Meryl Streep gets serious in “Lions,” “Rendition”

 
 

After sitting — and rolling my eyes — through the interminable mawkishness of Evening, I was prepared to ask a difficult question: Is Meryl Streep getting somewhat indiscriminate with her role choices?

Based on the two trailers I just watched, however, I don’t think she’s in any danger of that. In the next few months, Streep will grace the big screen again in two films that are decidedly less mushy than Evening. You might even call them inflammatory, or at least thought-provoking.

In Lions for Lambs, Streep plays a journalist in an ideological battle with Tom Cruise‘s hawkish senator. Meanwhile, director Robert Redford mentors two promising, patriotic students and takes “ruggedly handsome” to new heights (or is that lows?).

Never mind all that. What really matters is that Streep wears glasses, possibly the entire time. And that’s just swoon-worthy. Here’s the trailer:



Despite the twerpy presence of Cruise, this one looks great to me. Meryl gets to do her commanding, disapproving thing, à la The Devil Wears Prada, but in a role that looks politically and intellectually meaty indeed.

Plus, how great is this tagline?

Yeah, it’s been around, but I like it. And it reminds me of another little film that starred Redford. In that one, someone said, “People are more important than their principles,” and someone else said, “People are their principles.”

And then there’s Rendition, which I hadn’t even heard of before this weekend. This one concerns a CIA analyst (the universally appealing Jake Gyllenhaal) who has doubts about the detention and interrogation of a terrorism suspect. Reese Witherspoon plays the detainee’s blindsided wife. This time Streep is the hawkish government official who supports the questionable questioning. Here’s the trailer:




Obviously my concerns have been allayed. If you ignore the upcoming Mamma Mia! (and actually, I’m willing to give that one the benefit of the doubt), it seems clear that Streep is being plenty choosy as she sifts through the sheaf of scripts on her desk. It’s almost as if she’s trying to make a point — maybe even a difference — with these two roles.

Lions for Lambs premieres Nov. 9. Rendition starts Oct. 19. And Streep’s career shows no signs of slowing.

 
 

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