Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman, RIP

Alan Rickman's voice could make a reading of the phone book sound like Shakespeare. But poetry from his lips, was sheer heaven. This scene in the classic Sense And Sensibility gets me every single time.

He is reading from a segment of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, and that section has so much more poignancy today after Rickman's passing, especially the last two stanzas:

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
Book V Canto II stanza 39

Of things unseene how canst thou deeme aright,
Then answered the righteous Artegall ,
Sith thou misdeem'st so much of things in sight?
What though the sea with waves continuall
Doe eate the earth, it is no more at all:
Ne is the earth the lesse, or loseth ought,
For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide unto an other brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.

It is so irrational to feel this morose over the loss of a man I have never met, but I have loved Alan Rickman since the moment I first saw him on screen, in Die Hard, playing a German villain so well that I could not believe he wasn't German.  His accent was flawless, and his sociopathic portrayal was seamlessly done.

I was spellbound every time he was onscreen after that.  He was, quite simply, mesmerizing.

Even in films that were the absolute worst, I would continue watching just to get to the next glimpse of Alan Rickman on the screen.  His Sheriff of Nottingham in the excruciatingly bad Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves was so well done, that I am forced to watch that movie every time it pops up on television just to see his scenes.  He is magnificent in the film, even when his lines are inexorably awful.

For Rickman at his best, do try him out as Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply.  He is a genius.

Or as Colonel Brandon in Sense And Sensibility, a role which put him permanently on my "celebrity with whom I would most like to have dinner" list.

Or as Alexander Dane, the great actor of renown fallen low into campy sic-fi convention purgatory, in the wonderful Galaxy Quest.  We were talking just this morning about how amazing it was that Alan Rickman could deliver a line as absurd as "by Grabthar's Hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged" to an actor in silvery skin make-up and make you want to sob out loud every single time.  But he does.

Or as Steven Spurrier in Bottle Shock.  Just watch the scene with Alan Rickman and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, alone in his car and tell me the man wasn't a genius.  Every time he and Chris Pine are on screen together, I want the scene to just go on and on and on.

Or as the male lead in a little made-for-television drama, with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman carrying the entire piece, called The Song of Lunch. If you haven't seen it, do so. Soon. It is wonderfully poignant and revelatory.

To an entire generation, he will, of course, forever be known as Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.  That the news of his death would be announced on the same day that the Oscar nominations were announced is a painful reminder of how much Alan Rickman was robbed in 2011.  I am still angry at the Oscar snub for his portrayal of Snape at the end of the films.

You know how you make that list of "celebrity you'd most like to invite to your house for dinner?"  Alan Rickman has been my celebrity pick my entire life since I was in college 80-bazillion years ago.  I have loved his work for so long, and now he is gone.  My brain cannot process it this morning, and I am sitting here in a numb stupor.  Over someone I never even got to meet in person.

I cannot imagine how difficult this is for his family and friends, and all of the marvelous actors with whom he worked over his long and glorious career.  My heart goes out to them all, for my grief over his passing is like a raw wound, worse than when we lost Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and that is saying something.  It must be so, so much worse for all of his family and friends, and I send love out from our house and comfort, but that seems so measly given what he has given to me with his brilliance through years and years of his mesmerizing presence onscreen.

As I sit here, this keeps running like a tape on repeat through my head:  Alan Rickman has passed away.  How long have I loved his work, his subtlety, his mastery of voice, his ability to convey amazing depth and nuance at a glance?  Always.

I could go on and on, but I have already said enough.  He was a genius, his talent was boundless, his voice a miracle.  Alan Rickman will be terribly, terribly missed.

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