Cinema

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The Independent Culture
Susan Abigail Sarandon's career has been strange and difficult and contradictory; the sort of thing critics would be dismissing as 'interesting' if the actress hadn't suddenly become a name Hollywood could bill over the title - see her blazing star turn as the ex-alcoholic lawyer in The Client.

Squinting, you can half see Hollywood's point. Here's someone who got into movies because she accompanied her then husband, Chris, to an audition and the producers liked her more than him. Here's someone who first attracted attention as Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Here's someone whom critics thought was too mannered (The Other Side of Midnight), too disposable (King of the Gypsies) and too eccentric (Tempest) to be anything more than a second stringer like, say, Carol Kane - an also-ran to those Seventies divas, Shirley Maclaine and Jane Fonda.

Now Jane's retired to spend more time with her implants, Shirley has become a nightmare caricature and Susan (above) has ambushed received opinion: Pretty Baby, Atlantic City, Bull Durham, White Palace, Thelma and Louise and Lorenzo's Oil all bear witness to a talent finding its voice - and the voice is informed, political and (surprise, surprise) feminist. Indeed, it's hard not to see Sarandon's hard-won, belated success as being less about bad choices and more about a woman struggling out of the bimbo straitjacket to find her mature self - the crux of Bull Durham, White Palace and Thelma and Louise. In The Client the process is completed: at 47, Susan Sarandon is found - she takes a simple commercial entertainment and transforms it into a commentary on Everywoman's choices. . . And she's never been better, brainier or more beautiful.

(Photograph omitted)

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