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Anne Hathaway’s Shocking Confession
“Oh, dear me, I’ve harbored an apprehension of this very moment,” confessed Anne Hathaway. The Academy Award-winning actress was alluding to the prospect of discussing her roles as a psychiatrist in consecutive independent films, namely “Eileen” and “She Came to Me,” wherein she delivers cathartic, instantly iconic screams during pivotal dramatic junctures that are bound to be excerpted and celebrated by online audiences, especially her devoted LGBTQ+ admirers.
In Rebecca Miller’s idiosyncratic romantic comedy “She Came to Me,” Hathaway portrays Dr. Patricia Jessup-Lauddem, an obsessively organized New York-based psychiatrist with tendencies towards obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her pursuit of the most uncluttered existence eventually propels her toward considering a life as a nun.
Conversely, in William Oldroyd’s darker queer noir “Eileen,” she embodies the elegant, blonde prison counselor Rebecca St. John, whose rebellious demeanor captivates the younger, impressionable secretary Eileen, portrayed by Thomasin McKenzie.
“I witnessed ‘Eileen’ at Sundance, and then I encountered [‘She Came to Me’] at Berlin, and it struck me, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m letting out screams in two independent films this year.’ As an actor, one always harbors a dread of repetition, and I’m elated that you discerned distinctions between the two and perceive subtlety in my primal vocalizations,” Hathaway shared with IndieWire when questioned about the thematic overlaps between the two films. (Regrettably, work stoppage orders currently preclude further discussion of “Eileen.”)
Hathaway’s character in “She Came to Me” is the spouse of the creatively tormented opera composer, Steven, portrayed by Peter Dinklage. They initially crossed paths during a tumultuous period when he was her patient.
This dynamic persists as she revolves around him, providing support and encouragement for his burgeoning career, all the while meticulously tending to their frigidly decorated Brooklyn Heights residence by diligently vacuuming granite countertops and sterilizing every conceivable surface. Her composure shatters when certain revelations about her husband surface, culminating in a career-defining moment where Anne Hathaway bares all before a reclining patient, bellowing into the abyss.
“In the case of Dr. Patricia Jessup-Lauddem, she’s a character who harbors an intense apprehension of relying on the grace of others,” Hathaway explained. “She has strived diligently to avoid such dependence, yearning for a seamlessly functional, competent, aesthetically pleasing, and authentic existence.
Yet, the pursuit of such weightlessness towards others is a relentless endeavor. Anne Hathaway is determined not to be a hindrance, yet such a facade is inherently unsustainable. It is a path that can push an individual perilously close to the precipice, as manifested in my primal vocalization—one of two this year.”
Concurrently, in “Eileen,” in a moment destined to become an internet meme, her liberated character Rebecca elucidates to Eileen her love for living in solitude, where she can freely express herself, even unleashing a gleeful, hysterical outcry at the pinnacle of her lungs.
While not imbued with the same emotional intensity as Patricia’s shattering moment, Rebecca, having undergone catharsis, enjoys the liberty of living life on her own terms. Both scenes, however, propel their respective films into more revealing and profound trajectories.
It’s worth noting that Anne Hathaway has previously portrayed characters teetering on the brink of psychological turmoil. In her Oscar-nominated role in “Rachel Getting Married,” she portrayed a recovering drug addict on the verge of a breakdown during her sister’s wedding, which also doubled as a reunion with her estranged family. In the underrated comedy “Bride Wars,” she grapples with near-hysteria while planning a wedding at the Plaza in June.
Furthermore, her portrayal of Fantine in “Les Misérables,” which earned her an Academy Award, was an operatic performance depicting the life of an exploited factory worker who descends into sex work and madness before succumbing to her fate.
More recently, her character Rebekah Neumann, a former WeWork executive in the TV series “WeCrashed,” delves into delusions of grandeur as she attempts to assert control over her husband’s crumbling empire.
To inhabit Patricia’s unique journey in “She Came to Me,” Anne Hathaway revealed, “I’m not sure how this will sound, but I immersed myself in a plethora of films centered around nuns. ‘Viridiana’ was particularly enlightening, despite its tonal disparities with this film.
The moment a nun, or one aspiring to be, enters a film, it grants the narrative unparalleled freedom. When you juxtapose a humorous premise with a character aspiring to become a nun, the possibilities expand exponentially. And when you introduce opera into the mix, the entire concoction becomes even more promising and delectable.”
The core drama in “She Came to Me” revolves around Steven’s quest to overcome his writer’s block, leading him into the arms of a love-addicted tugboat captain portrayed by Marisa Tomei. Writer-director Rebecca Miller drew inspiration from her own struggles as a novelist and filmmaker, a creative breakthrough quest that Hathaway can empathize with, even if she finds it challenging to articulate her own methods of overcoming such hurdles.
“I’ve recently navigated through one of those phases,” she admitted. (Anne Hathaway’s most recent endeavor includes her role in David Lowery’s “Mother Mary,” where she assumes the character of a fictional musician. However, she also has a plethora of other projects on the horizon.)
“I received tremendous support from wonderful individuals. It wasn’t a magic solution or an ‘aha moment’ that suddenly unleashed a flood of creativity. It was a day-by-day journey, defying the gravitational pull of adversity. One of my closest friends offered me valuable advice.
I expressed how difficult it all felt, and she suggested, ‘Maybe you can create a boundary around it. Step outside of it, and don’t let it define you. Live your life, and when you need to confront it, you can cross that threshold.'”
Hathaway concluded with a chuckle, “I realize it might sound rather cryptic to others; nobody quite understands what I’m getting at.”
“She Came to Me” is set to grace theaters courtesy of Vertical Entertainment on October 6, while “Eileen” will make its theatrical debut via Neon on December 1