Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Maggie Gyllenhaal Sarsgaard, born November 16th, 1977 in New York City is an American actress. She is the daughter of filmmakers Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Achs and the older sister of actor Jake Gyllenhaal. She began her film career when she was a teenager appearing in her father's films as well as alongside her brother in the psychological horror film Donnie Darko in 2001.
She recieveded critical praise for starring as Lee Holloway in Secretary in 2002 - a film for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Again in 2006 she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her performance in Sherrybaby.
She also received recognition for starring as Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight in 2008. In the musical-drama Crazy Heart in 2009, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She later starred in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang in 2010, Won't Back Down in 2012 and Frank in 2014, for which she was nominated for a BIFA Award.
In 2014, she made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Real Thing, and also starred in the British Broadcasting Corporation television miniseries The Honourable Woman. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award for this miniseries.
Gyllenhaal was born in New York City to Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal and Stephen Gyllenhaal. Her father is a film director and writer and her mother is a screenwriter. She has a brother, actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
Her father, who was raised in the Swedenborgian religion, is of Swedish and English ancestry, and a member of the famed Gyllenhaal family. Her last native Swedish ancestor was her great-great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal, a descendant of Leonard Gyllenhaal, a leading Swedenborgian who supported the printing and spreading of Swedenborg's writings.
Her mother was born in New York City, and is from a Jewish family which emigrated from Russia and Poland. Her mother's first husband was Eric Foner, a noted historian and history professor at Columbia University.
Gyllenhaal has stated that she 'grew up mostly Jewish, culturally', though she did not attend Hebrew school. Her parents married in 1977, and later filed for divorce in October of 2008. The first name on Maggie's birth certificate is "Margalit", which she did not discover until 2013, when adopting her husband's surname. Margalit (Hebrew: מרגלית) is a Hebrew word meaning 'pearl'.
Gyllenhaal grew up in Los Angeles, and studied at the Harvard–Westlake prep school. In 1995, she graduated from Harvard–Westlake and moved to New York to attend Columbia University, where she studied literature and Eastern religions.
Her feature film debut was at the age of 15 in Waterland in 1992. A Dangerous Woman filmed in 1993 and Homegrown filmed in 1998 were directed by her father and these last two also featured her brother, Jake.
With their mother, she and Jake appeared in two episodes of Molto Mario, an Italian cooking show on the Food Network. After graduating from college, she played supporting roles in films like Cecil B. Demented in 2000 and Riding in Cars with Boys in 2001.
Gyllenhaal later achieved recognition in her own right when she played her real brother's on-screen sister in the indie cult film Donnie Darko in 2001.
She made her theatrical debut at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in their production of Patrick Marber's Closer - for which she received favorable reviews. Gyllenhaal has performed in several other plays, including The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Butterfly Project, and No Exit.
Her break-out role was in the black comedy Secretary in 2002 - a film about two people who embark on a mutually fulfilling BDSM lifestyle. The New York Times critic Stephen Holden noted:
"The role of Lee, which Maggie Gyllenhaal imbues with a restrained comic delicacy and sweetness, should make her a star."
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote:
"Maggie Gyllenhaal, as the self-destructive secretary, is enigmatic and, at moments, sympathetic."
The film received generally favorable reviews and Gyllenhaal's performance earned her the Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, her first Golden Globe nomination, and an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Secretary was Gyllenhaal's first film role which featured full frontal nudity. Although impressed with the script, she initially had some qualms about doing the film, which she believed could deliver an anti-feminist message. Yet after carefully discussing the script with the film's director, Steven Shainberg, she agreed to join the project.
Although insisting Shainberg did not exploit her, Gyllenhaal has said she felt "scared when filming began" and that "in the wrong hands... even in just slightly less intelligent hands, this movie could say something really weird."
Ever since then, she has become guarded about discussing her role in the film, saying only that "despite myself, sometimes the dynamic that you are exploring in your work spills over into your life."
She next played a supporting role in the comedy-drama Adaptation in 2002 - a film that tells the story of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's struggle to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film.
She later appeared in the unauthorized biography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in 2002, part of an ensemble cast that included Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts.
