12.21.14

The Playlist ranked on their website the 21 best performances in 2014, and they listed Jessica Chastain among them, under the #8.

8. Jessica Chastain – “A Most Violent Year”
The wife of the kingpin in a crime movie often feels like an afterthought or a nagging counterpoint to an antihero and inspired by Dick Cheney of all people, Jessica Chastain’s Anna in “A Most Violent Year” puts her would-be good-guy husband to shame. She’s a force of nature, threatening to do what her well-intentioned spouse can’t (or won’t) with a terrifying energy and a solid Brooklyn accent. She hands out goody bags and shoots a pistol with equal aplomb, and Chastain’s performance ensures that she’s never out of control, even while Oscar Isaac’s Abel feels events spiraling beyond his control. What’s most remarkable isn’t the performance itself; it’s that Anna falls alongside the variety of roles Chastain has taken on in 2014: the brittle title character in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby;” her strong, sensitive Murph in “Interstellar”; and her unhinged aristocrat in “Miss Julie.” Any one of those could have stood out in another year, and her prescence in all four makes us question what everyone else is doing with their talent and time.