My Awfully Strong Affection for Alan Rickman

by gillis

A tweet referring to Alan Rickman a few minutes ago got my quasi-obsession with him bubbling. It was Truly, Madly, Deeply, the movie with the rats and the ghosts, that first introduced me to Alan Rickman. I adored that film where he is the wonderful, but decidedly deceased, husband of the woman played by Juliet Stevens. He hovers, lingers, continues to court her after death so that she doesn’t move on with her life. Who the hell could blame her? She could either go about her crap, everyday existence without him and let him move on, or she could continue to spend time with ALAN RICKMAN. Alone with him in her home. That voice. Those eyes. Sure, it’s a melancholy film, but if you’ve never seen it, you should. It has Alan Rickman. Speaking in low tones for a long time. His voice- and the things he says- really lovely. My gawd I think I need to watch it again this weekend.

From there I watched many of his other films, even slogging through the hideous Die Hard, but the next movie of his that I loved was An Awfully Big Adventure. It’s a bit of tough movie in the end, but he is once again a beautiful presence on the film, which is inhabited by some unsavory sorts. When he discovers he is unwittingly the most unsavory of the lot, well he atones for this in a very Oedipal/Shakespearean manner. Have the tissues ready kids.

While I love the Harry Potter books and films, I don’t really count Rickman’s work as Snape among his performances that I love for their Rickmanesqueness. Snape is such a cartoonish character that I can’t see past the hair and cloak to recognize the Rickman in there. Except that his fabulous voice resonates with each wave of the wand.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Love, Actually where Alan Rickman’s character is not as noble or virtuous as I’d like him to be. Even with this, his nuanced, complicated rendering of a husband whose gaze is swayed by a shiny young thing doesn’t evoke total hatred for him. But really, stepping out on Emma Thompson? Not cool.

I think I would thoroughly enjoy listening to Alan Rickman read the local police blotter out loud. Or even the back of the hemorrhoid ointment package. Especially if he were reading it only to me, looking at me intently with those eyes.  Just keep the rats away…

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