The movie grossed US$33 million worldwide. That same year, she had a small part in the comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights.
In 2003, she co-starred with Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile in the role of Giselle.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, she revealed the reason for accepting the role was "to play somebody who feels confident in herself as a sexy, beautiful woman".
The film generated mostly critical reviews, with Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times describing it as "smug and reductive".
Her next roles were in smaller independent films: Casa de los Babys in 2003 - a story about six American women impatiently waiting out their lengthy residency requirements in an unidentified South American country before picking up their adoptive babies.
She appeared in Criminal in 2004 - a remake of the Argentinian film Nine Queens, with John C. Reilly and Diego Luna. In the film Gyllenhaal plays an honest hotel manager forced to help her crooked brother (Reilly) by seducing one of his victims.
Gyllenhaal was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2004. She starred in the HBO film Strip Search in 2004 - where she portrayed an American student in China suspected of terrorism.
In 2004, Gyllenhaal returned to theater in the Los Angeles production of Tony Kushner's Homebody/ Kabul as Priscilla. She played the Homebody's daughter, who spends most of the play searching for her elusive mother in Kabul, Afghanistan. Kushner had given her the role in Homebody/ Kabul on the strength of her performance in Closer.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote:
"Ms. Gyllenhaal provides the essential bridge between the parts of the play's title."
John Heilpern of The New York Observer noted that Gyllenhaal's performance was "compelling".
Viewed as a sex symbol, she was ranked in the "Hot 100 List" by Maxim magazine in both 2004 and 2005.
Gyllenhaal's next film role was in the 2005 comedy-drama Happy Endings, in which she played an adventures singer who seduces a young gay musician as well as his rich father. She recorded songs for the movie's soundtrack - calling the role the "roughest, scariest acting ever" and adding she is more natural when singing on screen than when acting.
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly declared Gyllenhaal's performance "as wonderfully, naturally slouchy-sexy as her character is artificial".
Following Happy Endings, she starred in the 2006 films Trust the Man, Stranger than Fiction, Monster House, World Trade Center, and Sherrybaby.
In Trust the Man, featuring Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, and Billy Crudup, she played Elaine, who has been dating Tobey, Crudup's character, for seven years and has begun to feel that it is time for her to settle down and start a family.
The film was critically and financially unsuccessful. Ethan Alter of Premiere felt that the performances by Gyllenhaal and Duchovny were "much more at ease" and concluded with "that's probably because they've played these characters many times before".
In Stranger than Fiction, Gyllenhaal played a love interest of Harold Crick, played by Will Ferrell. Her performance in the film received favorable reviews.
Mike Straka of Fox News wrote: "Gyllenhaal has never been sexier in any film before and her interplay with Ferrell will propel her to more A-list films, leaving her indie-darling days behind, no doubt."
She voiced Elizabeth "Zee" in the computer animated horror film Monster House.
Gyllenhaal played Allison Jimeno, the wife of Port Authority officer Will Jimeno, in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, based on the September 11 attacks in New York City.
She regarded this as "one of the films she most enjoyed making". The film received favorable reviews and proved to be an international success, earning US$162 million worldwide.
In Sherrybaby, Gyllenhaal played a young drug-addicted thief trying to put her life in order after prison so she can reconcile with her daughter. During promotion of the film, she said of her portrayal of the character:
"I think she's in such dire straights that all she has are these kind of naive, fierce hopes. And while I was playing the part I was looking for pleasure and hope in everything, even in these really bleak things. And so it was really mostly after I finished the movie that I felt pain."
Her performance in the film was well received: David Germain of the Associated Press wrote:
"Gyllenhaal humanizes her so deeply and richly ... that Sherry elicits sympathy even in her darkest and weakest moments".
Dennis Harvey of Variety called her performance "naturalistic."
For her performance, Gyllenhaal earned her second Golden Globe Best Actress nomination and won the Best Actress category award at the 2006 Stockholm International Film Festival.
She appeared in The Dark Knight in 2008 - the sequel to Batman Begins from 2005, in which she replaced Katie Holmes as Assistant District Attorney, Rachel Dawes.
