I don’t want to spend too much time on this, because it’s not really a category that I put much thought into. It’s not about the brilliance of the line (though sometimes, it helps). It has all to do with how an actor takes a few words and makes a character in those words only Some are funny, some are poignant, some are just weird. They’re also quite random. Here are ten line readings I remember vividly from the last year, in (more or less) ascending order.
“For goodness sakes, smile woman. People would think we’ve quarrelled” The Young Victoria (Rupert Friend)
“Jim wasn’t a substitute for anything, and there is no substitute for Jim anywhere.” A Single Man (Colin Firth)
“You are an f, star, star, cunt.” In the Loop (Peter Capaldi)
“You dare…disobey…your mother?” Coraline (Teri Hatcher)
“We die…unless you change.” The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Meryl Streep)
“You’re not a woman” An Education (Emma Thompson)
“Guido. Everybody knows about me. Why? Why won’t you let me near you?” Nine (Penelope Cruz)
“The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sense of water.” Bright Star (Ben Whishaw)
“You think to create is to forgive yourself in public. Fine. But don’t think I can forgive you in private, because I can’t. Ever.” Nine (Marion Cotillard)
“So you’re telling me to be bored, and then bored, and then finally bored again, only this time for the rest of my life.” An Education (Carey Mulligan)
Only ten are here, so remind me: which did I miss?