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Sandra Bullock has been "sad and scared" in movies, too

Sandra Bullock's winning persona in her "Miss Congeniality" films and romantic comedies is that of a plucky gal who stumbles but ultimately get things right. In "The Blind Side," her ability to convey an indomitable nature, allied to her smarts and sensitivity, imbues the real-life story of a mother who takes on a giant new challenge with a fresh comic-dramatic charge.

Now Bullock has admitted that she's "sad and scared" about filing for divorce and raising her newly-adopted infant son as a single parent. In the days when stars played the same role all the time and studio publicists pressed their off-screen and on-screen lives into the same mold for the public, that confession might have jolted the front office and her fans.

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But Bullock's connection to her audience comes from her heart, not a set of a trademark moves. Even in the gimmicky romance "Lake House" (2006), as a woman who's known true love once and senses there's more out there somewhere, she uses her long, narrow features and mischievous, recessive gaze to express everything her character wants to feel and doesn't.

And she has peppered "off-type" parts into her resume. I am not an admirer of her work in that Oscar-winning message movie "Crash" (2004). But she is at her best in the misbegotten "Infamous" (2006), the "other" Truman Capote movie, bringing genuine regret and melancholy to the role of Capote's pal, Harper Lee.

As a homicide detective in the 2002 suspense film "Murder By Numbers" (above), she's a different kind of "girl next door" -- the kind who lives in a houseboat and gazes enigmatically into her beer -- and she is phenomenal. Sure, she wins laughs from the brassy way she confronts male chauvinists and the table-turning scenes in which she uses her new partner (Ben Chaplin) as a sex object. But she's amazing when she expresses the character's short-circuited emotions and warring instincts.

As an actor, she's already been full of surprises. What are your favorite Bullock performances, and what kind of roles do you want to see her in next?

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