Anne Heches was raped by her Baptist choir director father, who later died of HIV/AIDS at the age of 13. Both of them refuted Anne's allegations of abuse in her memoir Call Me Crazy, which was published in 2006, and her subsequent marriage to a man became tabloid fodder in our culture, which has never been open to ridicule for her achievements.
Heche was discovered wandering around Fresno, confused and rambling about needing to meet a spaceship that would take her away from this world. I thought it was a culmination of a journey and a world that I needed to escape to in order to find love. Really, what we wanted to do to people like Heche, like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, was to see them punished for the sins of being what? For seeking acceptance and love?
I remember when she went on 20/20 to talk to Barbara Walters about her childhood, her addictions, and her mental illness. I believe that there must be something else, somewhere else, a better childhood than you have, and a safe place to hide when the trauma gets too much on your own.
Anne Heche was a magnetic figure on screen, and she should have been a much larger star than she was permitted to be. She drew a lot of the same roles as Arthur used to, mostly as a woman trying to find a life that was meaningful enough for her. She is fully alive, present, and never too far from the characters she played. In Nicole Holofcenters exceptional Walking and Talking, Heche plays Laura, a fledgeling therapist who is starting to sabotage her
At various points in the film, Laura apologizes for her outspokenness in many situations. (Catherine Keener) Watch how Laura immediately offers to pay for her ailing cat's treatment. Shes not admitting she's wrong, just instantly aware of how the situation requires her to display support and compassion rather than pragmatism.
Amelia holds Laura while she floats on her back in the middle of a lake to calm her nerves on her wedding day. She asks her friend if she wants a turn being held, and Amelia refuses because Laura is the one who needs to be held. It's the job of friends to know this.
Heche plays Alex, a high-powered banker by day who is encouraged by her pimp boss to sleep with her clients, and a high-priced hooker by night who becomes the lover of money-launderer Bruno (Christopher Walken) in Donald Cammells little-seen erotic thriller Wild Side. Sheche is the film's most interesting story, given the opportunity to be inspired by Jean Arthur's A Lady Takes a Chance.
She was so close to filming in 1997 that it felt like she was everywhere. She is astonishing as long-suffering undercover FBI agents wife Maggie in Mike Newells elegiac Donnie Brasco explaining that the house is empty over Christmas because she sent the kids away to be alone. She is shattered by fear and doubt about her ability to continue to live her normal life.
Donnie Brasco was revealed two months after she appeared on the cover of Time magazine as the first out star of a major U.S. situation comedy. She chose Ellen anyway because she was so awed by it that she couldn't be photographed at the afterparty with the woman she loved. She now lives as an adulterer in the place of sexual deviant and liberal debauchery.
Heche is superb in the very bad Volcano as volcanologist Dr. Barnes, thrown in a lions spit with Tommy Lee Jones, Don Cheadle, and John Carroll Lynch. She kills it. Shes astonishingly clever and shes never able to hide it so, naturally, she is blinding when cast as someone who is not only smart, but in a profession where she has to learn to be particularly sharp in order to be heard.
Anne Heche, who fought off the bullied cast in Wag the Dog in the 1990s, is a charming foil who appears as the film's narrator.
She was an absolute force of nature, but she was no match for the prejudices of our culture, which saw in all of her strengths and weaknesses; she was a mesmerizing performer who was the perfect fit to play Janet Leighs Marion Crane in the Gus Van Sants Psycho reboot. She was the antidote to Julia Roberts' emetic likeability and Sandra Bullocks everywoman approachability, so when the culture got the chance to take her down, it took her down strongly.
Anne Heches' meager love affair with Ellen DeGeneres should have aided her in establishing herself in the high-tech romcom genre, too, as she goes on to marry a nebbish stranger. Three years later, Meg Ryans relationship with Russell Crowe took over that film's conversation, with the queen of American gentile figuring out that no woman in the United States would be destroyed by proof of their humanity.
She went to supporting roles then, and she did it again and again. In the end, she confesses to a moment of weakness and reminds me of Hedrens Melanie Daniels.
Anne Heche was the reason all hell began to open up, and it's because she chooses at a critical moment to betray her own power, to conceal her knowledge, and to choose to maintain the status quo when her brand is in jeopardy. Many on the internet are quick to lash out at her for her shortcomings that led her to this position. Yes, she could have killed someone in the process of killing herself, but she didnt.
Walter Chaw is the senior film critic for filmfreakcentral.net. His book on Walter Hill, with an introduction by James Ellroy, is now available for pre-order. His monograph for the 1988 film MIRACLE MILE is now available.