Padme Amidala is famous for both her role in trying to prevent the fall of the Republic and as Luke and Leia Skywalker’s mother.
It’s the fifteenth anniversary of Revenge of the Sith To honor this milestone, I set my screen savers to a collection of Star Wars prequel stills.
In watching them, I noticed something interesting about Padme — her often pensive stare.
On Natalie Portman’s Padme portrayal
Now I love me some Natalie Portman, the actress who portrayed Padme through the Star Wars prequel movies. Some viewers argue she did a horrible job acting in the films, having a one-note pensive expression almost all the time.
I write that off as George Lucas being more concerned with his toys than helping the actors through their performances. Nor did Lucas give the actors anything to work with in terms of dialogue.
As Harrison Ford famously said, “You can write [this dialogue] but you can’t say it.”
Padme put up with some dumb stuff
There’s also another factor in Portman’s performance that ties directly to the character of Padme. Imagine you’re the only sane person among a sea of incredibly naive or willfully stupid people.
Like you’re Rachel Maddow reporting on the Trump administration.
You have to sit and watch this trainwreck of a Palpatine administration undermine the Republic at every turn.
Worse, you watch as the Republic’s senators led by McConnell — er, Mas Amedda, willfully go along with Palpatine’s every nefarious whim as if some phantom menace (see what I did there) was behind it all.
Now dump on that shit storm your boyfriend-come-husband-come-baby-daddy. He’s the darling Jedi about whom even the Jedi worry. He flat out tells you he killed women and children.
What I’m saying is, if you had to deal with that level of bullshit — all of it from the men around you — you’d have a pensive stare most of the time too.
That stare saved lives
I noticed in my gallery, that’s pretty much every shot of Padme. Pensive stare after pensive stare. I have dual monitors. At one point, she pensively stared at her pensive stare!
So I want to give a shout-out to Padme and Ms. Portman. That pensive stare was the only way Padme could resist the urge to jump up and down and yell “What the fuck is wrong with you people?!” or shooting someone.
Thankfully, her daughter Leia got over her restraint and became one of those so-called “nasty women” who assert much-needed order over her male counterparts’ fuck ups.
Padme shows some hope
An aside: it wasn’t all pensive stares for Padme. There were a few happy moments too. But the weight of the falling Republic crushed the life out of those beautiful smiles.
Happy 15th, “Revenge of the Sith!”
All photos belong to Disney, Lucasfilm, and all those folks. Found them at allwallpapersfree.org so sue them, not me.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for Star Wars but want something new, check out my fanfiction! Here’s the opening crawl from the first episode!