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I love it when some actors have a moment when it seems like everywhere you turn you see them in something great, like they can do no wrong. It gives you a chance to see their range in an instant.

Last year we had the Jean Smartaissance, when one day you could watch the former Charlene Stillfield cuss out her daughter while drinking a glass of wooder in an episode of Mare of Easttown and then the next, you could watch her throw a hissy fit and toss an iPad into a swimming pool on Hacks.

Olivia Colman is this year’s model. Everyone loves Colman these days; she’s approaching Betty White and Dolly Parton levels of Teflon-coating. I was an early adopter of course (my 2022 motto: “Be more insufferable”), but I don’t mind that everyone’s jumping on the Olivia Colman bandwagon! No matter when you first picked up on her—be it The Favorite, Fleabag, The Queen, Broadchurch, Flowers, The Night Manager or Hot Fuzz (JUMP IN THERE! JUMP IN WITH HOT FUZZ!)—she is a consistent deliverer.

I think the secret to her is she’s a really, really good role chooser. I mean … I suppose she gets offered bad things too, but she seems to have a nose for the good stuff. I trust her taste level. She’s currently being her usual five-star self in the absolutely spectacular and disturbing The Lost Daughter on Netflix. The movie is as good and singular as she is.

Then you can flip over to HBO’s Landscapers, a peculiar, can’t-look-away multi-part series featuring her matriciding it up in merry old England. I am practically evangelical about Landscapers. It is One. Weird. Series.

And if those aren’t enough for you—if you simply cannot get enough Olivia, which you CANNOT—she also narrates Amazon’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (she really does cover the waterfront streaming-channel-wise). 

She’s definitely having a moment—and frankly,  I haven’t been this excited about an Olivia since this happened.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.

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  • If you want to see Olivia in her very early days, search for the hilariously odd spoof science programme Look Around You….

    • Go all he way back to an episode of “Midsomer Murders”. Olivia will stop you in your tracks!

    • Or to be truly insufferable, go to excellent comedy Peep Show which is how we Brits first encountered her and why we love to bits the fact that she’s now world-renowned. And how an (admittedly excellent, but not usually Oscar-winner attracting) panel show like this one can still pull her in – (a) I assume cos she’s just lovely but (b) also because David Mitchell to her left was the star of that ….

      • To be even more insufferable, allow me to point out her even earlier bit part in BBC’s The Office… every time I see her, I always flash back to her fumbling with the camera, waiting for the light to turn green.

  • She also had a delicious turn in a 2009 Midsomer Murders, just a forecast of what she could do.

  • The combination of Olivia Colman plus David Thewlis in Landscapers equals genius!

  • The first time I saw her was in the British comedy Green Wing. She is hilarious as is many others in that series. It’s available on Amazon and we were just talking about watching it again, our third time?

    • Thanks for the tip! I’m also a longtime fan.

  • I’m a huge fan of Olivia Colman’s too. But more importantly, HOW did you find that Xanadu clip!? What a start to the day!

    • It is a LOT to think about, that clip. “Ho!”

  • Yet another series with the talented Ms. Colman is the British sitcom “Rev”, currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Perfect for knitting along to anytime.

  • Love Olivia’s work, but she was wasted in The Lost Daughter

    • I agree. Her acting was great but I didn’t like the movie at all.

    • I agree, did not like that movie at all. But she’s great.

      • I’ve heard several people have the same reaction. If you have read the Elena Ferrante novels, it would make more sense. Starting with My Brilliant Friend, they are definitely worth reading.

  • I love Olivia! She was also great in the series Rev.

  • Thanks for Landscapers tip. I love her too. Discovered her on the Graham Norton Show. An actual talk show, not what passes for a talk show in US.
    Btw, now wish I’d seen Xanadu when it came out. It’s terrible but I think I may have loved it then. Alas. A wasted youth.

  • DG! That Xanadu clip!! Thank you <3

  • Can’t wait for Hacks to start, again. As for Olivia Colman, if I see her face or name in an ad, I will watch the show. Perfect article for this snowy, frozen day!

