Hi, just a few thoughts that have been in the back of my mind for a few years actually. What about those movies that were supposed to make a point, highlight a main character, but turned out to shift their focus onto a secondary one, sometimes because of the script, sometimes because of historical circumstances, sometimes because of the brilliant performance of the actor.
Grease by Randal Kleiser, 1978 (PG)
Betty Rizzo (Stockard Channing)
Olivia Newton-John was the perfect girl gone bad, pretty, cute, her journey would give her all the sympathy of the audience, but the edgy role of Betty, her sense of fashion, her issues being a woman who faces the complicated choice of having a child, her non-acceptance of the status-quot finally made her a universal figure, and in a way, her role didn't age compared to the other characters of Grease.
Girl: Interrupted by James Mangold, 1999 (R)
Lisa Rowe (Angelina Jolie)
Winona Ryder again is a cute victim of the system, but Angelina Jolie as the smart one who never fits in reminds far more of the impressive performance of Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and is the one that truly makes you question the system. She is also quite fascinating and manipulative, takes completely over the shot, while Ryder fades into the walls of the hospital, almost transparent.
The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan, 2008 (PG-13)
The Joker (Heath Ledger)
Christian Bale is at his second movie directed by Nolan, his character is established already, and somehow, as we know the hero, we get our attention towards the bad guy. And Batman always have really cool bad guys, but he exploded. And died, which by unfortunate circumstances did an amazing advertizing for himself and the movie, which got the attention at the awards. Interesting tragic turn of events.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen, 2008 (PG-13)
Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz)
Scarlett Johansson was quite the muse of Woody Allen at the time, being the protagonist of his two previous movies Match Point and Scoop. But in this one, first she had to face an actress on the rise Rebecca Hall, and most of all, the fire of Spanish actress Penelope Cruz at her best as an Almodovarian character. Her "Joder!" made me unanimous about considering her as a great actress, and her wild spirit completely overshadowed the two (too) plain American actresses.
Four Weddings and a Funeral by Mike Newell, 1994 (R)
Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas)
Andie MacDowell was the perfect American, supposedly politically incorrect for the high class society of England, I actually liked her a lot, with probably the help of Hugh Grant being so much in love with her, and us as an audience projecting. Never the less, the script for Kristin Scott Thomas was so good, funny and dark at the same time, that it was impossible not to notice her. And when she finally raised the veil on her actual emotion, she was so beautifully broken I felt it was sort of unfair she had such a minor role. I really believe she was making the movie, perhaps with John Hannah.
Albert Nobbs by Rodrigo García, 2011 (R)
Hubert (Janet McTeer)
Glenn Close's character was so stiff there was a need for a similar and opposite one that would shake her up. Janet McTeer did so well she became the woman that made a point in the movie. Hubert is the modernism, the forward-thinkingness (?) that needed that society, where women didn't have much of a chance to become rich without the help of a wealthy family. She is light and optimism, despite the sad turn of events, something to look up to. And still, now that the condition of women has changed and we don't need to hide as men to achieve higher goals, there is still in her character a normalization of love that most of our society hasn't accepted yet. Perhaps this character will remain for a long time an unconventional one, hopefully not too long tho.
Any more characters you thought stole the movie?