Thursday, June 20, 2013

“It Feels Like We Lost a Guy We Knew”

In a piece today for Flavorwire, Jason Bailey muses on why TV and film watchers so appreciated actor James Gandolfini, the star of The Sopranos, who died yesterday at age 51.
It doesn’t feel like we lost an actor we liked; it feels like we lost a guy we knew. That personal connection isn’t just what makes his death so unfortunate--it’s part of what made him such a great actor to begin with.

The key to the relatability that defined James Gandolfini was his vulnerability. The entire premise of the character of Tony Soprano--the prism through which most viewers got to know the actor--was that he wasn’t just the hard-nosed, cold-hearted crime boss familiar from gangster fiction. He was also a regular guy with real problems: a prickly relationship with his mother, a complicated dynamic with his strong-willed wife, uncertainty about how to communicate with his kids, and what kind of figure he wanted to be in their lives.
The Sopranos showed us the Tony that those in his orbit saw, roaring around the house, busting his underlings’ balls, sneaking and whoring and lying and bruising. But it also allowed us to observe his private moments, alone and in the therapists’ chair, in which the burden of those acts weighed heavily upon him.
You’ll find the whole Flavorwire piece here.

READ MORE: James Gandolfini Dies: A Look at Tony Soprano’s Best Scenes,” by

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