Miranda Richardson received her second Oscar nomination for playing Vivian Haigh-Wood in Tom and Viv.
Tom and Viv is a long, slow paced period piece, that has to be your taste in order to like it. It's the story of poet T.S. Eliot and his love affair with a mentally ill woman, Vivian Haigh-Wood. Again, the movie moves at a snail's pace. So, the best way to appreciate Miranda Richardson's performance is if you can get by her movie.
But boy, is this a boring performance. Vivian's so called "metal illness" is never seriously addressed in a big way, and her carefree attitude always comes off as painfully obvious acting. Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson have great chemistry together, and it's really the highlight of the movie. But, Dafoe outshines Richardson here, badly. His character gets to completely shine throughout and change and grow, but Vivien is always in the background, apparently struggling with a mental illness.
Although it is subtle and in a good way, it just didn't work for me. She moves through this slow movie with a bland undertone always present in her scenes. She's mentally ill, but the film doesn't ever try to explore or explain that. Even in the most shattering scene, she doesn't react well to it. Good chemistry with Willem Dafoe is pretty much the only compliment I can give to Miranda Richardson's performance. Too bad she didn't do anything more interesting or powerful with her character.