Here's how you know Darren Aronofsky is a lunatic.
In his new film, “Noah,” Jennifer Connelly survives the end of the world and has to listen as thousands of people die outside, and then still has to face the possibility of more death and horror even after that, and she still gets off lighter than she did in her last collaboration with the director.
Connelly's career has been distinguished by her affinity for dark subject matter, and she's not one to run from trauma on film. It makes it strange as someone who enjoys her work. It's hard to “enjoy” watching her suffer in film after film, even if she does it quite well.
I'll say this for her, though… she strikes me as someone who cares deeply about what they do, and when you ask her to dig deeper for a conversation, she's more than happy to do so. I'm not sure she was built for the vapid romantic comedy world, so maybe she's happy making these grim, difficult movies about some of the harder corners of human experience. I suspect that she was so objectified so completely early on in her career that she specifically searches out scripts that are the opposite of overtly sexy. She also projects this very serious quality that she has trouble shaking even in the few lighter roles that she's played.
In “Noah,” she's playing one of the many characters that had to be fleshed out by Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel, and there's no easy research to be done to play a part like this. She does a nice job of giving a human voice to the moral conflict that Noah faces in the film's final third, and I like that she never once considers that he's right. She is the argument the film makes for innate morality instead of simply following the word of the Creator no matter what, and I'm impressed that Aronofsky worked so many points of view into his film. That complexity is what makes this such an unusual approach to telling a Bible story.
It's always a pleasure to talk to Connelly, and doubly so when she's got something she's excited to discuss.
“Noah” opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow.