The miracle of Sissy Spacek – why it’s time to rediscover her genius
She stars in The Old Man & the Gun, but all the film’s publicity has been about Robert Redford. Anyone who hasn’t encountered her earlier performances is in for a treat
Troubling news just in of a well-known comic in his early 30s, who approached a friend of mine at a party and squinted at his T-shirt. “What does that say?” he asked. “S-I-S-S-Y S-P-A-C-E-K?” (It was one of those Girls on Tops-style affairs, with the name of a female actor or film-maker emblazoned in capital letters.) An explanation, including the words “Carrie” and “Badlands” and possibly “acting legend”, was forthcoming, but the baffled celebrity was none the wiser. Could it be that the miracle of Sissy Spacek has eluded an entire generation?
Spacek’s pace has admittedly slowed down in the past decade. Her last Oscar nomination was 16 years ago, for her performance as a grieving mother in the revenge drama In the Bedroom. She was a regular a few years back on Bloodline, a Netflix smash full of noirish foreboding and corkscrew twists, in which she played Mum to bad boy Ben Mendelsohn. And now she is in The Old Man & the Gun, AKA the Robert Redford Retirement Movie, where she shows off her flirting abilities, her translucent and infinitely freckled skin, and even one of her own off-screen catchphrases, “Keep on keepin’ on,” all the while seeming vaguely underused.