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Before 'Wonder Woman,' When Robin Wright Played Diana (But Not That Diana)

By Lord Castleton | Film | June 24, 2017 |

By Lord Castleton | Film | June 24, 2017 |

A dangerous, powerful, all-consuming love.

Have you ever felt that?

Sometimes, with emotion that intense, especially if the love and lust are both jockeying for position, the experience can be captivating. That feeling, that sense, was on display in a small indy that I don’t think many people saw, starring Robin Wright.

There’s been a lot of well-deserved Robin Wright love out there lately. She’s built an amazing career. Her talent is impressive and important and, it seems, relatively timeless.

But not many people have seen my favorite role of hers. It’s only fourteen magical minutes long, and was in a tiny 2005 movie called Nine Lives. (And yes, obviously, I adore Buttercup, but this…this is different. This is like seeing something unique and unfathomable.)

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a film by Rodrigo Garcia. For less than the cost of a Big Mac you can rent it on Amazon. It’s a film that follows the lives of nine women in a series of vignettes. Just look at the names on this jacket.


I barely remember the other performances because the vignette with Robin Wright was so goddamn amazing. I just believed it. And it’s just her and one other person: Jason Isaacs. He holds his own and shows off his chops, as well. I’m absolutely dying to see him in Star Trek: Discovery because he’s always cast as an evil prick and in so many ways those actors who are type-cast as bad guys - male and female alike- can often make for legendary good guys.

If you can’t spring a few bucks to watch it in HD, here it is:

Nine Lives - Memorable escene (Jason Isaacs and… by ArtieOtt

This type of wildness, a sudden, unplanned wildness of emotion and spirit, is a difficult thing to chart, but Garcia does it here with grace and truth. It’s so powerful.

The only other film, off the top of my head, that affected me with regard to this emotion: this dangerous, all-consuming type of love was Nicole Kidman’s monologue about the naval officer in ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ Where, in a microsecond, without even knowing a person, she would give up everything she holds dear just to be with him. My god that’s terrifying, and somehow exhilarating and so diabolically human. Listen to it:

That we can build a fortress of attention and care brick by intentional brick only to have someone come along who would make us not only turn our back on it, but kick it down ourselves? Whew. That’s some powerful peyote.

Is it love? A deep, inner knowing that calls to you from a more fortified place of spiritual integrity? Is it a primal connection with an absolute truth?

Or is it just good, old-fashioned lust? Lust sharpened to a razor’s edge. Is it an accidental meandering of a physical entity into the visible spectrum of a multi-generational line of genetic code? One written in permanent marker that was passed down from your ancestors? If you see this form, bind yourself to it.

I’ve experienced this type of passion in the past. I’m not sure where it came from. For me, it was option A. An inner knowing so certain that I felt powerless to resist it. Or more accurately, I had no reason or desire to resist it because it felt more right than anything I’d ever known before. I remember feeling woozy and disoriented, but also singularly focused. With a need so instant and powerful that the absence of the other person makes the void feel too close. It’s a bizarre sensation. When it works, mutually, it’s a cartoon dreamworld. When it’s uneven, or unrequited, it’s a place from whence a bounty of ugliness can spring.

My stomach drops out every time I watch Robin Wright’s Diana jog out of that store, looking for Damian. Because where is she now? One minute she’s casually tossing condiments into her cart and in the blink of an eye, you sense that her entire life is turned upside down. Where can she put this, whatever it is? How can she hold it alone? What will she whisper to her unborn child to explain it? It’s dumbfounding.

I think that kind of passion might be more prevalent in a certain subset of people who aren’t risk averse, and it probably helps if you have a bit of an adventure-seeking gene. That profound human magnetism is palpable. And if the magnetic poles line up? It’s a cataclysm. For good or ill. Captured, I think, remarkably well in the two films above.

Here endeth the sermon. Now tell me your most passionate love or lust story. It’s the weekend, after all.

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