Reevaluating Madeleine Swann (SPOILERS)

edited October 4 in No Time To Die (2021) Posts: 7,053
After Spectre I was slightly underwhelmed by Lea Seydoux' performance and the character overall. With No Time To Die I wonder whether she is a candidate for best Bond girl ever? Let's discuss:

Comments

  • Posts: 15,564
    Vast improvement in NTTD compared to SP, I was pleasantly surprised the change of director no doubt made a big difference in Seydoux character.

    Both Bond and Madeline were more animated, charming and full of life in the new film compared to SP.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 6,041
    Watching NTTD I thought she came out as blander than in SP. Not among the flashy types of Bond girls. Which is not a bad thing in real life, so I'd rate her as more the kind of next-door girlfriend "material" (I apologize for this term). Trouble is that with her background one would have to fear that her psyche is probably really screwed up.

    If one looks at it from a Bond Girl Eye Candy approach, she probably finishes three out of three (Ana de Armas clearly takes the cake, and not just in looks). But then we're all past this in current times, aren't we?

    And I appreciate that you added the second "n" while I was writing this.
  • Posts: 7,053
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    Watching NTTD I thought she came out as blander than in SP. Not among the flashy types of Bond girls. Which is not a bad thing in real life, so I'd rate her as more the kind of next-door girlfriend "material" (I apologize for this term). Trouble is that with her background one would have to fear that her psyche is probably really screwed up.

    If one looks at it from a Bond Girl Eye Candy approach, she probably finishes three out of three (Ana de Armas clearly takes the cake, and not just in looks). But then we're all past this in current times, aren't we?

    And I appreciate that you added the second "n" while I was writing this.

    I respectfully disagree. I think her performance was absolutely superb, hitting all the right notes the script required: Charm, emotional depth, resilience and chemistry with Bond. I can't fault it at all!

    And she definitely delivers on the eye candy front too. (Although I agree Ana De Armas in that dress was... well... hard to resist!) :P

    Regarding the 's', it was down to autocorrect, not me...
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 6,041
    jobo wrote: »

    Regarding the 's', it was down to autocorrect, not me...

    Tell your autocorrect it was an "n"! :-)
  • Posts: 7,053
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    jobo wrote: »

    Regarding the 's', it was down to autocorrect, not me...

    Tell your autocorrect it was an "n"! :-)

    Haha! It's been too many glasses of wine for me this evening, no doubt... ;))
  • belleswannbelleswann britain
    Posts: 34
    Madeleine was the only reason I cared about anything with this film, I thought she was great in this and the bond she had with her daughter was wonderful you really believe they were mother and child. I wanted her and Bond to have more scenes together but her scenes towards the end made me believe she truly loved him and were some of the most emotional I've seen in a Bond film. Even though this film was not for me in many ways I'm glad she makes it in the end and if it had to end the way it did I'm glad it ended with her. Lea gave a brilliant performance and was by far my favorite of the film.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 6,041
    jobo wrote: »
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    jobo wrote: »

    Regarding the 's', it was down to autocorrect, not me...

    Tell your autocorrect it was an "n"! :-)

    Haha! It's been too many glasses of wine for me this evening, no doubt... ;))

    I can totally relate to that, since I'm having a similar party with my wife. Cheers!
  • SimonSimon Keeping The British End Up...
    edited October 4 Posts: 57
    Better than Spectre? Yes. Good overall? I'm still undecided. The PTS tried hard to give a personality to a character that was lacking one in her first film, but it was still a scene that was already told in Spectre. I think my biggest issue was that I had no investment in her going in, and they are already a happy couple from the off. I'm not sure if it was meant to be a misunderstanding, but when the hotel concierge mentions "your wife" I took it as golden, and I hadn't had enough of her to take that jump as a viewer.

    The scenes with Bond also didn't do all that much to cement a "best Bond Girl ever" vote either. I liked the scene with Safin, I liked the build up to the meeting with Blofeld, but less so in her scenes with Bond after the pre-titles. The Breakfast Apples scene seemed a bit too out of character for all involved, and for the last act their interactions were not all that impactful (bare in mind I am not a fan of the ending!).

    The Sarah Connor outro also descended through the barrel or cheesy, right into the gutter for me.

    Bad Bond girl? No. Exceptional in any way? No.

    That being said, I've only seen the film once and the ending left the biggest mark on me as I walked out, so perhaps a second viewing on Blu-Ray will change my opinion as I have no doubt forgotten quite a bit of the 2hrs43 by now.
  • BelinusBelinus Scotland
    Posts: 48
    I thought Madeleine was a great character. With her background she was perfectly placed to understand Bond and his life. Similarly, Bond didn’t need to hide anything from her and would also be able to appreciate what she has gone through. I still don’t know what the big secret was (surely not the masked man?) and don’t get why neither seemed to fight for the relationship after Italy but overall she is the one Bond girl I could have seen him living happily ever after with.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 6,041
    Belinus wrote: »
    ...but overall she is the one Bond girl I could have seen him living happily ever after with.
    Which is, cynically speaking, the reason why one of them had to die in the end. Otherwise it wouldn't have been a true Bond Film and people would complain. OK, I'm digressing.

