Why Makes Meryl Streep So Special?

There’s something about Meryl Streep’s inhabiting of her roles, the way she enters them, assumes her character’s gait, voice, and mannerisms and makes a complex internal life tangible, that makes every performance enveloping—whether playing the unsympathetic wife in Kramer vs. Kramer, for which she won her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, or lovelorn on Lyme Regis’s famous Cobb, lashed by sea and rain, in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. She was conflicted and vulnerable in Sophie’s Choice (Oscar win number two, Lead Actress), carefree and dancing along cliffs in Mamma Mia, and terrifying and calculating in The Devil Wears Prada, where she makes her dragonish magazine boss character not just human, but also sympathetic.

However, audiences don’t just love Streep for her roles. Instead, it is her work and dedication to her craft the public and critics revel in.

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