For years I have suspected that Angelina Jolie is more than just beautiful, intriguing, globe trotting, blood wearing fodder for hungry paparazzi. In my heart of hearts I have always believed her to be a good actress; however I could never call forth a movie to prove it. Tomb Raider, Beyond Borders, Hackers, the terrible one with the almost Tammy Faye worthy blond wig, or how about that gem thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s title is so well fitted, Original Sin. You may be saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“What about Gia and Girl Interrupted?Ã¢â‚¬Â, but truth be told when someone appears to be living like a crazy recluse, it's just not that much of a stretch to see them do it on screen. Don't get me wrong, they were good performances, just not great.
A Mighty Heart is truly great. Jolie is so utterly convincing as journalist Marianne Pearl, the widow of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl, that much of the movie either left me in tears or with knots twisting in my gut. The story takes place when Marianne and Daniel Pearl are living and working in Karachi Pakistan. One fateful day Daniel leaves to go on an interview with Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, but ends up instead kidnapped by the militant group, The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. The movie has a bleak and dark undertone that from the beginning enables even those unfamiliar with the true life story of Daniel Pearl, to know the ill fate that awaits him. While Marianne is forced to rely on corrupt politicians and unwilling informants to try and find her husband, she also has an intense support system of friends, fellow journalists, and the local police. Ifran Khan (The Namesake) gives an amazing performance as the police captain who has a quiet yet powerful sympathy for Pearls plight.
The constant of this movie which keeps it watchable and even enjoyable is the JolieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s portrayal of the fierce Marianne. Jolie delivers a woman of strength, determination, with a love for her husband that is nothing short of moving. Michael WinterbottomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (Welcome to Sarajevo) direction brings the film a documentary style that at times can draw one into the painfully miserable yet also gives some very reflective calm moments that shed light on this sad gorgeous love story. It is however Angelina Jolie who truly owns this incredibly beautiful and respectful portrayal of Marianne Pearl that is a must see.