Jaws – Indianapolis
What it lacks in historical accuracy makes up for in bone-chilling dialogue and a masterful performance from Robert Shaw as Quint. The writing’s vivid details evokes the horrific imagery in your head, and seeing it in your mind is far more powerful than if they had showed it on screen. What is so great about Robert Shaw’s performance is that it is so subtle. And he doesn’t tell the story as if he is trying to scare his audience, but almost as if it’s a joke. Treating it so lightly makes it even scarier. It’s powerful, it stays with you, and it paints the villain in a way that is much more horrifying than when finally see the shark. And I still think the Indianapolis event is begging for a film adaptation.
Requiem for a Dream – I’m Somebody Now
Requiem for a Dream is one of the most disturbing and intense films to watch, but you can’t help but look away. Ellen Burstyn’s monologue is one of the quieter moments in the film, but one of the most powerful. Sara Goldfarb has been desperately and relentlessly trying to look good for her appearance on an infomercial game show, she doesn’t even care if the diet pills are dangerous. And the worst of it is, you know no one else cares about this crappy television show. It hurts that she cares so much. The desperation is heartbreaking, but we finally hear her reasons why. When she tragically admits that she’s lonely and old, something everyone is afraid of…how did Ellen Burstyn not win the Oscar for this??
Scent of a Woman – I’ll Show You Out of Order
Al Pacino has tons of great speeches; most of them involve him shouting as loud as he can. You could take your pick from any of his filmography. (And Justice for All is also another one of my favorites) When Al Pacino won the Oscar for this, it was more because he was overdue for one. But I still think Lt. Col. Frank Slade is one of his best performances. The entire buildup of their relationship culminates to this moment. In a home run, this passionate speech about the meaning of integrity wins the case (how could you argue with him?) and ultimately the entire movie.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Black Gate
There are many great battle speeches, from Braveheart to Gladiator, but this quite inspiring. We’re nearly nine hours into the ending of this epic trilogy, the battle for Middle-Earth that has been waging for so long all stands on this moment. And Viggo Mortensen continues to be perfect in this part. Aragorn bids us to stand as men of the west, and gets us ready to kick some Orc ass.
Revolutionary Road – No One Forgets The Truth
I’m always shocked at how underrated the performances in this movie are. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet deliver what I consider to be their greatest work. They were both snubbed for Oscar noms. In this monologue, April Wheeler proves she isn’t going to be a Betty Draper-esque housewife who’s going to keep it quietly inside. Revolutionary Road explores the ideas of how suburban living in the 1950s was ideal on the outside, but held much more darkness on the inside. Kate Winslet gives a raw portrayal of April revealing what’s inside of her. And while it may not be pretty, at least it is truthful.
Blade Runner – Tears in the Rain
This is not a long monologue by any means. But this short and compelling speech is what ends the film, and it really stays with you. It is considered to be one of the most moving death scenes and soliloquy in film history. And amazingly so, the famous and poetic line was improvised by the actor Rutger Hauer! It is a powerful moment to hear such eloquent human ideas coming from the artificial replicant, a machine who experienced so many things, and is finally experiencing how fleeting life really is.
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner – You Don’t Own Me
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was made nearly fifty years ago, but it’s story of racial and family issues are timeless, and what still even face today. I think this monologue, delivered by the incredible Sidney Poitier, so truthfully speaks for parents and children everywhere. Parents want their children to lead a life they want for them, but parents need to let their children be themselves and go their own way. The wide gulf of a difference of generations can lead to so many misunderstandings, which not only affects inside the houses of families but entire countries.
A Time To Kill – Closing Argument
There are a lot of courtroom speeches, closing or opening arguments that I could choose from. But already all know about “You can’t handle the truth!”. In a Time to Kill, we see Matthew McConaughey do great work before he started his romcom career and that he didn’t continue until his latest McConaissance. The way he struggles before admitting that final powerful line, “now imagine she’s white.” And it’s awful that he even has to beg the jury to imagine that to begin with.
When Harry Met Sally – New Year’s Eve
When Harry Met Sally is hands down the most perfect romantic comedy. And this moment basically solidified my dream of having a young Billy Crystal show up on New Year’s for me. Harry and Sally have spent so long getting to know each other, their idiosyncrasies, fears, hopes and dreams. It’s a romantic and wonderful way to see each other start the rest of their lives together.
The Hours – I Choose Death
You could pick a monologue from any of the fantastic female performances in The Hours. Whether it’s Julianne Moore’s confession at the end or Meryl Streep’s breakdown in the kitchen. But I choose Nicole Kidman at the train station, where Virginia Woolf admits she does want to die, but she has a human right to do so and live the remainder of her life as she wishes. I’s an incredible portrayal of what it’s like to struggle with depression.
Words by Caroline
Collage by Chloe