  • We’re also big Olivia Colman fans in this household! We watched The Lost Daughter last night and I agree with your description that it’s “spectacular and disturbing.” We have Landscapers on tap for tonight. Thanks for the fan club moment!

  • I think she makes everything she’s in, good.
    I dont like The Lost Daughter. But can’t take my eyes off her, so I kept watching and will never pass by something she’s in.

    But frankly, I think British actors are better and so are their films and tv shows. Just better quality.

  • She’s terrific – one of the few actors who, when you see them in a role, you don’t immediately think: That’s Olivia Colman – or Peter O’Toole – or whoever. They become the part.

  • Love love love Olivia Colman in everything I’ve seen, but three that you mention here are ones I haven’t seen so now I’m super excited about my weekend.
    Also, that link to Xanadu…. there aren’t enough ways to thank you for that. Wow!

  • I LOVED Broadchurch. She was also excellent in The Father with Anthony Hopkins.

    • Loved Brodchurch… not the lost daughter.

    • DG Strong, you are baaaack! I was so worried something happened… You must have been stuck packing orders. Whew!

  • Wow DG, you had to dig deep for that Xanadu clip. Completely apt for your narrative, but scary you know about it.

  • And The Father with Anthony Hopkins. Her character is an accurate look at the torment of a loved sinking into dementia.

    • “Loved one”

  • “Be more insufferable!” Yes, please! I don’t remember her in Fleabag but I was having too much fun looking at Andrew Scott as Hot Priest (yes, okay, it was the second season–leave me alone!). I’ve watched Broadchurch at least 3 times. She is magnificent.

  • We watched the landscapers last week. IT. IS. ODD. That said, a fascinating story.

  • What about Rev.?
    One of my early favorites as an Olivia Colman fan.

  • OMG. HOW did I miss Gene Kelly & Olivia Newton-John’s fantasia in the 80s? Thanks, DG!!

  • OMG I’m such an idiot! Missed the part about “an[other] Olivia,” and watched Xanadu repeatedly trying to pick Olivia Colman out of the crowd as a young skating hoofer (like seeing Nicole Walker as a ghastly folksinger in 4 Weddings). Duh. She probably wasn’t even born when that was filmed.

    • Hahaha! Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one doing that!

  • She was also amazing in Locke, with Tom Hardy who is the only character seen through the entire movie. We hear her voice interspersed with Locke’s other speaker phone conversations — and what a voice she has.

    • I liked Locked too. Wasn’t crazy about Broadchurch although Coleman was very good. Not a great mystery. Convoluted.

    • Locke was riveting! I was very skeptical but it is a terrific film.

    • Agreed! Fantastic movie for both of them

  • PEEP SHOW!!! The lovely Sophie.

  • I certainly didn’t enjoy The Lost Daughter but it didn’t have anything to do with Olivia’s acting. I will check out her other movies and series.

  • Loved her in Broadchurch. Did not like the Lost Daughter.

  • Nice comparison of Jean Smartaissance with Olivia Colemanissance. I had a vague sense of having seen Olivia in BBC things here and there before she appeared in the Queen but then she was suddenly everwhere. She can’t have made all those things in one year! Where have they been. I started watching Landscapers before I knew it was a series and not all episodes were available. (I try not to do that.) Binge watched the whole thing again yesterday. It was a really phenomenal work. “Where do they get these ideas” kind of thing and she was totally up to it. Amazing.

  • What the heck did I just watch? A Xanadu music video starring OLivia Newton John and Gene Kelly with trapeze artists and skaters dancing to a cha cha??

    Mind blown!!!

  • Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    i do love OC from hot fuzz ( to doctor who to people like us and then all the more recent stuff as well.
  • You really should check out Olivia Coleman as the wife of Adam Smallbone, a vicar, in Rev. She’s fabulous!

  • I love Olivia in Hot Fuzz! I just watched it again over the holidays. Thanks for all the OC recommendations.

  • Agree seeing her everywhere these days. Loved her in Broadchurch, not so much in The Lost Daughter .

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