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Streep [Paperback]

Iain Johnstone
1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 April 2009
The first biography of Meryl Streep for over 20 years! Considered by many movie reviewers to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 14 times, and has won it twice. Yet there has been no biography of her since 1985. Born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, Meryl s early performing ambitions leaned toward the opera. She became interested in acting while a student at Vassar and upon graduation she enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. She gave an outstanding performance in her first film role, Julia (1977), and the next year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in The Deer Hunter (1978). She went on to win the Academy Award for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie s Choice (1982), in which she gave a heart-wrenching portrayal of an inmate mother in a Nazi death camp. A perfectionist in her craft and meticulous and painstaking in her preparation for her roles, Meryl turned out a string of highly acclaimed performances . Her latest role is Donna in the film version of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! For this role she won the award of Best Female Performance at the National Movie Awards (UK), and has since received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. Iain Johnstone has interviewed Streep many times, filmed her at work on location in England and France and interviewed her at The National Film Theatre.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Psychology News (17 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907633803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907633808
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,187,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

1.7 out of 5 stars
1.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity! 5 May 2009
This book is a deep disappointment. You get the distinct feeling that this author suddenly woke up in the summer of 2008 (and the success of Mamma Mia!) to the fact that Meryl Streep was turning 60 in 2009 and what an opportunity to exploit financially. Indeed what a prospect: to look back on the first thirty years of an incredible career which continues to go from strength to strength would have been a marvellous occasion to look at a woman's personal and professional development and its impact on her acting as well as her choices of role and to look at this in the context of the evolving film industry

But no, we get a tedious and unnecessary description of the content of most films (then repeated at the back in the filmography) which is sometimes painfully inaccurate. My confidence in the author was further undermined for me by factual inaccuracy over dates and details - incidentally then contradicted in the more accurate filmography. For example the author has Streep auditioning for Kramer versus Kramer in 1974 before she graduated from Yale, a year in theatre, Julia, The Deer Hunter, The Seduction of Joe Tynan.

This might be nit picking but there is no excuse for such sloppiness and for me it just confirms the fact that this book was put together in a hurry. In most cases we did learn about the budget for each film and the fees paid to its stars .....hardly biographical details. We also hear about what the author knows about the directors/producers but this knowledge is rarely related to Streep.

There was little in the book that we did not know about Meryl Streep already because all quotes came from publicized interviews and film reviews( although sources never given). Two main sources appear to be two earlier biographies rather than any new material.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood Queen In Lese-Majeste Scandal 22 May 2009
By Raphael
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The merely Streep-friendly might find this an innocuous read, but Merylmaniacs will be cross, or bored. Mercifully, the text is brief- and would make an ideal accompaniment to a lavish portfolio of photographs,but exhaustive or ground-breaking it is not. And Mr Johnstone appears transfixed by Box Office Returns- as if audiences proactively avoid certain films that therefore do not make a mint,(though myriad factors cause this),and thus are Bad. Those pictures not to the author's taste are skimmed over or ignored.
The meeting of a Meryl-is-sixty deadline has resulted in slipshod work: elementary typos,(Lana Turner seems to have picked up the 'ell' that Sam Neill dropped), solecisms and errors,(Kevin Kline was directed in PIRATES OF PENZANCE on Broadway by Wilford, not Wilfred,Leach). Do we really need to be told that Cubiculo is Spanish for cubicle? The filmography uses
actors' names for those of the characters. Mr Johnstone also tends to tell us what, at certain moments, Ms Streep was thinking- an unhappy habit for a biographer.
The author's claim to fame is having interviewed the great lady at the National Film Theatre. In 1983. A lot of water has been passed since then,kid.
However, Mary Louise is a kind of latter-day Garbo: a passionate artiste with an industrial-strength core, and a dime to a donut she neither knows nor cares that there is a new scissors-and-paste job on her under the imprimatur of The Psychology News Press.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So far, I am not impressed... 8 May 2009
I must point out the fact that I have not yet actually read this book, I ordered it a few weeks ago and it arrived in the post yesterday.

I thought I would take a quick look at the pictures in the middle of the book (as I am saving the reading for my holiday next week)and when I came across the last picture - a family photo of the Gummer's, I noticed that the author had gotten two of the Gummer daughters mixed up. I found myself thinking "If he can't get the kids names the right way round then how many other mistakes has he made?"

I am still taking the book with me, and probably a pencil to circle all the mistakes, and I will update my review afterwards. I do not hold high hopes for this book though. I am a HUGE (and I really mean that) Meryl fan, so the mistakes will be very easy to spot.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good buy 18 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed. There were spelling errors in the text, the font size changed several times of its own volition and there were no photographs to accompany the text.
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