Having an unhealthy crush on Natalie Portman makes me about as unique as a weed. I'm aware of this, how pitiful my little critic's brethren and I seem huddled together talking about how she's smart and purty too, but I'm still helpless to stop it from happening. So what can I do? I've got to accept, right? I need to accept that the gal from V for Vendetta, the girl who so carefully projects the "girl next door" image (when in truth she is anything but) is never going to meet me and fall head over heels. It's not in the cards. But with that acceptance perhaps a greater and more honest awareness of all things Portman can be ascertained too... which leads nicely into:
Five Reasons We (I) Love Natalie Portman:
1.) She's been around forever, even though she's only 26.
I remember her scene in Heat. I remember her from Beautiful Girls, a film destined to make you feel creepy the older you get. My point being we've grown up together, Natalie and I, and I appreciate her sticking around. Like an old friend, she's been there through thick (Closer) and thin (Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium??).
2.) She's not afraid to mix things up.
When I first saw the Portman rap (warning: salty language) from Saturday Night Live I was stunned that she even agreed to it. She opened herself up to an incredible amount of backlash... and yet, she got away with it. I never heard a thing about it afterwards. Incredible. Is it possible everyone without a sense of humor in the world suddenly got one once Portman was involved? Whatever the case, I've never loved her more than when she threatened my pet.
3.) She changed her mind on the nude thing.
Don't worry, I'm not going to get pervy with this. My point is when she filmed nude scenes for Closer everyone involved realized they weren't necessary to the story. So they were axed according to her wishes. Later, when filming Hotel Chevalier for Wes Anderson she did a bit of nudity. This shows maturation, and good judgment too. There are times in life where people are sans clothes. I'm not talking exploitative horror-style nudity here, I'm talking something that moves the story forward in an interesting manner. Hotel Chevalier was that scene and she nailed it. Kudos to her for not giving in to fear and for allowing a master filmmaker like Wes Anderson to accomplish his vision.
4.) She's willing to try and fail.
Natalie's work in Star Wars is about as bad as she's ever done. But she committed to it and she saw it through. In between she worked on things that were interesting and successful: Garden State and Closer come to mind. No actor is ever going to bat 100%, but Natalie's wide range of projects guarantee that she'll always have something interesting cooking.
5.) Okay, okay, she is smart.
I recently read an interesting study where it was suggested that men don't want to date/marry someone smarter than them. Phooey on that noise. If Natalie wants to attend Harvard and make me look intellectually small, by all means, be my guest. Since when are we competing with each other for who is smarter in a relationship? I figure a smart gal could save my life some day, Macgyver style. Thus, smart people, in general, are highly preferable to dumb people. That's sort of my mantra for life actually (you may use it too though).
Natalie doesn't fit the current Hollywood version of glamour: she's not out getting drunk and high; she's not having surgery; she's not switching out a boyfriend every week on the cover of People magazine. Instead she's doing interesting movies and becoming a person of substance. Weird, I know.
So, for all these reasons and more, we at film.com salute her. May her reign last 1,000 years.