Keira ‘The Chin’ Knightley has become known for a specific type of acting (namely, not-acting). That’s kind of unfair. The woman does act – and actually acts quite well at times, despite what her fiercest critics say – but she doees tend to rely on a certain number of shortcuts.
You know the ones I mean. Almost all actors do it. George Clooney does this thing with his eyebrows, but because it’s not quite as noticeable, people don’t pick up on it.I’m being a little unfair here in that the picture (well, GIF) I’ve chosen to illustrate this post below is actually her doing something a little different. The chin thing there is purposeful – from “A Dangerous Method” – but it’s really not that much more extreme than the general way Knightley expresses frustration through her acting.
It’s partly not her fault. She’s been blessed with an amazing jaw and cheekbones, which are the envy of most. But when you blow up a face and project it on a 60ft-wide screen, things which are genetic advantages because really fucking annoying tics. And one of those is the way she likes to jut out her chin like it’s the prow of some Arctic icebreaker when she has to express frustration or strength in the face of overwhelming patriarchy. We get it Keira: you’re playing the put-upon woman.
It got so bad that directors are now asking her to tone down the whole chin thing. The director of “Anna Karenina”, Joe Wright, actually got quite dictatorial on set. When asked if he had issued a ban on Keira pushing her chin out by a newspaper, Wright replied “yeah, a little bit”, which we reckon is like saying Knightley sticks her jaw out only “a little bit”.
There is more though. Wright also forbade Knightley on the same set from pouting, because that’s another fucking annoying thing that she does in movies. In fact, the pouting is even more annoying than the chin thing because it’s so common. The problem is that if you got angry every time Knightley pouts in a film you’d be in a state of permanent apoplexy for 90 minutes. You have to overlook it, because otherwise you’d keel over from a heart attack by the time the opening credits rolled. It’s just the way her face hangs. Here’s Wright again:
Thing is, her lips naturally pout so the poor girl probably has to pull them in a bit. Just look at her there, pouting to her heart’s content. It’s like her mouth has been attacked by a swarm of bees and she is about to go into anaphylactic shock.
Another annoyance is the accent. Now, there’s not much you can do about your upbringing, but there is such a thing as trying to adapt to your role. In “Pirates of the Caribbean”, a cut glass English rose accent worked because her character was this young aristocrat’s daughter who was kidnapped by common-as-muck ragamuffins.
But in “Bend it Like Beckham” she was playing a down-and-out street girl who liked football. Posh totty accent didn’t do it for the role.
Having said all this, I still queue up to see her movies, and I still spend the time writing about her. Plus she’s rich as, and I’m stuck in relative penury, so I guess I’m the one with the problems – not her.