The long-winded backlash against Gwyneth Paltrow has been going on since around the time she first felt the need to invent a website called Goop. To compound matters, Paltrow is also the current spokeswoman for Coach, noticeably diminishing her chic factor. Paired with a number of lackluster movies in recent years, including Bounce and Thanks for Sharing, Paltrow is in desperate need of returning to the vulnerable edge of an iconic character like Margot Tenenbaum.
The aloof, distant nature of Royal Tenenbaum’s “adopted daughter” is played with precision by Paltrow, who often makes the mistake of playing characters that require a non-monotone personality. But, in truth, her greatest acting ability lies in being totally stoic. Even in roles where she’s been required to express a modicum of emotion (e.g. Shakespeare in Love), there has been something flagrantly disingenuous about it.
Moreover, Margot Tenenbaum’s illicit love affairs are in and of themselves a part of her character. Most of Paltrow’s other roles find her hopelessly and pathetically in love with one person (namely View From the Top, Sliding Doors and Country Strong).
Granted, Paltrow has had her share of memorable characters in a non-Margot Tenenbaum capacity, such as Marge Sherwood in The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hope Finch in Running With Scissors (both, incidentally, characters that were originally created in a literary form). But none of them–absolutely none of them–will ever hold as much cache. So until Wes Anderson sees fit to create another role for her (preferably in The Royal Tenenbaums 2), it would appear that this all we’ll really have when it comes to defending Paltrow’s honor.