What a way to end January of 2021. I had a stressful month but more about it later on in February. Today we are looking into our first Hidden Gems of 2021 and let me tell you… it did not disappoint! Meaning I didn’t suffer almost at all. Michael Sheen has some good movies in his filmography and I had not seen many of them. So getting to see Michael Sheen in so many various types of roles (by accident) showcased his diversity to my liking. Oh and yes, I left it all to the last minute even though I planned to be much more organised in 2021. Sometimes you can’t have it all.
WHY MICHAEL SHEEN?
Like I mentioned in my Hidden Gems 2021 announcement post I wanted to focus on British actors and actresses this year. It turns out there ARE SO MANY that I admire. Sadly only 12 of them made it to the list. But Michael Sheen got here because I recently (not so but pretty much) watched Good Omens. He was delightful there. And let’s not forget the sheer Sheen perfection in Frost/Nixon. I of course have seen him in other things as well but I’ve never full on out fangirled over him. Yet Michael Sheen is a solid actor so I wanted to fangirl for an entire month. It worked.
By the way, he is so funny! I think for me British humour in general is amazing. It works more often than not and I find British actors and actresses more charming as a whole. No idea why this is but I think we’re gonna have fun this year.
So Letterboxd has 82 Michael Sheen projects, I took out shorts, documentaries and the ones still in production and was left with 69. Out of those 69 I had seen 13 movies already. With some of them I don’t even remember Sheen being in them! Which is a shame really because I should definitely remember this guy.
So I’ve seen 13 of Michael Sheen’s performances and these are my favourites: Frost/Nixon, Good Omens (yes, I’m including miniseries this year!) and The Queen.
I’ve also seen Nocturnal Animals, Midnight in Paris, Alice in Wonderland, Passengers, Twilight: New Moon, Tron Legacy, Underworld, Home Again, Admission and Laws of Attraction.
My picks for the Hidden Gems challenge were random and I ended up watching: Apostle (2018), Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) and The Damned United (2009).
Minor spoilers ahead as always.
TW: blood, gore, torture… just a lot of bad shit.
Part of me wants to leave it last but I usually list the movies in the order I saw them. Apostle happened to be the first and honestly, the best of the bunch! I missed out on it three years ago but now I’m thrilled to say I liked it a lot! I wouldn’t say love because… it’s too early and it’s no Midsommer. But as far as Netflix movies go it’s really well done!
The story is compelling, Sheen’s character is not the main one (Dan Stevens gets to shine instead) but he still demands a lot of attention. His character walks the very thin line of good and bad. His haircut is very appealing to me (not entirely sure why) and the beard is hot. To start of 2021 with this does seem a little scary though… will this reflect what’s to come next? I hope not. Yet the idea of an island fed by a god but also that god tortured by humans? It’s superb.
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
TW: a bunch of sheep fall off a cliff and a dog is shot off camera in this one.
Where the fuck was I when this came out? Seriously, does anyone even know this movie? Granted it’s dull and its narrative is so messy that I wasn’t sure if the entire plot happened in a span of 2 weeks or 12 years but it had something going for it. Sheen’s role here is small and it’s Matthias Schoenaerts that steals the show. (I know him from The Mustang and I’m starting to realise I really love the guy!)
Anyway, the lead is played by Carey Mulligan and she has like three men lusting after her. And what does she do? She does not go for the hardworking hunk Matthias, nor the handsome and mature bachelor Michael, nope.. SPOILER .. she goes for the douche moustache dude who gropes her in the woods. But what do you expect, the novel this is based on is written by a man. But also I have a feeling the movie fails to deliver enough emotional connections. It feels rushed and none of the relationships seem to make any sense really.
Before I get to my final pick I’m here to tell
you some delightful news! Allie from Often Off Topic is also joining the Hidden Gems movie challenge this year!
And coincidence coincidence we BOTH had Apostle this month. But Allie’s month was all about Dan Stevens. Read about how her month was RIGHT HERE.
THE DAMNED UNITED
This is a tricky one. I was exhausted by the time I got to this movie and it probably influenced my thoughts about it. That being said, the non-linear time line was a little annoying. I like my sports movies to go from point A to point B. This one goes back and forth, and back and forth so many times I lost count. And the movie focuses on the management not the games which is again something I’m not particularly fond of.
That being said Michael Sheen is so different here. The accent, the clean shaven face, the way he holds himself. Compared to the previous two movies it feels a lot more polished. It makes sense as this is based on a real story meaning he was portraying an actual real life person. Not knowing the person I have no idea how he did but I’m sure he did well, right?
Anyway, I feel like I would have liked it more if I hadn’t been so darned sleepy but this one was, despite Sheen being great, a bit boring.
As far as beginnings go I think this was a strong one. There was nothing particularly awful about any of these and the performances were always spot on. And there’s nothing really wrong about the movies either, some I just liked more than the others. Apostle definitely shined among the three but that was because it was more up my alley. My second pick was a bit disappointing because there was much more potential there. I watched the third too late at night, I was exhausted. Disappointed in myself for this.
What I did learn here is that Michael Sheen is a very strong supportive actor but can lead just as well. He easily outshines you but he will do it oh so politely. The guy is talented and so.. familiar. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad but he almost feels like comforting. Like you know he will deliver and you know what to expect but instead of predictability it is just enjoyment. I like that.
Previously on Hidden Gems – HIDDEN GEMS 2021 ANNOUNCEMENT
Next up on Hidden Gems – TOM HARDY
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I’m still laughing about our match with Apostle. When Michael Sheen turned up I didn’t recognise him at first and when I did I thought…no way…!
I’ll update my post in the morning!
I haven’t seen your other picks although Far From the Madding Crowd has been on my radar for ages now.
Can’t wait to see which Tom Hardy movies you see 🙂
Ah yes!! Sorry for such a late reply, I don’t know how I missed this. But yes, the accidental matching was priceless! 😀
I really liked Apostle it was very creepy. I fell asleep during Far From The Madding Crowd. The only thing I learned from it is that I had accidentally been referring to the book as “Far From the Maddening Crowd” for years. I haven’t seen your last pick. I’m looking forward to your Tom Hardy post!
I wasn’t even properly aware it was a book.. I don’t know where I was living in 2015 lol.