G and G

By November 12, 2006Site-news


Todays update is dominated by Goya’s Ghosts but still no answer to the big mystery. Nevertheless…

Let’s begin with a negative review (note – beware spoilers in all these reviews) from Variety, which at least has some kind comments for Natalie.

Portman is a particularly convincing muse for Goya earlier on, then spends much of the later stretch wearing startling, uglifying makeup and doing a good turn as a trembling madwoman.

Although perhaps that is meant to be a backhanded compliment…

And now for a couple amateur/fan reviews.

The first is mostly negative, although nothing like a train smash, but this extends to Natalie’s work in the film.

Finally, Natalie Portman ultimately throws the film completely off genuineness in a role that is completely at odds with her persona. Portman looks like the beautiful girl next door, she doesn?t resemble anything Spanish nor does coating her with globs of makeup to convince us that she just spent fifteen years in an Inquisition prison, or throwing on a harsh accent and some false teeth help to sell the role. Portman has been effective in films like Anywhere but Here, Where the Heart is, and the little known Beautiful Girls. Her recent promotion to stardom in V for Vendetta and the new Star Wars films as characters in science-fiction universes rings false. It?s like trying to cast John Wayne as Genghis Kahn, makeup does only so much and what one is capable of in one area does not always carry over.

The second review (need to be registered on Oscarwatch) is mixed but he sure loved Nat.

Natalie Portman…. Natalie Portman… Natalie Portman… well, I read critics that said she was good the first hour, and pathetic the rest of the film. IT’S FALSE. She is fantastic the entire film, really, she is the best of the film by a mile, her scenes as Inés a woman who becomes nuts after the Inquisition are tender, probably the best scenes of her career; and she is fascinating as Alicia.

So where does that leave us? I’ll be damned if I know. The opinions are all over the place on this film. Kinda reminds me of V for Vendetta in that regard.

There is now a strong rumour that the film will get a US release in the Spring, which is very disappointing for those of us who hoped the film would get Natalie some award recognition. Thanks to Veggiegal and Stellanonline.

And finally, the Gael-Nat rumours are hotting up again. British tabloid paper, The Sun, gives the skinny. Thanks to Irene and Marina.



Author Dazza

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Join the discussion 35 Comments

  • Mac81 says:

    Dazza, please repair the link to “The Sun”.

  • Bou says:

    The Sun link doesn’t work for me 🙁

  • fanatical610 says:

    I don’t know whether I’m coming or going with this film. A couple of months ago this was oscar worthy, now it seems like a circus. One person says it’s great another says it’s rubbish, Natalie’s believable, Natalie’s unbelievable. The only consistency seems to be that it’s hit or miss so far. I still like that Natalie did this film because it’s not an easy sell and I’d rather see her fail at a film like this than say a film like star wars.

  • dazza says:


  • JenR1215 says:

    1st review dude, ticks me off. Not because he didnt like it, just because of the reason WHY he didnt.

    He didnt really watch the movie… he was just compairing Nat’s past career, to her role.

    I cant stand it, when people see a movie and watch the ACTORS and not the “characters.”

    she doesn?t resemble anything Spanish.
    Well SHIT!! Did he not SEE that STELLAN was playing GOYA… um, hello?

    Javie’s the only *SPANISH* [main]actor in the damn movie, people.

    [oh cool, i just noticed the icon thing for this site (im on Netscape).]

    Portman has been effective in films like Anywhere but Here, Where the Heart is, and the little known Beautiful Girls.

    [i am not hate’n on these roles, just being honest]

    ABH – yeah good role, good movie, seeing how people can relate.
    WTHI – (Chick Flick central) Funny, cute, but not a very serious.
    BG – Her character didnt do anything but just be cute… yeah, very very effective acting… not. :/

    I’m not smart enough to understand what he said about her role in (V), but he needs to get the shit slapped out of him if was saying “false” as in she was terrible in it.

  • Liberance says:

    Well, I have finally seen the movie. And sadly, I have to say that I completely agree with some of those comments.

    Beware, because I’ll write some little nice SPOILERS:

    Natalie is as brilliant as usual during the first half, but she is clearly miscasted for the rest of the film.

