Monday, 23 May 2011

“I’d like to grow up and be beautiful. I know it doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t hurt.” ~Kirsten Dunst

So I've been a fan of Kirsten Dunst for a very long time. Many of my friends don't like her for that wretched Mary Jane Watson role, but they barely look past it. I think the first film of hers that I saw was the fantasy-film Jumanji. She was so sweet in it, a typical older sister, who had because of the game been released into this world of surprising horrors and insane jungle-stuff. Prior to Jumanji, she had been in a few other films, most notably Interview with the Vampire and Little Women. Both adaptations of famous books; in the first she played Claudia- a young vampire who lives with fellow-vampires Lestat and Louis, played by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt respectively. It was a very interesting role, certainly a predecessor to the young vampires we see everywhere now. I remember feeling very bad for her, never being able to grow up along with growing old, along with that strange relationship she had with both men. I though she was particularly powerful because she did demand my attentions in her scenes more than her much more accomplished co-stars. She played the younger Amy in Little Women, who is my least favourite March sister, but she was absolutely adorable in the role. From her nose-worries, to being a total brat, to having that very special relationship with Laurie (a very young Christian Bale).

I think Kiki was the quintessential teen-star, something that many of her successors have tried to be, but unfortunately failed. I think it's her blonde locks, and joyful face and sweet voice. This worked behind many of her late 90s-early 2000 films like Strike, Bring it On, Drop Dead Gorgous and The Virgin Suicides. The first two are much lighter roles like the cheerleader Torrance in Bring it On. She's funny and preppy and just plain contagious. I mean how can one not know all the cheers by rote, right? The latter two are much darker roles. I think as Amber Atkins in Drop Dead Gorgeous, she perfected the bright-eyed, beautiful, smart teenager-look that a teen-film like this needs as its protagonist. In all the craziness of the film, her character remains the only sane one. Now Virgin Suicides, which was done much before these, is one of her darkest roles to date. She played one of the younger Lisbon sisters, whose lives are doomed as shown by the title of the film itself. She's the main one, without doubt, just the kind of beauty that all the boys in the film are after... with darker undertones. 

After all of these, she did her most famous role to date- Mary Jane Watson, the love-interest of Peter Parker and his alter ego Spiderman. She was not that annoying in the first one, but as the films kept coming, the more and more I found myself hating this character. Infact, it's number 2 on my most annoying film-characters list, preceded by Bella Swan and followed by Frodo Baggins. While it did what she wanted it to do for her career, that is make her well-known all over the world, it did become one of the most stereotypical damsel-in-distress roles ever.

In between, she tried to let go of her teenage image by choosing more adult, or rather young adult roles. She was there in Michel Gondry-Charlie Kaufman modern classic- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Her character Mary was this naive girl who is infatuated with her much older employer. he starred in the ensemble female-drama Mona Lisa Smile, a film set in the early 50s, which questioned the role of women in society then. She played a very traditionalist, headstrong character Betty, who is found often sparring with her free-minded teacher, played by Julia Roberts. While it's one of her least-likeable roles, she does adopt the look of a Stepford-ish housewife really well. She was also there in romantic films like Elizabethtown and Wimbledon, the latter being a particular favourite of mine. I liked her relationships with her heroes in these films- Orlando Bloom in the first and one very fit Paul Bettany in the second. 

After these came Marie Antoinette, which is the last film that I've seen of her, save Spiderman 3. I've written time and again about how much I love this film, and how much I love her in it. She got back together with her Virgin Suicides-director, Sofia Coppola and made one of the most unique period films ever. She's just transplendent in it. She looks uncommonly beautiful- a sort of decadence with the freshness of youth, and ofcourse those marvelous clothes and jewelery and hair. She plays the ill-fated monarch from her blooming early teens till her death in her twenties, which is a major part of any girl's life. In that time she has to get her prince to impregnate her, get love from her country, get respect from her mother, and have lots and lots of fun (and candy =P). Of course things do not go that way, and Kiki in the end is just so impactful, that atleast I felt like saving her.

Now the reason why I am writing this whole ode to Kirsten Dunst is because she has won the Best Actress award in Cannes for her upcoming film Melancholia! I am so happy that she is going to finally get the critical appreciation that she has worked so long to get. I thought that this looked bleak after the ban put on it's director Lars Von Trier, for his "Pro-Nazi" comments, but she did it. I will definitely be watching this film, which looks very intriguing from the trailer, and for her ofcourse. She also will be playing Camille in Walter Salles's adaptation of Beat-epic On The Road. I just can't wait!


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