There is so little inference these days – a close election, an epidemic with a more ambiguous endpoint – that I have developed a deep appreciation for things that are reliably amazing like Mallomar and Beech Trees and Jessimine’s books.
Add Catherine Hahn’s face to this list. You did sexy peak TVs like “Bad Moms” and “We’re the Millers” like “I Love Dick.” It is an expressive, open face easily slipping into bizarre characters like Randi Bhabhi in “Step Brothers”. But Hahan is also in dramatic supporting roles, which removes the inner turmoil of those women.
Take from this scene Season 1 finale of “Transparent” (No. 12:04). Han, Raquil, plays the role of a gentle rabbi who falls in love with Josh (Jai Duplass), Ali’s brother, Gab Hoffman. According to a tradition, both women are covering mirrors on the head. “I couldn’t be happier,” Raquel smiled, her eyebrows up and earnest. But Ali is worried, so sorry.
“I mean, I’m not saying she’s a sex addict or a love addict,” Ali says of Josh. “I don’t know, maybe she’s a love addict.” Stumbling upon this new turn of words – Love Addict – satisfies Ali so much, he is unwilling to consider its implications for Rachel. But the camera switches to hain to tell us. There is a fragility on his face now, his eyes are covered in the inside.
Hanne gets 90 seconds to make us aware of Roy’s destruction, and has to do so while trying to hide from Ali. She quickly pulls off the task with her face, recording the subtle changes of confusion, shame, and hurt that only we, the audience, see.
This ability – to flash him our personal thoughts – keeps Hahn in company with some of my favorite actors, who most prominently displayed their skills in early supporting roles, making efficient use of their small screen time. . I’m thinking of John Cajale in “The Godfather” Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Boogie Nights”, “Vialla Davis” from Heaven, and “Brian Tyree Henry” in Atlanta. “Each of those performances felt like a hidden secret.
So as we ride uncertainty, there are three roles here – two minor, one lead – in which Hahan puts his remarkable face to effective, reliable use.
I first saw me in season 1 of “Girls” during a four-episode arc that asked me who That? She is introduced as a battered yet working mother who hired the young, beautiful Jessa (Jemima Kirke) as a babysitter. Hahn is a successful documentary – one can expect to become Jessica if she does not see aging as inherently sad. But in a later scene, Han’s wary smile reveals that she understands the insecurity that lies beneath Jessa’s cocks; He was also once. And this one look gives you the full story of his character.
The portrayal of an urbane, modern woman now in the role of Huron was compared to that of a 1950s housewife in “Revolutionary Road” (2008). There is a small part of Hahn, as Milky, who accompanies the charming Frank and April Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) along with her husband Shep (David Harbor).
In a film that mesmerises the subtext with sharpness – “We had another child to prove that the mistake was not there,” April later tells Frank – it’s a blessing that Han and Harbor, Ordinary Playing suburban, they are given some self-conscious lines and their parts are well left.
They are leaving Paris for Connecticut one evening after Wheeler’s announcement, with Shep and Millie alone in their bedroom, dressing in elegant, seemingly ironed pajamas. Shep is clearly suffering from April, so his movement here is logical. But why does Milli explode soon? Does she love Frank or April or his idea? “It’s nothing,” Shep said as Shep thought him bad.
Han ambiguously plays the scene, but one thing is clear: Millie wants to hide her suffering from her husband. Again, it seems as if Hahan is whispering this secret only to us.
By the time 2018 saw Hahan getting a messy, messy lead role in Tamanna Jenkins’ “Private Life”, she had become so adept at filling up with her performance that I felt I had given her the character’s 123 minutes of the film rather than her character Spent more time with It did not hurt that he starred alongside Paul Giamati, an equally incredible actor.
Both play the role of a middle-aged, artistic couple – Rachel, a writer; Richard, a former theater director – who is trying to have a baby by whatever means necessary. The film rapidly, and rather reliably, cycles through the rudiments of both adoption and assisted reproduction. Scenes with judicial social workers are seen alongside pornography in fertile clinics with shots of Richard.
“Private Life” is an aptly titled: Rachel and Richard doing the most intimate work – building a new life – in front of a herd of strangers. Richard is aware that a sperm count is zero in a recovery room filled with other IVF patients. A doctor suggests using an egg from a donor instead of Rachel, she is distraught, stormy outside, to argue with Richard on a busy New York City street. “I’m not putting anyone else’s body parts in my uterus,” she sighs as she spots a woman pushing a stroller.
Moving on to see that this time no effort has been made to contain her feelings, even a raw, knotty grief in the form of Rachel’s indignant spirals – neither the passersby benefits. Nor for Richard. Rachel has shared with him what Hahan has shared with us during the film.