Who else but Tilda Swinton could’ve starred in a movie like Orlando (1992)? Who else, upon waking up with a different sex, could plausibly react with a calm surprise, even amusement, that quickly turns to delight? Who else could then turn to the camera with a beatific smile, gazing into the viewer’s soul and making the fourth wall melt away as if it had never been there? No one, I believe, but Tilda.
Honestly, Tilda’s ethereal demeanor and her sun-dappled, androgynous beauty put this scene on par with a religious experience. It’s hard to picture another actor or actress so otherwordly, so precise in his/her every movement or gesture, so serene as to be able to pull this moment off. Only Tilda, with her Jarman-bred poise and her curious warmth, could play Orlando like this and get away with it. She owns this movie—and my heart.