    As many here will know by now, Natalie plays two roles in Goya’s Ghosts. Firstly, she plays Inés, a noble Spanish young woman that is summoned by the Inquisition and unfairly accused of being Jew. And secondly, she plays her own daughter Alicia, fifteen years after the events told in the first half of the film.

    The problem is that Inés still lives fifteen years after Alicia was born, and yet, both roles are played by the same cute, tiny and lovely Natalie Portman during the whole movie. It becomes absurd when you have to see the same Nat playing the adorable and healthy Alicia and an insane, unhinged and older Inés who is released more than a decade after she was imprisoned to get repeatedly raped and tortured for years. It simply doesn’t work.

    Anyway, this is just a minor problem concerning Natalie in this particular movie. Goya would have failed by itself for other reasons, all of them strictly artistic. It’s not a bad film at all, but it disappoints as a moving picture.

  • dazza says:

    BG – Her character didnt do anything but just be cute… yeah, very very effective acting… not. :/


  • dazza says:

    Liberance – Nice to see a review from a Nat fan. The multiple Nat thing does certainly sound worrying. Is it down to the acting (both characters feel too similar?) or that they just physically look the same?

    And my crotch wanted me to ask, whats the nudity situation?

  • Kadaj says:

    natalieportman.com, covering the reviews, and the reviews of the party going kind. seems a girl can’t make up her mind. Gael and her make nice.

  • Liberance says:

    Inés and Alicia are totally different characters. The first one is an aristocratic lady with a distinguished appearance and polite manners, while the second one is an orphan who eventually became a prostitute.

    Both characters must be played by the same actress in order to get certain effect that the story requires. Alicia is supposed to look exactly like Inés, so Goya can be able to recognize her as Inés’ daughter even without knowing her. The problem is that you don’t believe Natalie as the grown Inés during the second half of the film. In my honest opinion, she overacts and the make up definitely doesn’t help. You don’t believe her as a middle-aged sick and tortured woman.

    Actually, I didn’t want to mention the acting because I saw the dubbed version (it’s almost impossible to see an original version where I live) and Natalie’s work is still fine in most scenes.

    As for the nudity, there is nothing in this picture that you haven’t seen already in Closer. In Goya Natalie appears completely nude sometimes (and it’s still her and her own skin, no doubt), but it’s dark, she’s full of dirt and her arms and hair generally do the rest of it (they probably used the body double just for the torture scenes, where you can’t see anything of her femininity either). So there’s nothing to worry about, because she’s still virgin in terms of screenshots 😛

    That only assuming that you actually wanted her to stay like that…

  • sam'u-el says:

    whaa??? look here, I wasnt going to post anything cuz I ain’t got much time here, but WTF,DUDE ??? I cant even find words to expres my indignation… ARE YOU F@#$ING CRAZY??? you cant say that about Beautiful Girls! it is simply forbidden! something should fall upon ur head and blast u into oblivion! have you no fear of god? if you mess with BG you mess with me! you mess with us! you mess with the forces of nature! you mess
    with the laws of the universe!…how can you? God help us!
    who the hell is JenR1215 anyway? (imagine the above words being said by Lewis Black… well I’m even more pissed off!!!)

    oh,by the way…I saw goya’s ghosts friday night!…well, let me just say (instead of writing every curse I know), that I just dont understand people that say the movie is bad! wait, I do understand them, but it’s hard to belive there are so many idiots out there… what the hell are you people lookin for in a movie?…………
    the storyline its a little weird and the ending kind of shitty, but its a fine work, a Milos Forman obviously, and what’s more important for us a verry good performance by natalie portman! I’d like to say at this point, aah, ‘liberance, you completly missunderstood this movie’. what you call absurd its probably the most effective part of the movie cuz she does a great job palying both characters and its good for the story even though she looks really ugly with that make-up, wich might be shocking for some… similarity is not a problem , the looks neighter. the acting, I repeat, is very good, as for the nudity, well there are several scenes with alicia beeing tortured and she is naked but you dont really see that much cuz the intention wasnt to create more buzz with a nude scene, it’s just the reproduction of a torture scene, so that peoople can understand better how the inquisition used to ‘interrogate’ the so-called heretics. Again, a good movie, in my opinion better than V for V.
    p.s. there’s a very funny scene where brother lorenzo is receives a taste of his own medecine…its quite unespected.

