American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

American Horror Story: 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

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Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson are two of American Horror Story’s most iconic actresses, but which of the two is the most memorable?

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American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

American Horror Story deserves a lot of credit for continuing to tell captivating stories, even after having been on the air for nine seasons. Anyone who has seen a couple of the early seasons of the show knows that a lot of its success can be attributed to the great cast, and two people in particular: Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson.

These two formidable actresses bring their strongest game to each and every episode, and there are a lot of good reasons to think that each of them deserves the title of the best recurring actress on this show.

10 Jessica Lange: The Way She Portrays Abject Femininity

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

In every season that she appeared, Lange managed to capture a particular type of femininity, one that frequently ventured into the abject. While her characters often began from positions of strength, they would often descend into the darkness, whether of depression or simply cruelty.

The brilliance of Lange’s performance was that she could make audiences both love and revile these characters, sometimes in the very same scene. It is, quite simply, always a pleasure to see her acting on the screen.

9 Sarah Paulson: Her Characters’ Perseverance

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

Sarah Paulson’s characters likewise have to endure quite a lot during their time on the show, whether that’s being imprisoned in a mental institution or having to survive and try to undo the apocalypse itself. Somehow, though, Paulson manages to make each of her characters into a survivor.

It’s impossible not to admire and cheer for her characters, as they manage to carve out their own destiny, despite often facing almost insurmountable odds and all manner of suffering. It’s thus really a shame Paulson didn’t appear in 1984.

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8 Jessica Lange: Her Characters’ Moral Ambiguity

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

It takes a particularly talented sort of actress to really capture the moral ambiguity at the heart of human behavior, and no one can do that with quite as much grace and panache as Jessica Lange. One can see this in some of her other roles, and she’s had some really great ones, but it’s particularly obvious in her turns as Elsa in the fourth season and as Sister Jude in the second.

These are terrible people, certainly, and the actress rarely gets to portray characters who aren’t morally grey at best, but Lange allows them to have some measure of redemption.

7 Sarah Paulson: Her Characters Are Survivors

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

One thing that’s impossible not to admire about Paulson’s character is their ability to survive. In every season that she’s appeared in, she’s played women who manage to overcome truly tremendous odds to become heroines.

One need only look at Lana Winters, who truly endured more than any person should, or Ally Mayfair-Richards, who watched her personal life fall apart, to see how Paulson really excels at playing these characters and allows the viewer to truly sympathize with their situations.

6 Jessica Lange: The Way She Takes No Prisoners

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

One of the things that fans miss most about Jessica Lange is the way that she portrayed characters who had a take no prisoners approach to life. These were women who knew what they wanted and weren’t afraid to claim it, no matter who they had to step on in the process.

It would have been easy to make them into little more than caricatures, but, in her extraordinarily capable hands, they became women that the audience could cheer for, even as they condemned some of their worst actions.

5 Sarah Paulson: The Way She Combines Strength And Vulnerability

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

In her recent turn in Ratched, which is sometimes even scarier than AHS, Paulson showed that she has that ability, somewhat rare among actresses, to capture both strength and vulnerability, often in the same moment for a character.

The same is true of each of her appearances in AHS. Look, for example, at Ally, who poisons her own wife, and yet, even as she watches her die in front of her, she still has something more than a little vulnerable about her. It takes a very special sort of actress to pull that off, and Paulson is it.

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4 Jessica Lange: Her Hidden Vulnerability

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

No matter how wicked or hard her characters could be, almost all of Lange’s creations had an inner vulnerability that they were often very reluctant to share with the world. Every now and again, however, they would let the mask slip, and viewers could see the hurt and the anguish lurking just beneath the surface.

Think of Elsa, for example, who ran her freak show with an iron fist, but, in the privacy of her own tent, showed that she herself had no legs. It was a striking moment precisely Lange managed to capture the pathos of this moment.

3 Sarah Paulson: Her Characters’ Complex Victimhood

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

It would be too easy to see that many of Paulson’s characters are victims. While it is true that her characters endure more than almost any other actor that turns up again and again in the show, it has to be said that she imbues this victimhood with a great deal of complexity. She might suffer, but she ultimately takes that suffering and turns it into her own form of strength, and one can see this reflected in every single aspect of Paulson’s performance.

2 Jessica Lange: The Way She Always Achieves Redemption

American Horror Story 5 Ways Jessica Lange Is The Best On The Show (& 5 Ways It’s Sarah Paulson)

Given all of the horrible things that many of Lange’s characters do—such as imprisoning people in an asylum—it has to be said that she very often receives a form of absolution, some little bit of redemption that allows the viewer to not totally hate her. This is a particularly difficult challenge for any actress, but, somehow, Lange makes it look easy, turning her characters from stereotype and simplicity into rich and compelling complexity.

1 Sarah Paulson: That She Played Three Different Characters In One Season

One of the greatest things about this show is that, as an anthology series, it resets with every season, so that one doesn’t have a chance to get bored with any particular character, even though they are also connected in some interesting and complex ways. Every so often, however, it comes about that an actress gets to play two different roles in the same season, which is what happened with Paulson in Apocalypse.

Here, she played not only a witch, but also a medium and a tyrannical ruler of a post-apocalyptic outpost. Somehow, Paulson managed to give all of them the same amount of depth and complexity, with several details that even devoted fans probably missed.

Link Source : https://screenrant.com/american-horror-story-jessica-lange-sarah-paulson-best-characters/

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