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Monday, October 26, 2020

In defence of Gwyneth Paltrow

James Murphy leaps to the defence of Gwyneth Paltrow

 

You’ve heard the news: Gwyneth Paltrow is ‘consciously uncoupling’ from Chris Martin. It’s only human to be interested. We are conditioned towards prurience. In the case of Gwyneth Paltrow, however, it’s personal, pernicious and pervasive. The poor woman has been hounded by a sinister reflection of our modern media machine.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow

It’s a nebulous trend: no ‘hand that holds the whip’ (to paraphrase Ian Fleming) but it has been a regular feature of many columnists’ work, to belittle Gwyneth Paltrow. A picture of the lovely Gwynnie would be pasted across the piece, thereby lending her likeness to an article taking a ‘who does she think she is?’ attitude. But there are many things to love about her. I felt compelled to race into defence, via a reminder of why she is a star.

 

Let’s not forget: Paltrow’s a highly respected actress. True, one does not hire Gwyneth Paltrow the character actress: she’s always ‘in’ there (voice/poise/eager finger wag and smiling or crying) but what’s interesting is that the movie star persona drives some emotional arc in the character’s situation.

 

Shakespeare in Love puts a human face on the repression of Elizabethan women (Paltrow won an Oscar for that). In Sylvia, she captured the paranoid pain of poetic souls. Hitchcock would have loved her in Perfect Murder (a remake of Dial M for Murder) and Jane Austen would approve of her take on Emma. Robert Downey Jr. might be the star of the Marvel universe movies as Stark/Iron Man; but his work is enhanced in every scene he shares with Paltrow’s Pepper Potts.

 

Downey himself has acknowledged Paltrow’s power; her support in his first steps as a movie super hero proving invaluable to rebuilding his confidence (like all great men, he’d suffered a wilderness period). She has a pastoral conscience and a sense of mission and that extends beyond film and into food and lifestyle with her cookbooks and a helpful weekly online magazine of tips called Goop.

 

I’ve read two of her cookbooks. One can see how they’d incense the kind of writers who take pride in being ‘ordinary’. Paltrow’s writing style can be gauche and naïve. “If you cannot make it to the gourmet health food store” and things to do with ‘quinoa’ did make me chuckle; as did the revelation that her children love “popcorn camerooni” (I suspect that’s popcorn, as a treat, served by the slightly naughtier and funnier Cameron Diaz?).

 

But the fact is that many of the dietary discoveries work wonders (trust me; I tried them) and there is no doubting Paltrow’s sincerity. She genuinely feels an obligation to raise a family with the very best of one’s efforts and resources. Her own means and monies might well exceed the ‘average’ but then, surely it is that very raising of our aspirations through which movie stardom is defined? In my view, Gwyneth Paltrow is a movie star in the classic sense.

 

If writers explored Planet Paltrow in just a little more detail, they’d find a fragile, decent and vulnerable woman. She loved her father (Bruce Paltrow, the director) deeply and still misses him; she’s striving to do the best for her own children in turn (hence the ‘uncoupling’: removing any tension from a household). In that sense, Gwyneth Paltrow is not so different from you or me. She just happens to be blighted by beauty, talent and an over-earnest determination to do the right thing.

 

James Murphy is a graduate of New College, Oxford and the University of Law. He is currently working on a screenplay.

 

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. She is very different to me, if you don’t mind: she is an irritating, publicity lusting mummer.
    What a folly of an article. And everybody seems to be ‘working on a screenplay’.
    Doubtless Mr Murphy hopes that his cloyingly sycophantic nonsense will endear him to ‘Gwynnie’ and provide an entree into the film world. Maybe his film will be ‘How to prostitute your way into Hollywood’

  2. He breakthrough came when she auditioned for Harvey Weinstein, she has consciously uncoupled many times since. It is show business talk. Showmances are all over place.

  3. Fair comment, however, the dignified lady has already declared herself available on the dating circuit. In Hollywood it is common knowledge to insiders in the industry that she is a product of Harvey Weinstein’s legendary casting couch. These rumours are not new, they have been circulating for many years. In all fairness they maybe rumours, but these rumours come from many different sources.

  4. Beautifully put , we are all too quick to judge and mock with throw away comments people in the public eye.
    I am quite sure if celebrity’s where our next door neighbours we would not dream of verbally bashing them for the slightest thing for fear of bumping into them in the street.
    And I find it all so very telling that there is so little mention of a certain saintly mr Martin …. After all it takes two to “un-couple”

  5. Mr Martin is not unloading a pile of shit on us, he is quiet and don’t seem to want to gain any publicity out of this unfortunate event. People in the so called public eye are very well compensated and should be durable enough to take it on the chin. I doubt my neighbours will ever make such a pathetic and ridiculous statement of consciously uncoupling, especially if there is minor children involved. They are real people, living in a real world.

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