  • Posts: 567
    Madeleine was very underwritten in Spectre. Lea did what she could with the script at the time. Yet she still had some good reviews from film critics such as Mark Kermode and Peter Bradshaw

    She has been given a much better script in NTTD and is in a lot more scenes and that has allowed her to show off her acting chops.

    On her ranking as a Bond Girl? I do think that does depend on whether that person believes in the romance or not. Also the ending is very polarising to say the least - just look at the opposing views in this forum alone!

    For me, Madeleine is the best Bond girl, or should I say woman. But I am biased as my username and avatar shows!
  • quantumspectrequantumspectre argentina
    Posts: 38
    she is on my avatar, so to me she is a good bond girl, looks and plays a grounded girl, not a femme fatale like vesper lynd. in many ways i like her more than vesper.
  • marcmarc Universal Exports
    Posts: 1,593
    I also think that the use of Madeleine 's character was a lot better in NTTD than in SP. In the recent Bond girls ranking game I ranked her as 24th out of 26 for SP. For NTTD, I'd rank her around 14th.
  • Posts: 10,530
    Absolutely loved her in NTTD. Still not as much as Vesper and Tracy, but I was far more convinced of her being Bond’s next true love this time around. I have her from SP around the middle of my Bond girl rankings and her from NTTD at #5 right now. Seydoux is really likable to me.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 60
    I got that Madeleine was meant to be a mysterious character in SP, someone you weren't going to 'get' in one reveal, but I thought there was a misstep and she came over as distant and hands-off instead. I didn't believe the love between her and Bond, as I did between Vesper and Bond. I don't know if that was the rushed third act re-writes in SP, the direction or a lack of the natural chemistry between Lea and Craig that had been there in abundance between Eva Green and Craig. Vesper and Bond - I buy that completely as the love of his life. Madeleine...not so much. Mind you, Eva Green is the most glorious creature that ever lived, so I could be biased here...
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,731
    I buy Bond and Vesper, but I also buy Bond and Madeleine. I see them in SP as two lonely people. Both are orphans, and neither has a 'significant other' at the moment. When we see them together, they almost exist in isolation, cut off from the rest of the world. A desolate clinic high up in snow-covered mountains, a seemingly underpopulated hotel in Morocco, a practically empty train car, a desert, deserted London streets, ... It's as if the film is telling us that these two loners were meant to find each other in a social void. I appreciate the romantic quality of that, perhaps because as an introvert, I find beauty in a virtually anonymous togetherness, in two people growing close and feeling the need to be with each other without the words actually being spoken. There's something tragic but sweet at the same time about the quietness of their romance. Bond and Vesper got electric after the torture scene, but Bond and Madeleine are slowly gravitating towards each other. The latter is my kind of romance. So I'm probably biased too. ;-)
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 60
    Some really good points there, actually. They're both ghosts in the world (spectres, if you will), their emotional isolation paralleling the physical isolation of the settings. And just as Bond and Madeleine don't express their growing feelings explicitly, neither does the script make those elements overt - but yes, they're definitely there, I see just what you mean. Thanks for that - it's not often you're given a whole new perspective on a film you've seen dozens of times!
  • Posts: 7,053
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I buy Bond and Vesper, but I also buy Bond and Madeleine. I see them in SP as two lonely people. Both are orphans, and neither has a 'significant other' at the moment. When we see them together, they almost exist in isolation, cut off from the rest of the world. A desolate clinic high up in snow-covered mountains, a seemingly underpopulated hotel in Morocco, a practically empty train car, a desert, deserted London streets, ... It's as if the film is telling us that these two loners were meant to find each other in a social void. I appreciate the romantic quality of that, perhaps because as an introvert, I find beauty in a virtually anonymous togetherness, in two people growing close and feeling the need to be with each other without the words actually being spoken. There's something tragic but sweet at the same time about the quietness of their romance. Bond and Vesper got electric after the torture scene, but Bond and Madeleine are slowly gravitating towards each other. The latter is my kind of romance. So I'm probably biased too. ;-)


    Well put, and I agree. It's as if their romance is inevitable because they are the only people who can truly understand each other. They are both 'damaged goods' to paraphraze a Bond villain. I suppose that's what makes the film particularly heartbreaking, not only the ending but also in the PTS, beautifuly acted by both. I find Lea's acting to be extraordinary in that scene on the train.

    Adding to your narrative about the introvert nature of the relationship, I think it is quite significant that Lea Seydoux herself is introvert and plays the role that way. Interestingly I think that is one of the reasons why some people don't warm to her. In the modern world we are programmed to like extroverts just like Ana De Armas is. Shyness is often confused with "coldness" or even "arrogance". I know this well from personal experience... An introvert's charm can be harder to detect, but I think Madeleine has it in spades.
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