Monday, January 14, 2013

A precious glimpse – Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes

It was the occasion of her receiving the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Golden Globes ceremony.

In a superficial manner, it was also a circuitous route to coming out, but without the indignity of having to spell it out in the contemporary, politically correct terminology. But how else could it be? In thanking her friends, colleagues and family, she could hardly avoid mentioning her lifestyle, her personal family arrangements.

But to focus on the "coming out" aspect is to ignore the more personal, the truly courageous thing that she did in giving the gift of a precious glimpse into her real self, the very soul she has fought to protect. To protect from the predatory eyes of the audience, always so desperate to peek behind the curtain, never satisfied with the performance alone, never able to let the work speak for itself.

Without giving a name to something that is more a feeling than a relationship status, more an emotion than a category, she thanked those who are close to her for their role in shaping her career, and gave us a tantalising sense of her private life – something she has defiantly refused to do throughout her career.

She also called for privacy, but encouraged all of us to appreciate it as a special gift before it's lost altogether. And not just for movie stars, for all of society, so quick, so enthusiastic to share our every personal detail with the world.

She joked and kidded around, in an almost wacky manner, and humanised herself, opened her heart just a crack, rewarded us for the half century we have spent staring at her, wondering at her, speculating what she must really be like.

For once she seemed happy, no longer the tortured, hounded superstar, but one of us, a human being. A talented, rare type of human being with an uncommon, maybe unique style of life, but one of us. More than anything, she helped us to empathise and to understand her, as much as that is possible.

Her peers acknowledged her, and by extension we did, us the audience. And for those few fleeting minutes, she acknowledged us. Those were a precious few minutes.