I do not get it. How does someone who's given some fine performances, who's never broken up someone else's marriage, gone on a racist tirade, spit on children, or murdered a puppy inspire so much ire? There is a strong anti-Anne movement out there, folks. I call them the Hatha-haters. It's one thing to not care for a performer, that's all fine and good, but the venom some direct at this particular actress is astounding. With The Dark Knight Rises coming to DVD/BluRay on Tuesday and Les Miserables hitting theaters in a few weeks, I thought it time to examine this phenomenon. Keep reading for the most-cited reasons I've heard for disliking Anne, and why I think she deserves more respect.
FIVE REASONS WHY THEY HATE HER
1. “SHE'S TOO PEPPY”
She's is peppy, it's true. But too peppy? I suppose whether you find her energy appealing or annoying is a matter of personal taste. I myself am an energetic optimist who has inadvertently irritated some people, so I can relate to her.
2. “SHE TRIES TOO HARD”
3. “SHE CAN'T SING”
As the Les Mis trailer has made the rounds, quite a few have commented that they don't like her voice.
4. “SHE LOOKS FUNNY”
Though my celebrity crush is actually Emily Blunt (my wife fancies Daniel Craig), Anne is nevertheless quite lovely.
5. “SHE PRETENDED TO BE WHOLESOME… BUT SHE'S NOT!”
This is one that I've heard occassionally in Latter-day Saint circles. We were introduced to Anne before the rest of the world, as she co-starred in The Other Side of Heaven, based on the true story about Elder John H. Groberg, who served a mission in Tonga for three years while his beloved Jean (Hathaway) awaited his return.
Of course, the Grobergs went on to become leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anne, along with costar Christopher Gorham, worked with them in bringing their story to the screen. In the next few years Hathaway found vast popularity among Mormons (and others) by starring in several family-friendly hits, including Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries films. To many, she projected a wholesome and chaste image that they and their daughters could admire.
As most actresses in Hollywood tend to do, Anne started taking more “mature” roles, whether to satisfy her own goals or to be taken more seriously, I don't know. After seeing risque DVD covers in video stores and “scandalous” movie trailers in theaters, some felt that Anne fell from grace, to the point that it felt like a personal betrayal. The parallels between the attitudes of some of us towards Hathaway and those of Fantine's coworkers towards her (in Les Miserables) are not lost on me.
Here's the thing: Anne wasn't raised in our culture, never shared our beliefs, and has her own worldview and values system. What's more, if she had been raised as a Latter-day Saint and left the fold, there'd likely be zero backlash, just as there's not any (that I've heard) against Keri Russell, Kathryn Heigl, Amy Adams, Aaron Eckhart, or Ryan Gosling.
Might I suggest that we take the Savior's advice to not judge and to focus on our own flaws and sins before we criticize those of others? None of us has the right to throw stones. Elder M. Russell Ballard taught that “We must not reserve our kindness and affection only for our fellow members. We must be sensitive and not oblivious to the feelings of those whose views may differ from ours. Considering the early history of the Church in these latter days, unkindness or indifference towards others should be abhorrent to members of the Church.”
President Gordon B. Hickley asked “Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can't all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (For a whole slew of doctrinal quotes about our attitudes towards those who don't share our faith, click here).
It's a gospel truth that a person doesn't have to share my values or beliefs for me to respect them or see the good in them. As President Hinckley taught: “Be respectful of the opinions and feelings of other people. Recognize their virtues; don't look for their faults. Look for their strengths and their virtues, and you will find strength and virtues that will be helpful in your own life.” This is as true for Hathaway as it is anyone, and it's helped me to not get hung up on silly notions of “betrayal.”
FIVE REASONS WHY I'M A FAN
1. SHE'S GENUINELY A DORK…AND DOESN'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK
From rapping on Conan to imitating Christian Bale's Batman voice at the MTV Movie Awards to going all-out when she co-hosted the Oscars, Anne has fun and does what makes her happy. She's got the confidence to do her own thing no matter what others say or do. I respect that.
2. SHE CAN SING…
…as evidenced by the following:
3. SHE'S VERSATILE
4. BEST CATWOMAN EVER
The actresses on the old TV show were fun, but campy and one-dimensional. Michelle Pfiefer is rightfully iconic, but so “out there” that she lacked any relatable humanity. I skipped Halle Berry's version, but it was universally derided. Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises, however, is a fully-formed, fascinating character. Sure, she has the requisite slink and physique to fill out the catsuit, but she also displayed layers of vulnerability beneath her confident tough-girl exterior. She was a street-savvy opportunist whose dormant conscience was awakened both by the consequences of her choices and by exposure to the unwavering altruism of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Anne nailed all the nuances and paradoxes; it was a terrific performance. Plus, she totally sold the fight sequences.
5. THAT LES MIS TEASER GIVES ME CHILLS EVERY TIME
When you're getting Oscar buzz from a 90-second teaser trailer alone, you're doing something right. I think she'll be the definitive Fantine.
What do you think, dear readers? Do I make valid points, or does Hathaway deserve the disdain? Let me know, comment below!