Courtney Love has lived a life full of drama that has played out in the public eye – both by her own hand and because some of her antics have been so outlandish that a public debacle was unavoidable.
The only reason I think of her now is that she has appeared in small but somewhat tantalizing guest roles in a few shows lately – first as a preschool teacher in Sons of Anarchy and as a hitman in the increasingly ridiculous Revenge. Then I read that she plays a role in Empire (one of the few shows it seems I have not seen).
I can’t judge Love and some of her seemingly odd life choices, but in seeing these very brief appearances on TV, I started to wonder what kind of performances we may have missed from her because of these odd life choices and seeming derailments. She showed tremendous promise and generated buzz in a few film appearances that coincided with the height of her band’s fame (Hole, for anyone who doesn’t know, however improbable that is). I can’t claim to know what she was going through privately, but I wonder sometimes whether, had she continued acting really actively, her skills would have been honed. Where would she be now? She’s doing a fabulous job in these small roles – and standing out doing it (not just because she is Courtney Love). But what more might she have done had she focused? (And not knowing everything, I don’t know if it has a lot to do with focus.) When we have seen glimpses of a sane and talented actress in Love, I have to ask what more we might have seen?
I don’t find myself thinking this way about most actors – maybe I think of her because it feels like so much promise squandered. Maybe not “squandered” as much not living up to full potential. Maybe because I can never decide if Love is a misguided lunatic genius or a misguided lunatic idiot.