The Irishman‘s Robert De Niro has defended co-star Anna Paquin getting only seven words to say in the entire movie.
The actress plays the role of Peggy Sheeran in the Martin Scorsese film, daughter of De Niro’s character Frank.
The film depicts Peggy’s strained relationship with her father, and while mostly silent throughout the film, she finally confronts him when Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) goes missing.
“Why? Why?” she asks, before he responds: “Why what?”
“Why haven’t you called Jo?” Peggy says, referring to the fact that Frank has not called Jimmy’s wife Jo.
While some have praised Paquin’s performance, others have taken issue with the film using its most prominent female character in this way
“Y’all can’t just stan Scorsese without pretending every time a woman doesn’t speak in his damn movies it’s a deliberate choice,” writer and podcast host Ira Madison III tweeted.
Here we go….. y’all can’t just stan Scorsese without pretending every time a woman doesn’t speak in his damn movies it’s a deliberate choice. https://t.co/s5vFgOG0Az
— Ira Madison III (@ira) November 27, 2019
Despite criticism for not speaking for the rest of the film, De Niro has defended Paquin’s minimal dialogue.
“She was very powerful and that’s what it was,” he told USA TODAY. “Maybe in other scenes there could’ve been some interaction between Frank and her possibly, but that’s how it was done. She’s terrific and it resonates.”
Paquin has herself addressed criticism over how her character was handled, tweeting last month: “Nope, nobody was doing any ‘ordering’. I auditioned for the privilege of joining the incredible cast of .@TheIrishmanFilm and I’m incredibly proud to get to be a part of this film.”
Nope, nobody was doing any “ordering”. I auditioned for the privilege of joining the incredible cast of .@TheIrishmanFilm and I’m incredibly proud to get to be a part of this film. https://t.co/yx54jE4ugy
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) November 9, 2019
In NME’s four-star review of The Irishman, we called the Scorsese Netflix film a “meditative and classy offering” that even “betters” Heat.