Gyllenhaal acknowledged her character was a damsel in distress to an extent, but said director Christopher Nolan sought ways to empower her character, so:
"Rachel's really clear about what's important to her and unwilling to compromise her morals" which made a nice change from the many conflicted characters she had previously portrayed.
The Dark Knight was a financial and critical success, setting a new opening weekend box office record for North America. With revenue of US$1 billion worldwide, it became the fourth-highest grossing film of all time, and remains Gyllenhaal's most commercially successful picture to date.
In a Salon review of the film, Stephanie Zacharek called Gyllenhaal's character "a tough cookie in a Stanwyck-style bias-cut gown" and stated that "the movie feels smarter and more supple when she's on-screen".
IGN film critic Todd Gilchrist wrote, "Gyllenhaal adds real depth and energy to Rachel Dawes".
Gyllenhaal played Yelena Andreevna in the Classic Stage Company's 2009 Off-Broadway production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in New York City.
The cast also included Peter Sarsgaard, Mamie Gummer, Denis Leary, and George Foreman. The production, directed by Martin Scorsese, began previews on January 17 and ended its limited run on March 1.
Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News was less than enthusiastic about her performance, writing: "Gyllenhaal, who was so dynamic as a druggie in the film Sherrybaby, plays Yelena with a slow-mo saunter and monotonous pasted-on smile that makes it seem as if she's been in Sherry's stash."
However, Malcolm Johnson of the Hartford Courant was complimentary, noting that she "ultimately blossoms" as the character.
Gyllenhaal agreed to appear in the comedy film Away We Go, where she plays a bohemian college professor who is an old friend of John Krasinski's character. The film generated broadly mixed reviews.
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly describing Gyllenhaal's subplot as "over-the-top".
However, A. O. Scott of The New York Times praised Gyllenhaal and co-star Allison Janney for their performances, writing that "both are quite funny".
Scott concluded with, "Ms. Gyllenhaal's line about sex roles in 'the seahorse community' is the screenplay's one clean satirical bull's-eye".
Her next role came in the musical-drama Crazy Heart, in which she played journalist Jean Craddock, who falls for musician Bad Blake, played by Jeff Bridges.
The movie received favorable reviews, with Gyllenhaal receiving praise from critics.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone reported that Gyllenhaal was "funny, touching and vital as Jean" and that her part was "conventionally conceived, but Gyllenhaal plays it with a tough core of intelligence and feeling."
Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2010, Gyllenhaal appeared in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, the sequel to the 2005 film Nanny McPhee. The role required her to speak with an English accent.
The feature received mixed reviews and earned US$93 million worldwide.
Away from acting, she served as host of the PBS television documentary series Independent Lens. Gyllenhaal also appeared in Hysteria, an independent movie focusing on the creation of the vibrator.
In February 2011, Gyllenhaal starred in another Anton Chekhov production as the character Masha in Austin Pendleton's Three Sisters at the Classic Stage Company. The play focuses on the Prozorov sisters (Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hecht, and Juliet Rylance) "unlucky in love, unhappy in the provinces and longing to return to Moscow", as summarized by Bloomberg's Jeremy Gerard.
The off-Broadway production began preview performances on January 12, with a limited engagement through March 6.
In the 2012 film Won't Back Down, she played a parent involved in a parent trigger takeover of her child's school. She appeared as a Secret Service agent in the action-thriller White House Down. In 2014, she played the title role as an Anglo-Israeli business-woman in the BBC Television series, The Honourable Woman.
Also in 2014 she played Hathfertiti in Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler's River of Fundament.
In August 2016, the audiobook mega provider Audible announced that Gyllenhaal's narration performance of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy was available for purchase. Gyllenhaal, when interviewed about the experience said: "Making this, doing this, I feel like it's one of the major accomplishments of my work life."
In february 2017, she was a member of the jury for the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.
Gyllenhaal entered a relationship with actor Peter Sarsgaard, a close friend of her brother Jake, in 2002. They announced their engagement in April 2006, and married on May 2, 2009, in a small chapel in Brindisi, Italy.
