Weird Little Girls

I have absolutely no idea what the plot of an Emily the Strange movie might be, or whether it’s a good idea to make a movie of the baby-goth merchandise franchise at all. But given that such a project is going forward, I’m delighted that Chloe Moretz is playing the title role. She’s building up quite the little portfolio: preteen sidekick to a hipster, pint-sized killer, vampire neighbor girl, and now, independent, broody loner. As herself, Moretz seems sweet and adorable, and she’s taken a number of conventional roles, but I’m really quite happy she’s keeping her hand in so many striking and unusual parts.So many young actresses in Hollywood get on the darling career track so early. Emma Roberts has essentially gone from Nancy Drew and Hotel for Dogs to ingenue status. It’s so boring, and predictable, and she doesn’t have anything bizarre enough in there to prove that she can do something else. I have high hopes that Abigail Breslin, just a year older than Moretz, ends up making choices that are more similar to Moretz’s than Roberts’. Her cute little girls have always come across as a bit cracked.It’s not simply that we need more movies about weird children. It’s that if we have a movie culture that respects odd, independent little girls rather than treating them as curiosities or their personalities as things to be grown out of, we might also gain for ourselves a movie culture that allows for unusual, independent women who live through storylines other than those that concern love, marriage, and childbearing. What we sow now, we reap later. We can’t expect movies to dramatically change themselves in an instant, but neither can we accept the inevitability of the miserable fare served to us now. Moretz can be one of our champions, if we’re willing to back her, and fiercely.

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