Happy 41st Birthday PARKER POSEY!

I adore Parker Posey and first noticed her [along with Nia Long] on As the World Turns. She stole her scenes and didn’t last long. She’s a chameleon. She can play an uptight yuppie in Best in Show, a Jackie-O- & incest-obsessed hyperactive in House of Yes, or a bored temp in Clockwatchers

STEELE’s list of must-see Parker Posey films:

Broken English [2007] It is the story of Nora [formidable, immensely talented Indie Queen Parker Posey], a 35-year-old who seems stuck in a rut-both personally and professionally. Nora has become complacent and settled at her hotel job. She is beginning to delve into the Bell Jar after years of seeming to know what she wanted and now being at the age where she feels she should already be there. She’s the ultimate urban over-educated, under-utilized 30-something woman. So relatable. Date after date leads to further frustration until she meets a French man, Julien [Melvil Poupaud]. He might really like her or just be another guy leading her on. Is it a merely a charming facade or is he being honest with Nora? Posey turns out a tour-de-force performance under the direction of Zoe Cassavetes. At times darkly reminiscent of Looking for Mr. Goodbar and steps above Sex and the City type single girl stories, Broken English does not look through rose-colored glasses but tackles Nora’s issues head-on. Her best friend Audrey [a solid performance by Drea de Matteo] is happily married and is supportive, understanding and concerned about her friend. Their conversations and connection are aptly real. Nora’s chemistry with Julien is palpable, enviable and genuine. The film does not gloss over anything from Nora’s morning-after bed head hair to her depressive, insecure moments. Nora and Audrey travel to Paris in hopes of finding Julien and Nora discovers herself, as cliché as that may sound. She lost his number. In one scene, she is sitting with the French guy who she has spent a few days with and suddenly a look of intense fear washes over her eyes as the color drains from her face and she looks like she’s going to cry, shake and/or explode. It is a heart-pounding portrayal of that wave of anxiety that starts to erupt inside. She bolts out of the café and into her nearby apartment and lunges for the bottle of pills in her medicine cabinet, downs a few and then gets in bed. “I’m okay. I’m not going to kill myself or anything,” Nora says to this guy who has followed her back, confused. Parker Posey, one of my favorites, is a brilliant actress. The film is raw, real and honest. Cassavetes’s spot on, direct, honest script captures this woman’s fears, disappointments and frustrations. This is one of the best, most resonant, films of the year. –Amy Steele

Party Girl [1995]

The OH in Ohio [2006]

Parker Posey gives another brilliant performance in Oh in Ohio. Here she plays Priscilla Chase, the well-to-do, self-proclaimed “frigid” businesswoman. She woman that “has it all.” The perfect job (just got a promotion), a fantastic wardrobe, house and handsome husband. She’s just never had an orgasm. EVER. Priscilla loosens up after attending a sex seminar (run by a very entertaining Liza Minelli, acting in the same vein as her Arrested Development performance. She buys a vibrator (and is earnestly propostioned by the ever-spunky Heather Graham) to which she grows too attached to the disappointment of her husband (Paul Rudd) who goes looking for sex with a student (Mischa Barton, who plays her character so unappealingly: dry, as if she’s reading lines from a promper, emotionless and even more dull here than on the O.C.). The pool guy ends up steering her away from her “appliance addiction” and we wonder is it sex or more than that? Danny Devito is sexy, heartfelt and real as “Wayne the Pool Guy.” This film is well-written, funny and pretty true. Finally someone is addressing this issue of women in their 30s, or for all women. Guys assume it is so easy for us. Parker exudes warmth and passion and energy and is a delight to watch in whatever role she chooses. Luckily, she is so talented that she can do anything. The Oh in Ohio is not perfect but it is a fantastic indie film with one of the Queens of the indies in a plum role. –Amy Steele

Waiting for Guffman [1996]

Best in Show [2000]

For Your Consideration [2006]

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits [2002]

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