  • sam'u-el says:

    correction: Ines is the one tortured, not Alicia.

  • veggiegal says:

    I think that people had very high expectations because of the people working on this film. And it is sad to say that it didn’t live up to their expectations. I can’t say anything because I live in the US and I haven’t see the film. Some people like Nat some don’t. The same thing is true for Javier and Stellan. One thing is for sure, it doesn’t look like it will be part of any awards season. If it is released here in the Spring it will probably play in some theaters for a while and then be available on DVD. Natalie will have to wait for another film in order for her to be considered for an award. That has nothing to do with my opinion of the film since I didn’t see it. It just seems like this is what will happen with the film. Too bad but that is the way the film business is.

  • sam'u-el says:

    the variety.com review is the best I read this far, even if its just a little too critical. The guy its right about the 2 things that would have made the movie a lot better:
    – more recognition to the genius work of the painter (the lack
    of it caused a negative reaction in spain)
    – a more developed, stronger, love story(conflict) would have
    come just fine

  • Sak says:

    Nat’s acting in BG was simply amazing on top of her being very very cute.

    Regarding GG, i fully respect Liberance’s review (many thanks for sharing), but one thing i learned in my 38 years of presence on this globe is that people’s opinions about the same matter differ widely. So I’ll wait and see for my self before i get disappointed.

  • _Anyathe says:

    Wow, talk about a mixed bag of reviews.

    The film may very well make or break her.

  • JenR1215 says:



    I was just saying her role in BG is as effective as some of the characters she has played. She was just the girl next door, no big thing.

    I dont think it was a role that ‘challenged’ her skills i should say like it was in ABH, (V), Leon, Closer, etc…

    i dont know, i’ll keep my mouth shut now… :X

  • hatikva says:

    Thanks for the review, Liberance. It seems as objective as a Nat fan can be, and helpful.

    Maybe Nat’s absence was a combination of all the reasons people have brought up: Shooting TOBG, fall-out with producers because of the delayed release, being too comfy with Gael to want to leave…though I thought we’d heard the last of him after the Argentinian incident.

  • Unity1 says:

    Picasso was clearly Spain’s greatest painter, not Goya. Goya is Picasso’s brush boy. Picasso! I mean how many 12 year olds do you know that could produce photo-realistic drawings? Ummmm, not many!! Oh, Natalie? I think it’s just fine if people don’t like the film. So what? Do we really want everyone in the world to be huge Nat fans and to make her even more reclusive and “Ivory tower”-ish? No.

  • dazza says:

    Jen, the character may have literally been the girl next door and she may have just had a few scenes, but in those scenes she is acting her BALLS OFF. Look at the subtle changes in expression when she’s saying goodbye at the end.

  • clone says:

    the story of natalie and gael in the british paper the sun is a paperatis’s fantasy story, just like the 2000 story of hayden and natalie been in love, when it was an act for star wars.

    I beleive there only good freinds and not really in love with each other, cause natalie has alot of males who are only freinds to her, not real boyfreinds.

  • hopey says:

    Unity1, Picasso is the most famous spanish painter, but it was Goya who opened the path for the so-called “modern art”. Both impresionism or expresionism began with Goya.

    And Dazza, the favicon doesn’t show in Firefox. At least for me.

  • Kitten says:

    Well it seems that its just natural it’s the same with every movie, some people love and rave about it and others hate it, it doesn’t look like my kind of movie, but I will watch it as a fan of Nat’s.

    More Gael rumours, I think they are together, seems they may have been together for a while, I thought they had split after Argentina but obviously not, wish someone would ask them straight out wether they are, just to get an answer even if it was Yes we are, but thats all I want to say…

    I’m sure we’ll read more about it in the upcoming weeks anyway

  • veggiegal says:

    Wow, all of these mixed reviews make me want to see Goya even more. But alas I am in the US so I will have to wait. Even Screen Daily and Variety are widely split on the film. I think that I will love it because I love period pieces, find the subject matter important and I think that Forman and all of the actors are great. But this is one of those films that will be dividing people quite a lot. Thanks for everyone’s interesting comments.

