Monday, June 13, 2011
B.S.A.P: Peggy Ashcroft in A Passage To India (1984)
Peggy Ashcroft received her first Oscar nomination and won the Oscar for playing Mrs. Moore in A Passage To India. Mrs. Moore is an elderly woman who is traveling with her son's fiance (Judy Davis, my recent winner of Best Actress 1984), to meet her son and to see India. While there, she is disgusted by all the snobby English people around her and is appaled how they treat the people of India. She meets a young man named Doctor Asiaz, who she is enchanted by and he the same way.
As I've said, A Passage To India is a mixed movie for me. It's really lacking in the 2nd half, and it's not very engaging, but there's a lot of beauty and impressiveness about it too. Peggy Aschfroft's Oscar-winning performance is a big plus to the movie. She plays all her scenes with such dignity and strength, making Mrs. Moore an impressive, mysterious, and loveable character. She and Judy Davis work well together, though they don't really have correspond. Her scenes with Doctor Aziaz are terrific, both seem to have a lot of respect for each other, and their scenes have a special power to them that adds to the film. When they go into the cave, Ashcroft is able to convey her fears and the strange unsettling feeling that the echo in the cave gives her, it's very convincing. And there's another thing, Peggy Ashcroft completely disappears into this part, there's no sense of acting.
My only complaint would be that their some scenes with Judy Davis that don't really fit with the character, where's she's playing the "wise old lady". It doesn't feel true to the spirit of Mrs. Moore. Still, this is a great performance, whose presence is alive through the whole movie.