During a recent appearance on a chat show, Florence Pugh rued having her birthday fall on January 3rd. She complained how fresh off the New Year and Christmas fever, no one wants to party, get drunk or eat any more sinful food, spoiling all the fun for her birthday celebrations. At this, the host suggested that January 3rd should henceforth be celebrated as ‘Florence Pugh day’ and we could not agree more!
On her 28th birthday and the inaugural ‘FPD’, we bring you five films of the talented star that you must-watch:
Greta Gerwig’s predecessor to Barbie was a far superior film, called Little Women. Based on the seminal work of American author Louisa M Alcott, it starred Pugh as Amy March, the youngest and sassiest of the March sisters.
The film charted the stories of the March sisters as young girls in an America struck by the Civil War, to becoming women with their own share of social, personal and emotional journeys through the female experience.
As Amy, Pugh was wondrously convincing as a 12 year old. She threw a tantrum, tore her sister’s books in jealous rage, ogled at the neighbourhood boy, threw her feet on the ground with all the innocence and insufferable qualities of a child. On the flipside, she was equally stunning as a pragmatic young adult woman, teaching you the perks of a convenient, if loveless marriage.
Though she shared the screen and credits with the likes of Soairse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet, she towered over the both of them as the shiniest performance in a film sparkling with them.
It’s been years since I watched Midsommar and I still get regular flashbacks of Florence Pugh surrounded by women, howling her lungs out while splashed on the floor. Ari Aster’s very A24-esque horror film is also among the strangest, wildest to come out of Hollywood.
Midsommar shows a young woman who attends the fairly innocent on paper Midsommar festival in a distant village in Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends. The boyfriend is contemplating dumping her while she suffers far worse demons of her own. The horrors manifest themselves throughout their ‘holiday’, each worse than the one it follows.
While Ari Aster’s writing and direction makes the film a hypnotising albeit an uneasy watch, it is Florence who takes it beyond the realm of good to all time greats. Her screams are blood-curdling, her sinister smiles the most upsetting. She is frustrated at one moment and elated the next and you feel all of it with her.
Spanish filmmaker Sebastian Lelio’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue novel is stellar in every frame. From the gloomy hills of Irish Midlands to the darkest corners of a hut that houses a miracle. It is 1862, shortly after the brutal famine, and a nurse and a nun have been invited to a village to witness a little girl survive without eating for days.
While the nun is ready to believe what her eyes see, the nurse, played by Pugh, isn’t so trusting. Skeptical but kind, stern but caring, Pugh plays the role to a perfect pitch. She is our eyes and often times, also our mind through this story. We learn secrets with her and recoil from them just like her.
Don’t Worry Darling
Everyone seems to remember the never-ending backstage drama surrounding the press tour of this Olivia Wilde directorial. But lest one forgets, Don’t Worry Darling had a winning performance from Florence Pugh at the centre.
The actor played Alice, whose life in an idyllic midcentury-designed neighborhood with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) slowly begins to disintegrate. An egg turns out to be nothing but an empty shell. She finds herself trapped between the wall of her house and the window. Something is terribly amiss.
Despite the disjointed narrative, Pugh commands the scenes with a full-throttle and confrontational energy. The actor provides curiosity, anger and rage- grounding the mystery all along the way. Even if the film doesn’t know where its headed, Pugh more or less rescues it with her performance.
Florence Pugh gave a breakout central performance in William Oldroyd’s 2017 film, one that announced the arrival of a blazing new talent. Pugh plays Katherine, who has been married off to Alexander (Paul Hilton). She finds herself into a stifling Victorian domestic household, but her spirit refuses to be locked indoors.
Katherine begins an affair with one of her husband’s workers, and soon gets caught. From thereon, things take a twisted, darker turn. Pugh is mesmerizing to watch, her seething rage and cunning for survival offering momentum to the intoxicating narrative.