  • sayuz says:

    ok. I haven{t watched Goya´s Ghost yet. Only a “review” from a spanish tv program about cinema (“Días de Cine”, something like days of cinema”) and they said that they could´nt understan the movie, besides of making good coments of Milos, Natalie and the actor plaing Goya (I don´t hate him, just that I only think to remember him as the saxon cieftain in “King Arthur”?)And surely, no relogious ground from them to reject it. May be the scarcely mention of Goya art.

    By the way, I said it weeks ago (but you better don´t pay attention to what I say. Most of the time) and I repeat it again now: Cinema, and Art as a whole IS NOT THE REALITY. JUST IMITATES IT. So it doesn´t matters if an actor or and actres resembles the people from the country

  • dazza says:

    I don’t think the fact that its not ABOUT Goya will personally bother me. The biopic is probably my least favourite genre. But maybe if people go in expecting that they could be disappointed.

  • JenR1215 says:


    I KNOW!! and she was good! Thats the same thing we say about her in Heat.

    Usually i say she did a “wonderful” in a movie if she cam make me cry. It’s not hard to make me cry when i watch a movie, either.

    I didn’t cry in BG… She didnt really cry.. although she did that that sad tearful look on her face during the window scene (which i will saw she did good on)

    I’ll rephrase….

    ABH – yeah good role, good movie, seeing how people can relate.
    WTHI – (Chick Flick central) Funny, cute, but not a very serious.
    BG – Her character didnt do anything but just be cute… yeah, very very effective acting… not. :/ Marty’s cool. Wonderful role. She can make a damn goog pitiful face within seconds.

    oi dammit… i should of kept my damn mouth shut,lol.

  • knowme says:

    Just want to say that people (ahem, Sam’u-el) ought to settle down a bit about others taking a critical eye to Nats movies. I personally really appreciate what Liberance and what Jen have to say. I always trust it more when fans are a bit critical in fact; I can’t stand that obsessed celebrity worship stuff. I am in love with Nat but that doesn’t mean I think she is perfect, or that every performance deserves a million Oscar, or that everything she does is made of gold and silk. She is HUMAN after all.

    Besides, if you lavish empty praise on someone all the time, then it doesn’t mean as much when they are actually really good. If I praised Natalie’s AMAZING acting feat in the Lux Super Rich Shampoo commercials (because absolutely EVERYTHING she does is ALWAYS PERFECT, right??!!? You HAVE to say that or you’re NOT a TRUE NAT FAN!!) then it would dilute my meaning when I say how AMAZING her acting ACTUALLY is in Leon. You see? Nothing wrong with a well-thought critique. It’s just being honest. Dazza and sam, hard to believe but maybe some people *don’t* think she was astounding in BG, or GG. Doesn’t mean they didn’t “understand” the movies or something, it is just their own opinion.

  • life_is_a_cereal says:

    I’m just… done with this film, unfortunately. I’m fed up with all this bullshit. It would take a miracle to get me to pay ten bucks to see it in theaters. (i.e. a great review from a respectable source).

  • dazza says:

    Knowme, I agree. All opinions are valid here and there’s no need for anyone to freak out if there is another viewpoint. My opinion is that Natalie’s performance in BG is some of her best work and my initial comment was one of shock but its intention was very lightheartened.

    Jen, stick to your guns. If you don’t think that much of the BG performance, fair enough. But maybe give it another try sometime.

    I LOVE Heat and the bathtub scene is incredibly powerful (especially for a fan of Nat) but her performance was just “decent” for me.

    On this subject, I’m currently having an email exchange with someone who took offense to my comment, last week, that Star Wars was awful. Apparently np.com is a blog.

