Those who have lost a sister, a daughter, a spouse, a mother to a sudden, stupid and incomprehensible accident have an understanding of their profound grief.
My impression of Natasha Richardson was based on performances that she perfected and that I watched, reviews or short news items that I read. For example, this piece about her role in The Handmaid's Tale.
Natasha Richardson was never afraid to speak her mind.
And it was in defence of a revered Canadian writer that she first showed her capacity for bluntness. ... Natasha Richardson could have been more circumspect about The Handmaid's Tale, given the fact that it represented a huge career opportunity, but that wasn't in her nature. ... She saw both novel and film as an important cautionary tale. She strode unrepentantly into a minefield when she cited her reasons for applauding a screen version - the rise of fundamentalism in the American South, the constant threats of censorship in so-called democratic countries, the continuing abortion debate, the lesson of Nazi Germany. And she was proud of the fact that this was a project proceeding from a firm feminist perspective.
But she also made it clear that her loyalty was to Canada's Margaret Atwood, rather than the movie, and she took delight in chastising the big Hollywood studios which had refused to finance a feminist-oriented story that was clearly set in a United States taken over by right-wing fundamentalist fanatics - a country where the few remaining fertile women were required to act as surrogate mothers or ``handmaids'' to the ruling male elite.
It was her concern for the integrity of Atwood's novel which led to her bold criticism of Pinter's screenplay. ... Richardson recognized early on the difficulties in making a film out of a book which was ``so much a one-woman interior monologue'' and with the challenge of playing a woman unable to convey her feelings to the world about her, but who must make them evident to the audience watching the movie. She thought the passages of voice-over narration in the original screenplay would solve the problem, but then Pinter changed his mind and Richardson felt she had been cast adrift. ...
"Harold Pinter has something specific against voice-overs,'' she said angrily 19 years ago. "Speaking as a member of an audience, I've seen voice- over and narration work very well in films a number of times, and I think it would have been helpful had it been there for The Handmaid's Tale. After all its HER story.''
In the end director Volker Schlondorff sided with Richardson. ... "As far as I was concerned, at the risk of offending Harold, the book was my bible.''