Lovely Laura Linney / CC BY-SA 2.0

This hagiographic profile of Laura Linney really doesn’t say much that devotees of her work don’t already know: she is phenomenal and we love her. But one point I wish Patricia Cohen, the author, had made is that Linney is often very good at elevating the trash she’s in. Take Love, Actually, which pushes many of my most sentimental buttons, but which I am perfectly capable of admitting is doofy and even sometimes deeply problematic. But there is absolutely nothing corny about watching Linney’s character, who cares for her seriously mentally ill brother, sabotage her chance at a relationship with a coworker she has been in love with for years. It’s not about her doing something stupid, or goofy. It’s not a portrayal of a beautiful woman having a totally implausible problem. It’s that her character is literally unable to choose something for herself, no matter how much she wants it, over her caretaker role. Her character, even as part of a massive ensemble, is enough of a human being for the scene to be entirely believable. It’s shattering, and I don’t know who else could portray it the way Linney does.