One of the many brilliant things about Lili Taylor is that while she is an actor, she has never been a ham. Nor a showboat. Nor a fame chaser. Nor a glamour puss. In fact, she seems exactly the opposite. With her hushed voice and sly grin, Lili has always had an enigmatic elfin quality. She seems both organically shy yet unwaveringly direct. Throughout her eclectic career, the Sundance staple has blazed an independent trail that champions off-beat and even off-putting characters. That more than a couple of those characters have been gay (“Prêt-à-Porter,” “I Shot Andy Warhol,” “Gaudi Afternoon,“ and “Julie Johnson” to name a few) certainly doesn’t hurt either. Still the women she plays are, above all, complex. That demand for complexity could come from the fact that she owns some 800-1,000 books. Be still my heart.
But when I first heard that Lili had signed on to star in a Lifetime series, my heart sank. Oh, Lili, no! Not Television for Women! But the more I read about her show, “State of Mind,” the more I understood her decision. Plus at age 40, she probably saw that the interesting roles for women on film kept dwindling while the interesting roles for women on television kept getting stronger. The series has gotten good reviews which upgrade to glowing when talk of Lili’s portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Ann Bellowes begins. Despite my Lifetime Movie of the Week prejudices, I’m going to try to catch the show when it premieres Sunday. (The impatient can catch it now. The premiere is streaming on Lifetimetv.com.) I think I owe Lili at least that much. After all, she gave the world 63 of the best breakup song pretty much ever. Sure, Joe lies when he cries. But Lili beguiles when she smiles. Happy weekend, all.