Happy (Early) Birthday, Meryl Streep! Which Meryl Scene Are You?

Meryl Streep is 64 on Saturday! Which Meryl movie scene defines your life?


Meryl Streep turns 64 on Saturday, and this means we’re granted another opportunity to reflect on her extraordinary, triple-Oscared career. She’s played so many roles (and so many types of roles) that it’s hard not to pick a few of Meryl’s roles as personal favorites. If you could define yourself with just one Meryl scene, what would it be? Think it over.

Believe it or not, I’m picking a scene from one of my least favorite Meryl films: Out of Africa. Just the driest, most sexless three hours ever, and Robert Redford’s bored performance is no help. Nonetheless, Karen Blixen’s encounter with a Kenyan cat is totally my scene.

First of all, Karen glances back at her whinnying stallion with a frustration that says, “You’re making stupid noises, and I don’t have to take it. You’re trying to embarrass me in front of all these trees.” Agreed, the horse is annoying. It skips away muttering, “Don’t listen to me…” and Karen — impossibly aware as she waves her binoculars around like a drunk tourist — spots a lion prowling towards her. Karen is angry because she is here for beige fashions, not mongrels. The creature comes forward with no respect for Karen’s windsor knot, and Karen does exactly what I would in this situation: assume a hot stranger will come and shoot it. “Do you have a gun?” she asks a monotone gentleman who wanders into frame, just out of her eyeshot. Yes, he does. But because he’s a pompous type of stranger, he doesn’t shoot the kitty and instead unleashes a monologue about serenity. Karen is understandably pissed and essentially calls him d*ckless right there on the grasslands. The cat trots away, and there Karen stands, the second most ridiculous Danish warrior of 1985. Red Sonja, you minx.

I just love the extreme safari couture, agitation, and Danish coldness on display here. I get it. I am it.

What’s your Meryl scene? Wish the woman a happy 64th birthday! That’s all.