  • bou says:

    I really agree with that point: a real fan have to be objective. And every acting is not always perfect. Depends in a number of facts (subject, directing, state of mind…). And, every actor is not always perfect. Kidman is ridiculous in Bewitched. But perfect in The others. Bernal was incredible in La mala educacion, but just okay in Babel. And, as my favorite exemple, Hepburn was the greatest actress in Breakfast at Tiffant’s, but an absolutly boring one in The unforgiven. And she is my FAVORITE actress ever.
    So, when Natalie’s fans admit they found her acting was not really good, I think it is very interesting, and objective. It just help me to define more the character she’s playing.

    Three of my spanish friends told me about the movie they saw yesterday that it was not as bad as they were afraid to find it. But the subject was not interesting, and seems to be a little too much “crying”, if you understand what I mean. As spanish fans for Bardem, the three told me they were very very decepful. Apparently, is has the worst part in the movie.
    Concerning Natalie, two of them think she was good but not great, and the last think she was bad. I precise the three are not Natalie fans, but they like her in some of other movies. I would say they were all agree on one fact: thinking old Ines character was ridiculous. Horrible make-up and bad acting, too much in every parts.

    SOOOOOOO!!! I can just tell you I really don’t know what to think. It is clear that is not a good movie. But it seems it is not a Starwars (I agree with Dazza about that movie, no offense to anyone who loved it). It is just far away from expectations. And, finally, it seems it is not Natalie’s greatest performance we were waiting for.
    I ‘ll just go to spain for the week end. If the movie is on theater in the town I’ll be, I could give you my opinion on sunday. I’ll try to be honest and objective!!

  • knowme says:

    Thanks you guys, I am glad you know what I mean. About *loving* her but not *worshipping* her blindly.

    Ah well, all I can say for GG is, if it sucks, we’ll just try again with the next one. She has soooo many movies coming up, we have plenty of opportunities! No worries everybody. And I personally would rather it be honest, anyhow. I don’t want them giving her an award just to give her an award, that’s meaningless; I want her to earn it. Maybe she and Scarlett for Boleyn?

    And dazza, I agree, and you stick to YOUR guns- Star Wars IS awful!!! (Sorry to the fans). 🙂

  • Don E says:

    So what happened in Argentina anyway? 🙂

  • sam'u-el says:

    whoah, knowme! since when reading just 1 of my comments makes u think that I go like that all the time??? I ask because I actually happen to hate people that tend to be that subjective, well maybe not but I sure do pity them…so let me see, hmm, I should slap myself , or what? just so you know, I’m not going against you, cuz I now how comments can be missunderstood sometimes. that was not some sort of ‘worship’-talk, cuz duuude, I was just exagerating with all the ‘going against BG is disturbing the balance of the universe’, get it? having fun… but I do like BG very much and nat’s acting in this movie, but hey, that’s a personal view, I dont expect ev. else to see it that way… we all have our own taste regarding movies.
    and rest assured, I’m not like that with every little work natalie’s been in… I could even tell you more than one of nat’s performances that in my opinion, are less than just low (more like shit, damn, or my favourite, wtf?!…)but I dont want to offend people that might happen to like those movies, so,shhs!
    but I just happen to like Goya’s ghosts(not only bec of nat’s acting…I have this thing with the Inquisition, but nevermind) and I’m not afraid to say it just cuz it might be considered as som. else…
    bottom line, everyone: if someone happens to like a movie that in your opinion is not that good, what’s the big fk deal? let’m be… but dont acuse me of being subjective based on my opinion of 1 movie, cuz you have no idea, onestly… nothing farther from the truth!
    I hope The Other Boleyn Girl proves to be at least this intriguing, but much better, dont you? that way, we’ll all agree that is cool.

  • JenR1215 says:

    @ Dazza

    I didnt say i didnt like/enjoy her role. I only meant that there are other roles that shes done better in.

    But in those she also had MORE(longer) of a role during those movies. She was given the chance TO show her stuff too.

    i really do love Marty. Shes maybe #3-5th characters of my fav. Nat characters. (i dont really have a list. I mainly just have a top 2 favorite).

    Marty’s probably the only character out of her movie that I/some can relate to, closely. Her and Ann(personally).