Is Julianna Margulies The Best Actress On TV?

I don’t usually post about acting outside the theatre on The Drama Teacher. But, as we all know, many television actors the world over either start or finish their careers on the stage. So, even though there are differences between television and theatre acting … it’s still acting.

It struck me recently how fabulous Julianna Margulies’ performances are as Alicia Florrick on the American legal drama The Good Wife. Her acting is so seamless and believable, it’s an absolute feast to watch.

As we Drama teachers know all too well, our students don’t get out to the theatre that often to see fine performances. Sometimes this is for economic reasons (cheaper for a teenager to see a movie than go to the theatre) and other times the theatre may not be geographically accessible or even “cool” enough for our Drama and Theatre students to see on weekends.

This is where I believe we sometimes have to resign to the fact that even our most passionate Drama students would prefer to go to the movies ahead of the theatre. I’ve sent my students off to the movies before with recommendations on great film acting, but I can’t recall the last time I told them to watch a TV show for the same reason.

But, I’m so impressed with Julianna Margulies’ acting on The Good Wife, I’ll be telling my Year 12 Drama class to enjoy the show this weekend and take notes in their living rooms on how and why this actress is so impressive? Because in my opinion, Julianna Margulies is the best actress on television at the moment and it is my responsibility for my students studying acting to know that. I’m sure our post-show discussions back in class next week will be very worthwhile, indeed!

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3 Responses

  1. Linda Nichol says:

    I agree that Julianna is an incredible actress. I saw her on a rerun last night. The episode I saw takes place awhile after the death of Will when she is partners with Lucca and she is drinking a lot and feeling miserable about life. Lucca wants to know what’s going on and the scene where Julianna breaks down and confides in
    Lucca is one of the most memorable and touching scenes I have seen.

  2. Cath Rankin says:

    Have you seen Toni Collette in “United States of Tara”. I have used it with my DP Theatre classes and little sections with the Junior classes in regards to physically changing characters. She plays many different personalities – the voice does change but it is the physical change that makes the most impact.
    Excellent piece to demonstrate the importance of the body in portraying a character. The students really see the change.

  3. After several students in my Year 12 Drama class scrutinised Julianna Margulies’ acting skills on the hit TV show The Good Wife, they came up with the following observations:

    – the character of Alicia Florrick is highly engaging, largely due to Margulies’ fine acting skills
    – Margulies clearly demonstrates strong belief in her character
    – Margulies appears to have the right balance as an actor … she neither overstates nor understates her role
    – Margulies has strong control over her facial muscles and the emotions she is feeling at any given moment are therefore very clear (lots of close-ups on Margulies are evident each episode in The Good Wife)
    – in conclusion, my Drama class learned that while they are aware of the basic differences between TV acting (The Good Wife) and acting for the stage (their course of study at high school), Julianna Margulies nevertheless taught them an important lesson in acting, that sometimes LESS IS MORE…..

    After spending much of my Drama teacher training years at university over-acting in every production I performed in, I couldn’t agree more with my students’ observations!

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