If you know me in the least you know my adoration for Kenneth Branagh runs so deep I even “loved” Thor, and now I can be even more obnoxious in my fandom by insisting that we refer to him as Sir Kenneth Branagh from now on. I say so. The Queen says so. Here he is being all humble (see! he can be humble!) about being knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list:

Because I know you’ll want to join me in celebrating Sir Kenneth by viewing some of his best performances, here are five selections to get you started.

Henry V

Consider this your master class in acting. I’ve said before that Branagh’s St. Crispin’s Day speech is sure to roll your socks up and down, and I stand by that.

 

 

 

 

My Week with Marilyn

Sir Kenneth has been criticized in the past for being a little too much of a Laurence Olivier fanboy, but here Branagh puts it to good use by playing his hero to perfection.

 

 

 

 

How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog

Branagh as a curmudgeony kid-phobic writer in Los Angeles hanging out with a kid in order to perfect his ear for kid dialogue? Yes. Please.

 

 

 

 

Pirate Radio

I hate to admit it, but Branagh’s often at his best when he’s playing an uptight jackass. In Pirate Radio, he’s the uptight jackass trying to kill music.

 

 

 

 

Celebrity

Oh, this one gets special kudos for combining my husband’s two least favorite things in one with its casting of Branagh as the surrogate Woody Allen.

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TNB Arts and Culture Editor CYNTHIA HAWKINS teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Most of what she thinks she knows comes from movies, including how to tango, how to take someone down with a ballpoint pen, how to curse in French, and how to catch a moving train. Her work, on movies and otherwise, has appeared in literary journals and magazines such as ESPN the Magazine, Parent:Wise Magazine, The Good Men Project, New World Writing, Strange Horizons, and numerous alternative weeklies and anthologies. You can find Cynthia on Twitter and at cynthiahawkins.net.

15 responses to “Make That Sir Kenneth”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    There IS justice in the world. Thank you, Sir Ken. And thank you, Cynthia Hawkins.

  2. James D. Irwin says:

    This was the first news I heard when I woke up. I think I’ve only really seen him in Shackleton, years and years ago but I loved it.

    I’ve been meaning to watch Henry V though. I think it’s on as part of the torrent of Shakespeare on TV over the summer. I prefer my Shakespeare to feature Sir Patrick Stewart OBE. Actually I prefer anything that features Patrick Stewart.

  3. Art Edwards says:

    I really liked his version of Hamlet too. Long, I know, and too many soliloquies, but someone had to try to include every scene from the play, and I doubt anyone else could’ve done it better.

    • I do love his Hamlet. Everyone always cuts the Fortinbras stuff, and he didn’t. Bravo. I wish maybe he’d gone with a less opulent look (I like gritty Shakespeare, I guess) and casted a few parts differently, but over all the English-professor me approves!

      • James D. Irwin says:

        The recent-ish BBC/RSC TV play keeps the entire text, and stars David Tennant AND Sir Patrick Stewart. It’s excellent.

  4. Doug Bond says:

    Henry V is audacious, stirring and remains his best work in Shakespeare…one of the best ever on film (methinks.) I remember sitting slack jawed in the theater in ’89 thinking…this guy is just a couple years older than me? If I’d bumped into him in the lobby waiting for popcorn, I would have called him “Sir” right then and there…so to my mind it’s a knighting 23 years tardy!

  5. seanbeaudoin says:

    I thought he was really good in Chariots of Fire…actually, I agree about Hamlet. Was blown away by it watching in a theater in Ohio all by myself.

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