They have two daughters, Ramona, born in 2006 and Gloria Ray Sarsgaard born in 2012. The family lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Gyllenhaal is politically active. At the 18th Independent Spirit Awards, she spoke out against the Iraq war, stating the reason for the invasion was "oil and imperialism". In 2005, Gyllenhaal drew controversy for her statement that the September 11 attacks were "an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world."
"It is always useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict."
Gyllenhaal took part in Artists United to Win Without War - a campaign started by Robert Greenwald with the aim of advancing progressive causes and voicing opposition to the Iraq War. She and her brother Jake filmed a commercial for Rock the Vote, and visited the University of Southern California (USC) campus to encourage students to vote in the 2004 U.S. presidential election, in which she supported John Kerry. Gyllenhaal supported Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
She has campaigned on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization her family strongly supports. In June 2013, Gyllenhaal and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning.
Gyllenhaal is also a supporter of Witness, a non-profit organization that uses video and online technologies to expose human rights violations.
She co-hosted a benefit dinner with founder Peter Gabriel in November 2007.
Gyllenhaal helped raise funds for TrickleUp.org, a non-profit organization that helps impoverished people start a micro-enterprise. For one of the fundraisers, Gyllenhaal helped design and promote a necklace that sold for US$100 - all proceeds from sales went to the charity.
Since 2008, Gyllenhaal has been supporting the Hear the World Foundation as an Ambassador. In her role she is advocating for equal opportunities and better quality of life for people with hearing loss.
In October 2008 she hosted a fashion show event called "Fashionably Natural", which was presented by Gen Art and SoyJoy in Los Angeles. The show featured four up-and-coming designers who worked only with all-natural and eco-friendly fabrics and materials.
Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a truly stunning performance as Sherry, a young woman with a history of drug abuse and emotional turmoil. Just out of prison, she finds herself struggling against all odds to reconnect with her estranged five-year-old daughter while trying to readjust to the outside world.
Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has a few strikes against her when she applies for a secretarial position at the law office of E. Edward Grey (James Spader). At first the work seems quite normal but soon in between typing, filing and coffee making, Lee and Mr. Grey embark on a more personal relationship together, crossing the lines of conduct that would give any human resource director the vapors!
An aging country singer (Jeff Bridges) finds redemption and romance with a beautiful journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who discovers the man behind the musician.
Elisa Sednaoui appeared in Christopher Thompson's first feature film Bus Palladium, co-starring with Marc André Grondin and Arthur Dupont. The movie is about a rock band called Lust and everything that happens to them on the road.
Kristin Espinasse is the American woman behind the blog French-Word-A-Day.com. Her personal essays make up the books "Words in a French Life" and "Blossoming in Provence." As a columnist at France Today, her back page "Dernier Mot" is read by Francophiles bimonthly. She lives in Provence with her French husband, their two children, and two golden retrievers. Sign up for her free word journal at www.french-word-a-day.com In her latest book of colorful photos and tender essays, Kristin shows us how she overcomes cultural "tests", always finishing with an "A" for amour de la vie!
Sisterhood was founded by Deeyah to help empower young Muslim women by giving them a platform to express their creativity through music and other art forms.
Deeyah founded Memini in early 2011 as a digital memorial for the victims of honour killings worldwide. Memini means remembrance in Latin and it features the stories of young women around the world who have lost their life in the name of family and community honour. Memini aims to include as many stories as possible of these tragic cases to acknowledge what has happened to these women by raising awareness about the extent of the problem of honour killings.
Babel is inarguably one of the best films of 2006. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and his co-writer, Guillermo Arriaga weave together the disparate strands of their story into a finely hewn fabric by focusing on what appear to be several equally incongruent characters: an American (Brad Pitt) touring Morocco with his wife (Cate Blanchett) become the focus of an international incident also involving a hardscrabble Moroccan farmer struggling to keep his two young sons in line and his family together. A San Diego nanny, her employers absent, makes the disastrous decision to take their kids with her to a wedding in Mexico. And a deaf-mute Japanese teen (the extraordinary and beautiful Rinko Kikuchi) deals with a relationship with her father and the world in general that's been upended by the death of her mother. Buy or Rent Film
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats...
take a look