There are lots of fantastic movies starring Diane Keaton – she's a cinematic goddess, and her career has been steadily successful. She was once Woody Allen's muse and, now, she's proof that there is a place in Hollywood for beautiful actresses over the age of 40 – and 50 and 60, for that matter. She stars in some of my favorite movies, so it's hard to narrow the list down to eight. This is just my opinion of the best movies starring Diane Keaton; if I miss your favorites, make sure you add them!
This is one of my favorite movies starring Diane Keaton. Actually, it's one of my favorite movies, period. The ensemble cast is terrific, but Diane's turn as Annie is particularly poignant. She has the perfect mixture of vulnerability and strength. You can actually see her somewhat spineless character getting stronger and stronger. I love seeing her in roles like this, and the trio of Annie, Elise, and Brenda is absolutely brilliant.
Speaking of Annie, Annie Hall is just a classic. Naturally, Diane Keaton starred in many of Woody Allen's movies, all of them fantastic, but this is probably the most well known. There's an excellent reason for that: it's incredible. She won a well deserved Oscar for this role, where she strikes the perfect balance between enchanting and absolutely goofy. And oh, her androgynous style in this film! It's become her trademark, and thank goodness for that, because no woman looks as beautiful in a suit and tie as Diane Keaton.
Although I can only share the trailer for The Godfather, I'm totally cheating here. Kay Corleone, nee Adams, definitely helps make this trilogy what it is. Of course the three movies mainly focus on the Corleone men, their friends, and their enemies, but the focus on their families is vital as well. Unfortunately you don't see enough of Kay in the third (and arguably weakest) movie, but in parts I and II, she shines. You get to see the changes in the character, as she moves from a rather vivacious, vibrant woman into a veritable ice queen.
Given the general, critical opinion about this movie, you might wonder why it's on here. Well, for one thing, I like it, because I'm like that. For another thing, Sybil is just awesome. She's such a blunt, wide open smart ass, I love it! She's a strong matriarch who's not afraid to be honest with her family, and she remains their strength even in times of trouble. Even in the midst of her own crisis, she's still eager to see her husband and children happy. I particularly love the way she stands up for and firmly supports Thad.
I don't think this movie gets enough play. That might be because it's actually an adult themed movie made for adults, and you honestly don't see those much any more. For sure, you've never seen Diane Keaton in a role like Theresa. This movie is gritty, dirty, violent, and sexual. The film is based on Judith Rossner's book of the same name, and it was incredibly controversial when it came out in 1977. Maybe it still is, because it's almost impossible to find. During the daylight hours, Theresa is everything you expect from Diane Keaton: an almost demure teacher, very proper. At night, however, she searches for steadily more violent sex from a series of random strangers with whom she wants no ties. Her iconic scene with a very young, very strange Richard Gere is just incredible, and her performance is filled with subtle clues about what's going to happen.
This movie even looks great on paper – Keaton stars with the beautiful Meryl Streep and the fantastically talented Robert De Niro. It even has a young Leo DiCaprio. However, her performance as Bessie is often heartbreaking and always touching. If you've ever had to care for a sick or incapacitated loved one and felt like you were doing it all on your own, you will definitely see facets of your experiences in Keaton's performance.
This movie is incredibly underrated as well. If you've gotten accustomed to Diane Keaton's open, all-out method of acting in many movies, this will definitely come as a welcome surprise. The movie as a whole is incredibly subtle, and Diane's Louise is particularly simple, especially in terms of technique. Her dialogue is often short, almost curt, and to the point – but, if anything, it carries more of an impact as a result. Her acting is based around subtext, making for an incredibly rich and layered performance. Even her character's anxiety bleeds through the screen and affects the audience.
I'm cheating again; I actually love Father of the Bride part II as much as I love the first remake. Diane as Nina Banks is simply marvelous. There's something rather subtle about her performance in these films as well, and a certain elegant simplicity that balances beautifully against Steve Martin's overprotective, sometimes neurotic George. She makes an utterly perfect mother of the bride.
There are so many great movies starring Diane Keaton and they span so many decades. I love seeing a woman who owns her age, as you can see by some of my choices. She's not ashamed to be 66; she's never been ashamed to be herself, for that matter. What are some of your favorite Diane Keaton films? Also, I'd love to know your favorite older actresses!
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