Meryl Streep has enjoyed a career like no other, and what she has achieved is best described as the stuff of dreams. From starring in classics like The Deer Hunter to cult classics such as The Devil Wears Prada, Streep’s list of credits is an assorted one, comprised of numerous iconic performances where the American actor has confirmed herself as one of the best to do it.
Undoubtedly, the New Jersey native is one of the most versatile actors in the history of Hollywood, and the fact that she is not afraid of tackling any subject matter has enabled her to rise to heights that put many of her contemporaries to shame. Her skill is evident for all to see, which has resulted in her working with some of the greatest in the business, ranging from Robert De Niro to Clint Eastwood.
Whilst Streep’s career can be characterised by consistency, as she’s produced minimal misfires, there are some films that she’s not happy with – which is understandable because she holds herself to only the highest of standards. Before all else, there is one title that still irks her even four decades after it was released, reflecting just how much of a perfectionist she is.
The film is the largely forgotten 1981 romantic drama, The French Lieutenant’s Wife, in which Streep starred opposite Jeremy Irons. She made the admission when appearing on The Graham Norton Show in 2016 and explained that she’s still not happy with her performance in the movie all these years later.
The story follows two couples, both played by Streep and Irons, conducting extra-marital affairs in the Victorian era and the modern-day in a strangely bleak post-modernist tale based on John Fowles’ 1969 novel of the same name.
Streep’s admission is somewhat ironic given that at the time, her performance was so lauded that she won a BAFTA for Best Actress and earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the two women conducting their affairs against the will of society.
Streep told Graham Norton, “I’m giving myself an out, but part of it was, the structure of it was sort of artificial because I was the actress playing The French Lieutenant’s Woman. At the same time, I was an American actress playing a British woman.”
“I didn’t feel I was living it,” she concluded. “You always want to do something better after the fact.”