Dear Ralph Fiennes,

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If I ever have the pleasure to meet you, I promise to address you as “Rafe Fines”.

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You’ve said, “The process of making a film is a mad lottery. Whenever you get the feeling that you’re making something special, you have to quickly squash it because you are so often proved wrong.”

You have been nominated over fifty times in your film career but have never won an Oscar or Golden Globe. Your biggest accolade thus far is a Tony Award for Hamlet in 1995. Your villains in film have reached iconic status; your voice is as smooth and delicious as aged Scotch; your eyes and intellect entrance; and you have the breadth and depth on the same plateau as Daniel Day-Lewis. Here’s one top-ten list showcasing your talent:

Other personal favorites would include: The Duchess, The Invisible Women, and Grand Budapest Hotel. You do have your trademark expressions frozen in my mind.

The Pained Lover

Relationships are difficult, aren’t they? Especially when outside forces interfere with your all-consuming love. Who better than you to lament, mourn, suffocate, or repress your devotion for a lady on the screen?

The Powerful Boss

You ooze power and your haughty confidence makes anyone jump. I love your energy.

The intelligent, psychotic monster

Here’s where you shine. You are the epitome of Lucifer from Milton’s, Paradise Lost who  sermonizes, rationalizes, and justifies his case for descent. Ralph Fiennes, you’re not scary; you’re petrifying. How do you shed that horrible character and go back to Ralph Fiennes? When you wake up at 3:00a.m., and look into the mirror, I wonder what you think and who you see?

Daring, unexpected roles 

You have the ability to play diverse characters when you aren’t portraying the above archetype. Ralph, even with flops like The Avengers or Maid in Manhattan, I find you one of the more horrifying and stimulating actors working today.  As a director, I enjoyed The Invisible Women. I thought it a marvelous period piece. Looking forward to seeing you in Bond 24.

I remain faithfully,

Your Biggest Fan

33 thoughts on “Dear Ralph Fiennes,

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    1. Oh, he’s prolific, isn’t he? I love period pieces; there’s no other who supercedes his acting when he’s playing British canon. I really liked ‘The Invisible Woman’ and his performance in
      ‘Great Expectations’, too.

  1. Awesome letter, Cindy 🙂
    Love love love him! I used to watch a lot more of his movies when my dad was alive. Now, I’m not so much into these dramatic films as much. For me, the role that I first saw him in was The English Patient and it was just so awesome 🙂 A lot of catching up to do.

  2. He’s done a ton of good / great work. Gotta get his Oscar some day ????
    One of the first movies is saw him in was Strange Days (very well made movie) – sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. But the truth is that most of the movies he’s been in are re-watchable.

  3. As with the other commenters, I hadn’t realized how many films this great actor had made. Thanks for bringing his work to my attention and stimulating my curiosity.

      1. Oh, yes, I’ve watched “The English Patient” a number of times. I am unable to articulate why, but the “The English Patient” appeals to me on the same level as John Wayne’s “The Shootist” and Lee Marvin’s “Monte Walsh”.

        1. Great connection, Allen. I can see the parallels–dying with dignity, facing mortality and taking stock, explaining their hearts to those around who don’t really understand…Nice 🙂

    1. Yay! Welcome back Sheryl. I agree. I love the Bronte classic and imagined Heathcliff just as Ralph played him. Passionate is the word. Complexity. Forlorn. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. Nice tribute Cindy! Although I would have given Ralph the Oscar for The English Patient I can see why Geoffrey Rush won, but Schindler’s List is another matter entirely. No wonder it has often been described as the biggest Oscar snub in recent history.

  5. Hi, Cindy:

    Thanks for including a shout out for ‘The Avengers’. For someone who grew up with Patrick Macnee’s John Steed and Diana Rigg’s Mrs. Emma Peel. Mr. Fiennes made for a very serviceable update. Bowler, brolly and all. It was also a hoot to see Sean Connery as a kilt wearing bad guy! Uma Thurman was okay as Mrs. Peel. Though Kate Beckinsale would have inched her out.

    Fiennes Dolarhyde was also close. Though loses to Tom Noonan without the full back tattoo.
    Fantastic in ‘Quiz Show’, ‘Bruges’ and ‘Strange Days’. Superb underplaying of his character in ‘The Constant Gardener’. One of the better, later John leCarre tales. Right up there with Diane Keaton in ‘The Little Drummer Girl’.

