10 August 2011

How Jennifer Garner (and Sydney Bristow) rock

I just wanted to express my admiration and love for Sydney Bristow, the lead character of the TV show Alias and Jennifer Garner who plays her.

In the Season 1 finale, I remember distinctly a couple emotional scenes where Garner really brought it. The scene with Will at the CIA safehouse: the way she looks at Will with heartfelt disappointment while leaning against the door. The scene where she begs Dixon to believe she is not betraying her country. These performances made me adore Sydney as a character. Some reporter described Garner's performance as "the spy next door." No wonder Will is madly in love with Syd. Wouldn't you want a woman who is so committed and good at her job, who is courageous and upstanding, and who is so sweet and caring to her friends? (Not to mention Garner's one-in-a-million smile, which is the most amazingly sweet and genuine smile I've ever seen.)

I've always thought Sydney Bristow (at least in the first season) is a showcase for a female actress. Jennifer Garner showed incredible range: vulnerability in scenes with her father/Vaughn/etc, professionalism and coolness in her spy work, being the empathetic, caring friend to Will/Francie/Emily. I loved how the show would frequently have Syd switch tone in the same scene, juxtaposing the spy life with everyday life. I laughed a few times when Sydney would be with her friends and would briefly snap into spy mode, e.g. when they are playing poker together and Syd tells everyone in a cold, professional tone that Will always bluffs when he raises.

I wish there were more female leading roles like Sydney and actresses like Garner to play them. I think someone commented that Garner hasn't done anything fantastic since Alias; my response is that's because there are hardly any great roles for actresses out there.

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