The Human Chameleon: Essay on Meryl Streep

Essay by sajidahbCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2012

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The Human Chameleon

Although she has only won two of the seventeen Oscars she has been nominated for, Meryl Streep is still one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood. Hailed as the "world's most celebrated actress, Oscar magnet, and high priestess of difficult accents (Page)," Streep has turned the world on its axis every since her first feature film, Julia (1977). For over four decades now, Mary Louise Streep has graced theatre and film with her charisma and ability to become the actual person she is portraying. Her prestigious training, undeniable passion, and commitment to being a perfectionist, has provided her with the ability to take on and master any role she is given. With movies such as Kramer vs. Kramer, Music of The Heart, and Julie & Julia, Meryl has a more diverse and versatile acting career than most actresses.

Captivatingly sad and distant was Meryl in the 1979 film, Kramer vs. Kramer; that role earned Streep her first Oscar win: Best actress in a Supporting Role (IMDb).

The movie, starring Streep alongside Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry, showed Meryl in a mildly darkened light as Joanna Kramer, the mother who abandoned her husband and son to find herself. After doing so, she tried to return to the life her husband and son had made for themselves in her absence only to see that they had moved on. Streep has performed many dramatic antagonistic roles beginning with her performances in Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama. With productions such as The Taming of the Shrew and movies such as Doubt and The Devil Wears Prada, it is easy to see that she could be convincing as the character that goes against what their family or society thinks is right.