    1. Hiya Kevin:
      Thanks for your insightful comments. I, too, enjoyed seeing Sean Connery as the villain against the spy. It had potential, The Avengers, and all the ingredients seemed perfect, but when stirred together, it lacked something special. I blame it on the script. I think Fiennes has found his supporting character and solid $ in the lucrative James Bond franchise. I shall miss M played by Judi Dench, however. I’m glad to see Fiennes playing a variety of roles–did you like Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ ? It was my favorite film of the year. The set designs, the actors, the dialogue, the script–like eating truffles for 2 hours.

      1. Hi, Cindy:

        ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ was a grand throwback to the rich, opulent, somewhat overblown costume comedies and dramas of the 1940s and 50s. Always in need of an omniscient, dapper, a bit foppish front desk man and concierge! 😀 Great catch with the truffles comparison!

        Having Mr. Fiennes as ‘M’ will be cool. Even better with some political jockeying and chicanery from another position. Dame Helen Mirren, perhaps? It’s my wish, and I’m keeping the thought going.

        Another great teaming would be with or opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. Just to savor their tenors, elocution and accents. Good guys. Bad guys. It doesn’t matter.

  6. I’ve got The Invisible Woman taped on my television and ready to go at a moment’s notice, although I kept passing over it because I’d not read or heard any reviews. As always, Cindy, your post is timely and serves me well. On top of everything else, you mentioned one other film I’ve not seen containing Mr. Fiennes work: Coriolanus. And now my curiosity is aroused. The hunt begins!

    1. Hi Shelley: I think you’d love The Invisible Woman. I love the beach shot scenes. He directed himself and was the PERFECT Charles Dickens. The entire cast was spot on. It is a beautiful, quiet period film. Now Coriolanus is much louder and militarish and fine watched in the right mood. For a Sunday evening, go with ‘The Invisible Woman.’ 😉

  7. Is there anything he can’t do? Wonderful piece. He was perfect in Harry Potter. I can’t think of anyone who would have played him better. Quiz Show is a delightful gem. In fact, you have reminded me of a line that I’ve always liked just as I was putting up a new post ha.

  8. Nice ode to a Fine actor like Fiennes. My 2 favourite roles of his would be from Schindler’s List and his triple role from Sunshine. I also like him in The Reader (not mentioned here).
    I liked your comparison of his to Lucifer from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, I had to study that long grueling, but beautiful, poem (not all 12 books), for my Bachelors, back in the late 90’s. Didn’t like it much back then, we were annoyed at a blind man making us go through such agony. Ha!! Thanks for reminding me.

    1. His pained face looking out the window is the only reference to ‘The Reader’; I thought he was great in it. The whole film was–especially Kate Winslet. Yes, never had to read the whole thing, either, but the fall of Lucifer and his power of persuasion and sympathetic personality has stayed with me for decades. Thank you, Nuwansen for commenting. 🙂

  9. Awesome post Cindy!! LOVE Ralph (and for the life of me, I have NO idea how it’s supposed to be pronounced!) He’s such a tremendous actor and more versatile than people think. I really need to see Quiz Show, sounds like something I’d enjoy. I don’t know which role would be my fave as he’s done so many good ones, but in terms of looks, he’s sooooo gorgeous in Strange Days w/ Angela Bassett, what a babe 😉

    1. Hi Ruth! Very happy for your visit. Here’ you go: Rayf Fines

      Yes, you would enjoy Robert Redford’s film, Quiz Show. Ugh! I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve not seen Strange Days. Katherine Bigelow directed and written by ex, Cameron? That’s one I’d like. Bassett is so beautiful and yes, he looks gorgeous. Thanks for that!

  10. How would it be to live next door to him, just raise your cup to him on a weekend morning while he walks in the yard. (presuming it is a short barrier fence, not a towering wall.) Chat with him over the hedge as an everyday neighbor.

    1. I like to imagine scenerios like this as well. Thanks, Dash, for commenting. I read how he and Niam Leeson are best buddies and pictures show warmth and big smiles. I’d rather think of him like that than presume he’s brooding and intolerant of small talk.

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