Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Look of Love

"...Seriously, you look at the person, think of them in the most desirable way you can and then suppress the desire to do anything about it. There are many ways to smoulder..." Richard Armitage, The (London) Independent, December 2, 2004

Imagine a man looking at a woman with burning passion, desire and adoration.  When you look at his eyes and the expression on his face you know this is the woman of his dreams.  But imagine you must look at someone that way that you’ve only met ten minutes ago, or even someone you don’t particularly like.  It is the job of the actor to create this dream world for us, to look at another actor and create that illusion.  Then comes the close up and the actor may be alone looking at the cold lens of the camera with the look of love.

We have all seen love scenes on film that make us believe, but we’ve also seen scenes when we feel there is no chemistry between the two actors.  What makes Richard Armitage special to me is that every single time, even when the female acting partner is not right for the role, or not as skilled an actor, I know there will come that moment when I’ll see the look in his eyes and believe that his character’s passion and love is true. 

(click on the images below to see a larger version)

The fascination of what he can do with his eyes and eyebrows and the muscles on his face is that he can convey more than smolder.  With his eyes and slight turn of his face he can range from deep affection, to desire, to regret, in a few seconds on screen. The emotions we register from him always feel true.

There are moments when the look and the arrangement of his cheeks and chin, and position of his face, can almost make him look like a different person per second on screen. We read the subtle changes as a flow of barely contained emotions from John Thornton as he becomes aware of Margaret's love for him in North and South.

At times the look of  love can be mixed with uncertainty. In the caps below the character of Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood goes from hope to uncertainty to hope. Even when his back is turned away from the object of his love, Marian, his eyes and face clearly show he's aware of her every word and every move. Will she show him gratitude and love in return, or will she betray him again? 

Sometimes the look is not bold and direct, but shy and tentative at first.  We see an example of this in The Golden Hour. A man like Alec Track, secure in his skills as a doctor, but shy and insecure about his status with the woman he loves. 

Sometimes it's not his eyes that convey deep emotion, but the movement of his face, profile, and hands.  Below we see another scene with the two doctors in love, as he first holds her and then comforts her in a protective way by completely surrounding her with his face and hands,   

The scene below from Spooks Season 8 show Lucas North and Sarah Caulfield together at a turning point in their romantic relationship.  More than any words I can say, or indeed either character says in this scene,  Lucas' (Richard Armitage) facial expressions clearly lets us know he's fallen in love.  

What do you think about Richard Armitage's ability to make us believe in the "look of love"?

**Check out Phylly3's post on the same subject :)

*caps thanks to and my own caps.

 FanstRAvaganza participating blogs are listed below. Enjoy

and me of course:


  1. When I was making the screencaps of Harry, Musa, I noticed how deep the expression was in his eyes - I hadn't picked that up before in theat particular character. I shouldn't have been surprised of course, as RA "inhabits" his characters and I think, irrespective of the fact that he may have a camera right up close to his face, he seems able to just "feel" and convince us of his feelings. I accidentally had the sound turned down for your video clip but it actually is quite interesting to watch the facial expressions of both actors without sound.

  2. The look of love..Perfect title for this post! Doesn't cease to amaze me how many emotions he can convey just with one look, one gesture. He has captivated us in every single one of his romantic scenes. Personally no other actor has ever moved me in the way Richard Armitage does. :)

  3. The way Richard can stare down his leading ladies is one of my favorite things about him! It makes me swoon and giggle like a school girl. :)

  4. I love this post! You know why? Great minds think alike!

  5. HA! Phylly3 That's Great! Love the video and of course, I was thinking of the song also when I thought of the title for the post! Great minds indeed :)


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