Aging Well

Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy of blackbiscuits.

io9 is excited about Upside Down because of Jim Sturgess and its authorial and directorial pedigree. Their case is compelling, but I’m also excited by the possibility that Kirsten Dunst could be headed for a comeback.  Dunst is one of those actors who has made terrible choices, but whom I feel sentimental about none the less, and have since she embodied all the reasons I hate Amy March in the Little Women remake, which affected me so deeply when I saw it as a 9-year-old in theaters that a neighbor lady called my mother to make sure I was all right after hearing how hard I cried when Beth died (one of the reasons for my enduring affection for Claire Danes, although Romeo + Juliet has a fair bit to do with that, too).

But it was a pleasure to see Dunst demonstrate serious range in the years beyond my first experience of her.  She was very funny and sweet in both Bring It On and Dick, and I’ve long thought she and Reese Witherspoon could have competed for some of the same parts.  But she was also plausibly messed up and in denial about it in both Crazy/Beautiful and Mona Lisa Smile (and I don’t say that only because I did some set artist work on the latter, which I really should write about some day)–she has dramatic skills I think Witherspoon lacks, which also came beautifully into play in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I thought she wasn’t served particularly well by the declining quality of writing for Mary Jane in the Spider-Man movie, but as retrograde as that “I’m always standing in your doorway” line was, she delivered it with touching conviction.

The last couple of years, she hasn’t made a movie, and I was concerned about the reports that she was in rehab, etc.  But now she’s back, and attached to a handful of other compelling projects in addition to this one.  I’d love to see her make a serious comeback, if only for my own benefit.