as Dian Fossey in GORILLAS IN THE MIST (1988)
Appalled by the poaching of the gorillas for their skins, hands, and heads, Dian Fossey, who devoted her life to the study of primates, complains to the Rwandan government, which dismisses her. She rejects this, and dedicates herself to saving the African Mountain gorilla from illegal poaching and likely extinction. To this end she forms and leads numerous anti-poaching patrols, and even burns down the poachers' villages and stages a mock execution of one of the offenders. Fossey is mysteriously murdered on December 26, 1985, in the bedroom of her cabin.
"You like this ring? You want to keep the hand this ring is on? If I see or hear or smell you anywhere near my gorillas, you'll be writing with your other hand and I'll have a new ashtray."
- Dian Fossey
Sigourney Weaver, received her second and last Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category, playing a woman who gives up everything to study primates, and dedicates her life to protect the gorillas. Many scenes in the movie are really hard to see, but they are necessary to
show the importance of Dian’s work in her life. Sigourney Weaver gives a deep, provocative, emotionally challenging performance, and through her acting, humanizes the woman she plays, and she allows us to have a lot of sympathy to her. We understand easily her work because we all know that what she does is right. The first hour of the movie is pretty weak, and the love story is not necessary or even interesting. The true beginning of the movie is the scene when she has to kill the deer, because he is trapped and hurt. In this particular scene, she’s outstanding. It’s at this moment that Sigourney shows us the determined and heroic side of her character. All the scenes when she tries to approach the gorillas are moving, sometimes funny, and always wonderful, and the scene when some of them are killed allows Sigourney to show all her rage, anger and despair. It’s a hard and liberating scene for an actor. The highlight of the movie is the little gorilla (Pucher), and all the scenes when Dian takes care of her are beautiful, but the scene when Pucher has to go, because she was sold, is probably the most moving moment of movie. All these events transform Dian. From the lovely woman who gives her life to the protection of gorillas, Sigourney completely transforms herself into the obsessed and hot-tempered Dian, and yet manages to give her an inner soulfulness and vulnerability. She embodies Dian with every fiber of her being. It is really a thrill to see an actor shone that much.
"Sigourney Weaver gives a towering, Oscar caliber performance in Michael Apted's biopic about courageous anthropologist Dian Fossey who devoted and risked her to save Africa's vanishing breed."
- Emmanuel Levy
Sigourney Weaver gives a tremendous performance. The film is pretty weak during its first hour, and seems more as a documentary, but the second is a real showcase for Sigourney. It’s not really a showy performance, but certainly a TERRIFIC one. Her acting is so subtle. Sigourney gives a knockout performance and would be a very deserving winner.