The Daily Stream: Enchanted Should've Won Amy Adams An Oscar, Change My Mind

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Enchanted"

Where You Can Stream It: Disney+

The Pitch: Giselle (Amy Adams) is a beautiful young maiden who lives in the fairy-tale land of Andalasia, spending her days frolicking with her talking woodland friends and dreaming of her one true love. Sure, she hasn't met him yet, but that doesn't make it any less true. So it's quite fortuitous when she falls right in the lap of the handsome Prince Edward (James Marsden) after he saves her from a troll attack. He declares they will be married in the morning, and Giselle is delighted to have found her happily ever after. Or has she? Prince Edward's evil stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), is threatened by Giselle's arrival and casts a magic spell to send her to a place where there are "no happily ever afters": New York City. Frightened and alone, Giselle is discovered and taken in by cynical divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey) who, with the bubbly Giselle's help, begins to believe in true love, too.

Why It's Essential Viewing

I know that people will have come to this article to either contest or agree with my headline, so let me address this straightaway: Amy Adams is one of the best actresses of her generation, and the fact that she has no Oscars to show for it is perhaps one of the biggest injustices in Hollywood. Adams has six Oscar nominations under her belt, the first of which she deservedly earned for "Junebug," the 2005 indie comedy-drama that served as her breakout film. But two years later, she would star in "Enchanted," a hybrid live-action/animated Disney fairy tale satire that would not have become the surprise sensation it was without her unparalleled talents. And she didn't even get an Oscar nomination for it.

"But HT," you might ask, "why would anyone nominate Adams for a part in a silly little Disney movie?" Hokey as it may be, exceptionally cheesy as it is, "Enchanted" is more than a silly little movie. And that's thanks to Adams' dedicated performance as the fairy tale princess who suddenly finds herself thrust into reality.

Anyone can do a fish out of water tale, but Adams throws her whole body at the role, perfectly inhabiting the part of the animated Disney princess who is transformed into a real person. She's completely convincing as a real-life animated character, from her lilting, high-pitched voice, to her delicate physicality (look at her hands!) and astonishing capacity for slapstick. Adams gives a performance that's halfway between an animated Disney princess and a Disneyland princess impersonator — somehow never quite veering into the pantomime of the latter. And most miraculously, her performance never grates. This is arguably harder to do than the showier roles that Adams would get praised for later in her career, like in "American Hustle," or the intense, internalized performances that she's so deftly pulled off in films like "Arrival" or shows like "Sharp Objects." Adams manages to play a character delusionally cheerful and naïve without becoming the butt of the joke, while never missing a beat or a note. It's a magical performance that I can only compare to Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music": so effortlessly charming, gracious, and, well, enchanting.

Satire Never Tasted So Sweet

One of the biggest things that surprised me upon rewatching "Enchanted" for the first time in years (other than the sad realization that the equally incredible Marsden has been completely misused by Hollywood) is that despite being a self-effacing satire of Disney fairy tales, Kevin Lima's 2007 hybrid comedy is completely earnest. "Enchanted" was kind of a proto-nicecore film, preceding such sincere poptimist comedies like "The Good Place" and "Ted Lasso" — kind of an achievement when you consider the mean, borderline nasty humor that was du jour in the mid-2000s. And yet it wasn't overwhelmingly corny, thanks to the healthy dose of sexual innuendo sprinkled throughout the film (this movie is really horny!) and the absolute banger of a soundtrack — one that managed to earn a handful of Best Original Song nominations at the Oscars, even if its lead actress was rudely snubbed.

It will be interesting to see, once the sequel rolls around, where "Enchanted" fits in our current landscape — one in which nicecore is widely embraced and Adams is accepted as one of our greatest frequently-snubbed actresses. Could "Disenchanted" capture the same lightning in a bottle as "Enchanted" did 14 years ago? Despite the odds leaning in their favor, I somehow kind of doubt it. You can't cook up that kind of magic twice.