The acronym GOAT is perhaps one of the highest compliments—those familiar with millennial lingo will know. For those who aren't, it would be a rather miserable and unsuccessful attempt to praise someone. In a video that was making rounds on the Internet recently, Jennifer Lawrence made an appearance on The Late Show to promote her film Don’t Look Up in which she co-stars with Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep, for whom she had a special nickname—GOAT. Only, Streep had no idea what the term actually meant. "We were doing a photo shoot and I said something like 'GOAT', and Meryl said, 'That's right, just tell the old goat where to go,' And I was like, 'Meryl, you know that GOAT means 'greatest of all time', right?' And she was like, 'Oh! No!” recalls Lawrence.
And Lawrence is not the only one who thinks so. Robert De Niro once stated that Streep was his all-time favourite actor to work with. In the early ‘80s, legendary Hollywood actor, Bette Davis even sent her a letter stating that she felt Streep would be her successor in the industry.
Streep's love affair with acting began while she was pursuing her undergraduate studies at Vassar and then went on to pursue an MFA at the Yale School of Drama. Ironically, it was De Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver that made her want to transition from Broadway to film.
Meryl Streep is said to be one of the finest actors of her generation, known for her versatility and accent adaptability. Her filmography has proved it time and again. Not only is she excellent in drama, but also has a brilliant comic timing that has won her appreciation and accolades—for instance, her role as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia and Julia Child in Julie & Julia, among others. The actor turns 74 today and we decided to take a look back at some of her finest films that we would recommend watching.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
After her commendable performance in The Deer Hunter in 1978, all eyes were on Streep, who was just 30 at the time. This marriage drama sees her play Joanna Kramer, who forces her husband Michael (Dustin Hoffman) to take care of their six-year-old son as she goes out to make a name for herself and secure a bright future for her family. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Streep bagged her first Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. We agree she isn’t seen a lot in the film, but we all agree that she makes every scene she is a part of stand out. The performance led the way toward changing what people thought about custody rights and tugged at the audience's heartstrings.
This movie is like a love letter to the city of New York. It’s a story about Issac Davis, a divorced and unhappy TV writer whose wife, Jill (played by Streep), is writing a book about her relationship with him. Davis dates a lot of people, including a teenage student named Tracy and has a crush on Mary, the mistress of his best friend, Yale, affecting the lives of everyone involved. In the ex-wife's role, Streep displays a wide range of emotions. No prizes for guessing that despite a stellar ensemble that included Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, and Anne Byrne, everyone was talking about Streep.
A Cry in the Dark (1988)
Based on true events, A Cry in the Dark (also known as Evil Angels) revolves around the life of Lindy Chamberlain (Streep), a mother accused of murdering her daughter. The movie follows her attempts to prove innocence. Streep got into the skin of the character effortlessly and nailed the Australian accent. Watching how she deals with the grief of losing her child and public harassment was an acting master class. You won’t be able to take your eyes off this gripping narrative even for a single second.
Postcards From The Edge (1990)
During the '90s, Streep moved on from playing serious roles to more light-hearted characters. Postcards From The Edge showed audiences how good her comic timing can be. Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher, the movie sees Streep, an actress who leaves rehab to live with her famous mother, Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine). Alongside Shirley MacLaine, Streep played the role of a drug addict with great perfection, showing everything from insecurities and paranoia, to racked-up tension. While we can struggle to decide which is Streep’s best performance of all time, this one surely takes the pie for the most comical.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
One of Streep's most memorable roles was Miranda Priestly in this 2006 film. Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt and Streep stole people's hearts. Set in the world of high fashion, The Devil Wears Prada follows assistant Andrea (Anne Hathaway) as she competes with her co-worker Emily (Blunt) for the attention of their cold and calculating boss Miranda Priestly (Streep). The actor had a ball as the egomaniacal boss from hell, who ensured even her being the quietest was enough to send shivers down the spine of those who stood in front of her.
Mamma Mia (2008)
This is inarguably one of Streep’s most-engaging, fun, and comforting performances. The musical comedy revolves around the life of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), who stumbles upon her mother, Donna's (Streep) old diary and realises that her estranged father could be one of the three men mentioned in the pages. As her wedding approaches, Sophie invites the trio to their hotel on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi. It's a delight to watch Streep dance to and sing iconic numbers by ABBA such as Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen. The movie was so well received that a sequel was released in 2018 titled Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Julie & Julia (2009)
A movie that was cheerful and charming, much like Streep, who played the role of the famous chef, Julia Child. It draws a parallel between the lives of Child during the 1950s in Paris with that of writer, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who lives in New York during the early 2000s and decides to master every recipe in her cookbook within a year. This film, just like many others, sees Streep breathe life into her character and make us smile without trying too hard.
The Iron Lady (2012)
The Iron Lady is the story of how Margaret Thatcher (Streep) came to power as the first female prime minister of England. The role won her an Oscar for best actress. While it was challenging to play one of the most celebrated and recognised politicians of the 20th century, Streep makes it feel effortless and impactful—from the body language and accent, to her demeanour. Be it at the peak of her political career or during her twilight years, you can see how compassionate and strong-willed Thatcher is at every stage—and Streep is a major reason why.
The Post (2018)
Based on a true story, The Post, directed by Steven Speilberg, follows The Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (Streep) and her editor, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), as they race against the staff of The New York Times to publish the Pentagon Papers and reveal the truth about America’s involvement in Vietnam. When Graham takes over her husband's job after his death, she is not taken seriously by the men in the boardroom and the newsroom. But it changes soon and throughout the movie, we see how the events of the Pentagon Papers unfold and how Graham evolves in her role.