Friday, March 18, 2011

Jodie Foster on Mel Gibson's sensitive humanity

Artists in general, and performing artists in particular, tend to define themselves by their emotions more than anything else. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, of course. But it can cause you to have a bit of trouble distinguishing between reality and fiction. (Come to think of it, that's what the craft of acting actually requires!) If you spend a lot of time in this world you can end up with a moral and ethical compass severely out of whack.

Here's a very minor illustration of this: Jodie Foster, the director and co-star of Mel Gibson's new movie The Beaver, had this to say about him at the premiere he didn't attend because he was at a police station: "I think anybody who comes to see the film and understands Mel's extraordinary performance in the movie can't go away untouched by his humanity."

She's also said she loves him and called him "beautiful" and "sensitive".

Obviously she wants to say something positive because she's got a flick to flog. But her gushing, loving description of Gibson seems more than a bit weird considering the circumstances.

She seems to be saying that we should go easy on him for what he's done because he's sensitive and talented enough to make people cry in a cinema. It's a more muted version of that nauseating defence of Roman Polanski, which was basically: "So what if he's a child-rapist who fled justice? He's talented, so they should all just leave him alone!"

Yes, Mel Gibson is sensitive. But sensitivity doesn't necessarily make you a good person. Sensitive people can also be major arseholes. He's also a very good actor. He was acting in The Beaver, but somehow I don't think he was during those explosive, disturbing rants against his ex-partner that so many people have heard.

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