When social media seemingly ‘rediscovered’ Kate Winslet with Mare of Easttown, one can’t help but wonder if this is her out of sight to the public or to the public living under a rock.
Kate Winslet in Easttown Mare
“Kate Winslet is great in everything she does, but in Mare of East Town (sic) she is quite brilliant, ”famed British TV actor Sanjeev Bhaskar tweeted. “I watched her watch the paint dry. But I would ask him first, ”he adds at the end of this article, reflecting a sudden surge of love that has apparently taken over the web in recent days.
Now that the show is over, social media just can’t seem to get enough of Mare and the genius playing her. This despite a lot of early gossip about ‘another’ HBO miniseries featuring a small town protagonist struggling with personal angst in the midst of a full-blown criminal investigation (Real detective 1, 2 and 3, and Sharp objects). The big difference, most would agree, was the presence of Winslet, who didn’t just bring the X factor that is the headliner expectation on a show like this; she brought the proverbial kitchen sink.
Winslet received the highest praise for the realism with which she portrayed Mare, a detective living in a small town in Pennsylvania. Mare was the toast of the city and the star of a winning high school basketball team 25 years ago. She is now in her mid-forties, divorced and has lost a son to suicide. She also has a grandson whose custody she could now lose to her recovering heroin-addicted stepdaughter.
Mare has that air of exhaustion – it’s an emotion that could so easily tip over into defeat and cynicism but doesn’t because it is counterbalanced by an indescribable harshness beneath the exterior. Do not you see it ; you just know he’s there. As if she knew that life was going to throw another upheaval in her, but she would find a way to deal with it. Winslet, in conversation with The New York Times, spoke of being “bowled over by the way audiences fell in love with this wildly flawed, messy, broken, fragmented and difficult woman.” I loved her marks and scars and her flaws and flaws and the fact that she has no stop switch, no stop button. She just knows’ Come on. ” ”
It’s this personal take on the character that makes Winslet a modern acting royalty.
When it’s imperfect, it’s imperfect all the way – scars, wrinkles, grease and all, vanity be to the devil.
She reportedly refused to let director Craig Zobel put on a sex scene that unflatteringly showed her bulging stomach. She then returned the poster for correction as she knew exactly how many lines she had around her eyes and wanted them all back. And it’s not just the physical attributes. Winslet is known to slip into character and literally start living her roles, which her husband Ned is probably used to. So when she balked at the idea of Mare having a one-night stand, her husband had to step in and tell her that she was probably choosing to do it. Winslet finally saw he was right, but made sure the scene was awkward and fit for a disused grandmother.
When social media apparently ‘rediscovered’ her last week, one can’t help but wonder if this is Winslet out of the public eye or the public living under a rock.
There are those, of course, for whom Kate Winslet is still the 17-year-old Rose in Titanic (1997). The adulation of these quarters was mostly sparked by the shock of seeing her in this depressed and dressed avatar. It’s fun, really. Then there are those who discovered it with Titanic, and watched her grow up for a decade and a half after that.
Her Oscar nominated role as Rose was followed a few years later by another Oscar nomination for her performance as acclaimed British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch in the eponymous biopic, Iris (2001). There was this unforgettable role of wonderfully unbalanced Clementine Kruczynski, who chooses to erase memories of her boyfriend in the cult classic. Eternal Sunshine of the Flawless Spirit (2004). Her role as Hanna Schmitz in The reader (2008) won her her first Oscar, and she dropped another for the ages that same year with Revolutionary route (2008), a role that saw her rediscover Titanic co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
But these are all big budget, big studio movies – the genre that is not easy to miss for those who follow the big Hollywood. These are also the people who wonder where the seven-time Oscar nominee has been hiding for the past decade, and you can’t really blame them. As someone who has always believed in playing roles that satisfy your soul, it’s almost as if Winslet finally decided to flip the switch about a decade ago.
2011 saw her make traditional dishes like Contagion but she also did that of Roman Polanski Carnage, a film that she regretted having made after the #MeToo movement. However, none of this can take away from her unforgettable performance, as a drunk type A mother fighting with another group of parents over a schoolyard brawl between their children. 2011 was also the date she made her first foray into television as the main character in the five-part adaptation of Todd Haynes’ film noir classic. Mildred Pierce (HBO, 2011). She won the Emmy that year because that’s what she does.
The decade that followed, however, was fairly calm for a combination of reasons. After a hectic 2011, Winslet took time to spend time with her children. While she was making a number of traditional dishes in the Divergent series (2014-15) and Steve Jobs (2015), none of his performances really stood out. While independent films like Labor Day (2013), The sewer (2015), and A little chaos (2015) garnered praise for Winslet’s performance, these films flowed without a trace. And then there were movies like Collateral beauty (2016) and Triple 9 (2016) where the film and its performance failed to hit the mark. It was almost as if Winslet had lost his mojo.
It is Ammonite (2020), a love story from a painfully tender period where she paired her with Saoirse Ronan which truly marked a comeback for Winslet. The film, based on the speculative romantic life of fossil collector and paleontologist Mary Anning, has been hailed by critics as “one of the best of her career” and found its place on several “Best of 2020” lists.
For those who have followed her career and have seen her immerse herself in every role she has ever played, Winslet’s performance as Easttown’s mare comes as no surprise. From her debut playing Juliet Hume in Celestial creatures (1994), Winslet had criticisms gushing about his abilities; and she was only 17 years old. Washington post Review of Peter Jackson’s film describes Winslet as “a fireball with shining eyes, lighting up every scene she finds herself in.” Three decades later, she still does.
Mare of Easttown is streaming in India on Disney + Hotstar Premium.
(Also Read —Mare of Easttown: Kate Winslet’s Show Is An Examination Of The Love And Loss In Motherhood)