“You’d better put on your running shoes if you don’t want to miss the best performance by an actress to be seen in any film released so far this year. It’s Glenda Jackson in “Stevie,” … about the late Stevie Smith, the gallant, original, profoundly witty English poet who died in 1971 at the age of 69. Stevie, in Miss Jackson’s splendid performance, is funny, fragile, demanding, suicidal, brave and never at a loss for the kind of words that light up the conventional world she clung to, even as those words turn the world upside down.
“The only hitch: “Stevie” opens today at the Thalia on a double bill with “Mr. Forbush and the Penguins” and will close tomorrow. Incredible….
“…. This “Stevie” is a knockout as a film that never for a minute attempts to disguise its theatrical roots. However, it uses those roots well. The camera italicizes a great stage perfomance. It also focuses our attention on the remarkable Stevie, whose poetry effectivey connected the suburbs to the stars.
“Miss Jackson has firmly established herself in the public conscioooousness as a fine comic actress … but not since “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” has she had a film role that so fully and efficiently utilizes the range of her intelligence and power as a dramatic actress. Watching her at work in “Stevie” is to see a special talent at the top of its form and to be aware of everthing we’ve been missing in the junk films … she’s been doing to earn a living.
“Whether or not Miss Jackson is physically like the real Stevie Smith, I’ve no idea. What’s more important is that she communicates the passion and rueful wisdom of a singular personality and illuminates the language by which that personality came to some kind of truce with the human condition….
“…. Stevie’s mind never lets anything be, and though she accepts “sensible” middle-class values, she never stops mocking them. “I am,” she concedes at one point, “an Anglican agnostic.”….
“Miss Jackson and Stevie’s poetry reveal the spirit inside the woman who avoided—and may well have afraid of—any kind of romantic commitments, preferring instead less demanding but, for her, more fulfilling friendships. In the way of all artists, Stevie is always standing outside herself, even when she is experiencing pain. “They said,” she tells us about her mother,” that she died in a minute. How long is a minute?”
The New York Times, June 19, 1981
[very tired; please review original]
“Much in the manner of someone of wit and spirit who finds herself at a dull party and, refusing to tolerate the company of boobs, leaves forthwith, trailing a few well-elocated rude words. Glenda Jackson swept in and out of New York last week in a two-day run of her heretofore-unseen-here 1978 film, “Stevie.” “Stevie” is certainly not a rude word, but the film, which is devoted exclusively to miss Jackson’s extraordinary performance, was a sudden, surprising reminder of how ineffectively have most of this year’s movies made use of a lot of talented women….
[must quit; keep falling asleep]