Silver Screen Spotlight: Alicia Vikander

An actress of silent mastery with a selective palette of filmography that works only to accentuate her unique capacity for performing, the up-and-coming Swedish-born Alicia Vikander appears almost as a female Leonardo DiCaprio. While we haven't yet seen her completely transform herself physically for a role, the actress has already displayed a gracious knack for diving into dramatic roles, and ultimately filling them with her genuine and naturalistic emotions. While Vikander has explored numerous other film genres, from spy adaptations to sci-fi sleeper hits, the former dancer's most effective -- and award-worthy -- performances have come recently from her heart-wrenching roles in her many endearing dramas. With this year already showing us two sides of the enigmatic actress -- popping up as a CIA hacker in July's Jason Bourne and a heart-broken mother holding onto false realities in this month's The Light Between Oceans -- Alicia Vikander is one of those fresh actresses that deserves to be seen in her natural element of acting. In praise of one of Hollywood's biggest actor's most recent performances, this month's Silver Screen Spotlight goes to the beautiful Ms. Vikander. 

While the actress' earlier Hollywood roles in the 2013 hacker thriller The Fifth Estate and the 2012 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina weren't some of her most memorable roles, it really wasn't until 2015 that I really discovered what a talent Alicia Vikander really was. Before garnering critical acclaim for her roles in a number of gripping historical dramas, the actress first dived into the science fiction genre, taking on the persona of a hyper-intelligent robot in last year's Ex Machina. Offering up a chilling yet highly-masterful performance in this indie thriller, my first look at Vikander's acting method displayed just how precise her movements and tone of voice can become, in order to evoke a frighteningly silent-but-deadly performance. Still one of my favorite films of 2015, Ex Machina was led to award buzz not only by director Alex Garland's intense screenplay, but also by Vikander's captivating and methodical A.I.

The year 2015 also garnered a number of other roles for the actress, from leading roles in the film adaptation of the 1964 spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to supporting roles in films like the cooking drama Burnt. While her role in the Bradley Cooper-starrer about a chef seeking redemption wasn't that distinctive, one of her most satirical performances came out of Guy Richie's fast-paced U.N.C.L.E., as she played a witty partner-in-crime to Henry Cavill's '60s secret agent. Another late 2015 role for the actress was in the Oscar-winning historical drama The Danish Girl, for which Vikander earned her first Academy Award. Playing the heart-broken wife to Eddie Redmayne's trans-gender painter Lili Elbe, this captivating tale of a man torn between his sexual identity in the 1920s harbored brilliant performances not only from Redmayne, but even more evident, from Ms. Vikander.

While her performance as CIA cyber agent Heather Lee in July's spy sequel Jason Bourne was dimly overshadowed by both star Matt Damon mercifully kicking ass, as well as the film ultimately resulting in a massive let-down, Vikander returned gracefully to the starring seat alongside her real-life partner Michael Fassbender in this month's The Light Between Oceans. Selling us another engrossing tale of romance and history -- much like she did in The Danish Girl, and well as the fantastic 2014 adaptation of Vera Brittain's World War I memoir Testament of Youth -- Alicia Vikander once again mustered up a brilliant performance as a mother emotionally-scarred by her inability to foster a child with her husband. Sustained by her emotional and naturalistic chemistry with co-star Fassbender, as the two fell deeper into trouble and depression in the 1920s tear-jerker, Vikander offered up another stand-out role, putting her methodical range of emotion to fantastic use.

Set to star alongside the likes of James McAvoy and Christoph Waltz in her upcoming projects, ranging from romantic thrillers like Submergence to more historical dramas like next year's Tulip Fever, it's easy to see that Ms. Vikander is far from done as she works to perfect her unique craft of acting. While I'm excited to see what role she dives into next, one of the most intriguing roles she's planning to take on is adventurer Lara Croft in 2018's Tomb Raider reboot, based on the popular video game series. As we saw in this summer's Jason Bourne, the actress plans to step away from her typical endearing dramas to try her hand at another big-budget blockbuster.

What's your favorite role from Alicia Vikander? What big role do you hope she takes on next? Let me know your thoughts on the actress and her work in the comments below, and stay tuned for another Silver Screen Spotlight in October!  

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