Way back when, Meg Ryan was the light-hearted romantic lead. And she fitted it perfectly. Any RomCom that came out with her in it was an automatic “watch”. Well, that was the case for me and my circle of friends. And tucked in somewhere between the delightful You’ve Got Mail and Kate & Leopold was a more serious Proof of Life.
And you know what? She pulled off this role very well. I really enjoyed her out of that light-hearted stereotype we’d gotten to know her as.
Here she is Alice Bowman, living in South America with her husband Peter (David Morse), who is kidnapped by guerillas opposing the pipeline plan he is working on. Desperate to get him back, she hires negotiator Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe) to try secure Peter‘s release.
Having had some marital tensions leading up to the kidnapping, she is placed in a full stress situation of getting him back but at the same time spending many long hours with Terry. This stirs up some interesting situations. Which Meg Ryan pulls of so convincingly. What I enjoy about her role here is how she manages to pull us into her conflicting emotions of being the concerned wife but also feeling an attraction to the rescuer. And not once do we “see” her RomCom persona in Proof of Life as can tend to happen when actors focus on one type of role. This just shows how wonderful Meg Ryan was as an actress (“was” because I haven’t seen her in anything since Kate & Leopold).
That final scene always leaves me wondering how things would have turned out if circumstances had been different.
So, here’s to you Meg Ryan. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday for Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies‘ “The Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon”.