How Ian McKellen Uses His Eyes to Convey Emotion

Video essayist and web producer Evan Puschak aka The Nerdwriter takes a deep look at the way legendary actor Ian McKellen employs his bright baby blues to communicated with particular nuance to his scenes. Puschak zeroes in McKellen’s role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings film series, noting that as the story’s moral center, it was up to Gandolf to make himself understood in every possible way.

Sometimes in film we don’t really hear something until we see someone hearing it…when Frodo makes his momentous decision to take the ring to Mordor. I always tear up at this scene, but not when Frodo says his line, just after it. It’s the simple act of Gandolf closing his eyes that brings it home for me. The emotion is almost indescribable – a mix of love, fear, resignation, pride. …Really, putting it all into words defeats the purpose. It’s all the significance of that choice in a look.