomination came for playing the murderous, half-talent Roxie Hart. She's not a great dancer and her voice isn't too powerful, but neither is Roxie's. So she murdered her husband and got her husband to take the blame for her, that doesn't stop the audience from rooting for Miss Hart. If we fell in love with her in Jerry Maguire, we were completely obsessed with her by the time Chicago came out.
Cold Mountain- Okay, this could be the role that turned many off from Renee. It's been called laughable and a slew of other things, but I will defend it and Renee! As I'm re-watching Cold Mountain (only Renee's scenes) on Youtube, I just find the transformation of beautiful Renee to this frumpy little ball of fire incredible. Maybe Holly Hunter would have been the better choice OSCAR wise, but Renee was smart and took this supporting part and filled it with energy.
Down With Love- What other modern day actress could even dare try to capture the comic gold that was the pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson? Renee can (with a little help from Ewan McGregor)! Imagine someone like Uma Thurman trying this? ECK! We need Renee and that silly little face of hers! A film I Dare you not to love. With a capital D.
Miss Potter- I admit I was a little annoyed with this movie when I first saw it. I thought "Errr, is this supposed to be a legit attempt for Oscar glory? Renee's too reserved and never lets loose, and Ewan is in such a bit role!" She played Beatrix Potter. She couldn't be the Roxie Hart we (I) knew and loved! She had to take it down a notch, and she did! Good. That's what your supposed to do. Adapt to your role.
New In Town- STOP! You haven't seen it! It's really not that bad! So don't judge it based on the notorious name alone. It's a mediocre attempt, okay. She can't squeeze a Globe nod out of this, I know. But it's better than a lot of films of the (perceived) same caliber (i.e. Bride Wars). Check it out if you're bored on a Saturday night, I swear you've seen MUCH worse than this. It's more her career that took a hit by doing such a small film than her skills.
My One and Only- It's a bit confusing sometimes if she's the lead in this or not, but I'm going to argue with yes! She does the same Miss Potter thing here. She's kind of reserved, and not letting loose. But think of the times. I mean, she's no Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven, but she approaches these sort of pieces differently. It's a good take in a small, yet completely enjoyable film.
So, there it is. My love of Renee. Say what you will, but my views on her probably won't change! And I'm really excited for My Own Love Song! Keep the good work coming, Renee!