I have loved Australian actress Toni Collette ever since one of the most important of movies was released way back in 1994:
That’s right, Muriel’s Wedding! As I followed her career, I was blown away by her acting talent in so many films, but most especially as a woman with multiple personalities in the TV series The United States of Tara. As Ms. Collette is playing a major role in the recently-released neo-noir, late-1930s set Nightmare Alley, it seemed like a great time to look at her historical roles.
The Efficiency Expert (1991)
Per IMDB, “An expert on productivity shows wacky workers in 1966 Australia how to run their moccasin factory.” Yes, I’m padding here!
Collette plays Harriet Smith, protégé of the titular Emma, in the Gwyneth Paltrow version of the Jane Austen novel. I get annoyed that they try to make her dumpy, but she does great things with the role.
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
I think Trystan and Sarah will hurt me when they realize I’ve never seen this movie about 1970s glam rockers, but even I know that Sandy Powell’s costume designs are great. Collette plays one the musicians’ wives, and I have a feeling she’s a Big Character.
The Hours (2002)
Three different generations of women are connected by a Virginia Woolf novel. Collette is in the 1950s section.
She plays real-life Peggy Robertson, script supervisor and personal assistant to film director Alfred Hitchcock, in this film about Hitchcock’s relationship with his wife during the filming of Psycho.
Jasper Jones (2017)
An “Australian murder mystery” set in the 1960s.
Nightmare Alley (2021)
A “neo-noir psychological thriller” set in the late 1930s/early 1940s and centered around a carnival. Collette plays a clairvoyant named Zeena, which sounds amazing.
Which is your favorite of Toni Collette’s historical roles?