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Gabourey Sidibe

Will we lose Intelligent cred for putting a movie in today’s issue? We think not.

Alan Alda played the hateful cynical hypocrite.

Last night, reeling from overabundant Thanksgiving feasting, we were at short ends for the evening. More work was out, the kitchen was clean, family and guests all packed up and on their way to wherever, and leftovers parceled out to them too. Shopping and battling hordes of consumers seemed wrong. Dinner out and a movie felt right. The after-dinner coin toss put popcorn and tickets in our hands for Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Tea Leoni, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, and my new favorite actor, Gaborey Sidibe.

While ratings for this film were mediocre at best (average 62% liked it), we’ll bet the house viewers felt that sweet certain sense of righteousness, and kinship, with the story line: A 21st-century Robin Hood steals from a Bernie Madoff-like character to make good the victims of a pension-fund theft. Ho-hum…

We want to tell you about Gaborey Sidibe.

Sidibe plays a Jamaican-born maid threatened with deportation by Shaw’s theft. To perform her character’s Jamaican accent, Sidibe had three dialect coaches help her prepare and practiced with a friend of Jamaican heritage. She also worked with an actual safecracker to accurately portray breaking into locks.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, she was raised in Harlem. Her mother, is a R&B and gospel singer, and her Senegal-born father is a cab driver. She attended Borough of Manhattan Community College, City College of New York, and Mercy College.

We first saw Sidibe’s award winning work in Precious – a stunning portrayal of abject poverty and neglect in America’s wealthiest city. Sidibe’s gift to acting is an ingenuous ability to portray emotion in unexpected lightning-like speed from desperation to intelligence to humor and sadness. If this original and successful portrayal of quiet strength and raw power becomes her acting nom-de-guerre (we loved her character in both Precious and Tower Heist), can we tell you how much we anticipate her next work?

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