Ellen Burstyn, known for her role in the original 1973 movie “The Exorcist,” has faced criticism from a religious studies expert regarding her return in the new movie, “The Exorcist: Believer.” In the original film, Burstyn’s character, Chris MacNeil, sought an exorcism for her possessed daughter.
In the new movie, MacNeil is questioned about her absence during the exorcism, to which she responds, “My opinion? Because I’m not a member of their damn patriarchy.” This line has sparked controversy and was criticized by a religious studies expert. Let us delve deeper.
Brief Spat on Twitter
On Twitter, Dr. Laura Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, expressed her concern about a line in “The Exorcist: Believer.” The line in question involves Chris MacNeil’s character and her remark about the patriarchy.
Dr. Robinson recognizes that the Catholic Church has patriarchal issues, but she believes this line weakens the original movie’s story and Chris’ connection to the exorcists who saved her daughter.
You can find Dr. Robinson’s thoughts in her Twitter thread. Makers of a movie should conduct research accordingly if they wish to remake a classic movie in the real sense.
Break With Character Explained
Dr. Robinson strongly criticizes the line, finding it quite upsetting. She suggests that the filmmakers might not have understood the original “Exorcist” and points out that Chris had an assertive role in the original film.
Since Chris wasn’t religious, she didn’t see Karras as an authority figure. Additionally, Karras was facing a crisis of faith and was emotionally vulnerable, making it unlikely for him to be formal with a friend like Chris.
Dr. Robinson also mentions that Chris wasn’t present during the medical tests and interviews with Regan for her own well-being and to allow doctors to work effectively. She emphasizes that no one forced this situation upon Chris.
A Cinematic Legend
In the past 50 years, Burstyn has received recognition for her performances in various movies. She played a disillusioned wife in “The Last Picture Show,” a mother dealing with a possessed child in “The Exorcist,” and a widowed waitress embarking on a journey with her son in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.”
In “Same Time, Next Year,” she portrayed a married woman meeting her lover annually. In “Resurrection,” she depicted a car crash survivor with healing abilities, and in “Requiem for a Dream,” she starred as a mother dealing with her son’s addiction.
How She Prepares?
In her 2006 memoir, “Lessons in Becoming Myself,” Burstyn reveals her unique approach to preparing for roles. She describes it as taking an elevator down to her inner archive.
Where she explores her memories to find what’s relevant for a character. When asked what specific memories she found for her role as Elizabeth, she refuses to share, stating that personal memories are like tools she can use in her acting.
She believes that if she shares them, they lose their power and effectiveness. So, she firmly decides not to answer that question, closing the elevator doors on the topic.
When Meloni asked Burstyn why she thinks her acting career has been so successful, she replied, “I don’t know, maybe because all the other actresses who could play these roles have passed away, and I’m the last one left who can play characters like great-grandmothers.”
She credits her career longevity and success to her commitment to being authentic and not pretending in her roles. She is indeed one of the finest actors still in business and can play a lot of roles that require aged actresses. Ellen Burstyn spouse were three in all, with Neil Burstyn being the last who had once abused her.
The Top 10 Films of Ellen Burstyn
- Alice Doesn’t Live In Here Anymore (1974)
- The Last Picture Show (1971)
- The Exorcist (1973)
- Same Time, Next Year (1978)
- Resurrection (1980)
- Requiem For A Dream (2000)
- Pieces of a Woman (2020)
- The King of Marvin Garden (1972)
- Harry and Tonto (1974)
- The Fountain (2006)
Her immense talents have ensured her a place in the Hollywood Hall of Fame for ages to come. Quite possibly she will also grace us with her elegant presence on screen in the future.