(…) Similar too is the way that this film uses the star personae of its actors to enrich things, whilst also studying some of the same key issues: fear of aging and of being less than you once were. If Mickey Rourke’s own ups and downs were expressed in that last film, then Winona Ryder’s are mined here. Her aging dancer, Beth, was once a star. But now she finds herself no longer wanted and considered too old to play the main role. Portman is the upstart here: the new Winona Ryder.
Once upon a time, Ryder was the young and attractive female lead of Edward Scissorhands, whereas most recently she was Spock’s mum in the latest Star Trek. It is typically bleak of Aronofsky to make this statement, which implies a less than ideal future for Portman, but it certainly works and gives the drama an added dimension, aswell as a sense of hyper-reality amidst the madness and despair. Incidentally, Ryder is also very good in the role, and will certainly be hoping for a Rourke-style comeback of her own. (…)
We normally leave awards show predictions and analysis to our brother blog Gold Derby, but we couldn’t help but notice the first round of reviews for Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.”
While lead Natalie Portman may generate awards buzz for her turn as a tortured ballerina, the early notices for Winona Ryder are what flagged our comeback radar.
Ryder, who makes a brief appearance as an aging dancer being shoved from the spotlight, brings “an almost frighteningly credible neurotic intensity” and “sets the bar high for Portman to match,” according to film critic Todd McCarthy.
This is precisely the kind of delicious, arty-but-campy turn that could propel Ryder back into the mainstream — which frankly she’s been on the margins of since 2002′s “Mr. Deeds,” released shortly after her arrest on shoplifting charges at a Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
We can’t wait to see for ourselves, but we’d love some Winona in the supporting actress category if she makes “Swan” dance.
Venice Festival started today (sadly, Winona didn’t attended but go here if you want to see the other cast member’s photocall), but there’s some reviews around.
Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter: The movie is so damn out-there in every way that you can’t help admiring Aronofsky for daring to be so very, very absurd. “Swan” is an instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what’s so good about it.
Peter DeBruge, Variety: A wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating study of a young dancer’s all-consuming ambition, “Black Swan” serves as a fascinating complement to Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” trading the grungy world of a broken-down fighter for the more upscale but no less brutal sphere of professional ballet. Winona Ryder is a crucial but barely-there part.
Mike Goodridge, Screen: Alternately disturbing and exhilarating, this dark study of a mentally fragile performer derailed by her obsession with perfection is one of the most exciting films to come out of the Hollywood system this year.
Guy Lodge, In Contention: “Black Swan” cements Aronofsky’s place as one of the biggest and most unruly thinkers working in the only notionally small aesthetic of American independent cinema.”
Todd McCarthy, Deep Focus: “When one star is born, however, a previous one must pass by the boards, in this case the aging Beth MacIntyre, played with an almost frighteningly credible neurotic intensity by Winona Ryder that sets the bar high for Portman to match.”
After Esquire posting this beautiful picture, I tried finding it in a better quality. Lucky me (and you all), I found 4 pictures of the same event, in high quality. Back in 1988 Winona did a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” at the Manhattan Center, and this pictures were taken this day. Enjoy!
Esquire Magazine pick up 75 women in history, among politicians, pop stars and other female personalities. Winona Ryder got placed at 58. ♥
We prefer to remember early-’90s Winona. Edward Scissorhands, Mermaids, Dracula, Reality Bites Winona. Charming Winona.
Winona Ryder in Heathers
First of all, the precocious Winona Ryder of four years ago gets credit for having the nerve and intelligence to go after this role to begin with. She knew that the subversive, satirical and blackly humorous script for this film would indeed play on-screen and that she could play in it. So far, it’s the best of the movies she’s been in—and that includes Bram Stoker’s Dracula, folks.
As the disgruntled Veronica in a band of hilariously vicious high-school cliquettes, the other three of whom are all named Heather, Ryder gave a performance that took her out of the screen corps of resonant, prepubescent ducklings and put her in a league of her own, as a smart, unexpectedly beautiful young woman sporting an unearned but charming irony. Hitting upon the perfect strategy for carrying an ultrasurreal girl-coming-of-age story, she plays Veronica as if she were just your average popular girl in a fairly realistic story about the vicissitudes of teen life. Ryder was perfectly aware of the filmmakers’ concept, which was that only the blackest surrealism could get at the reality of teenage humiliation and despair. She knew that if she brought only a normal quantity of sneering, eye-rolling and glaring to the plot points it would all come off as fabulously weird and true. So, as Veronica gets happily seduced by the literally devilish Jason Dean (Christian Slater) and turns semi-wittingly homicidal, Ryder becomes increasingly believable within a revenge fantasy of deliberately increasing unbelievability.
The more outrageous the proceedings (Veronica and Jason knocking off one of the Heathers and two jocks), the more crucial Ryder’s grounded performance becomes, and the more consistently she keeps us involved in Veronica’s confusion and emerging strength of character. None of the actors in this film plays for laughs, which is why it succeeds in making us laugh, but the underlying sincerity in Ryder’s performance is especially important because it is the key to the film’s moral center (and, while making jokes about teen suicide, it does have one). Heathers sets out to redeem teen mentality in the only way possible, by mercilessly eradicating the sentimentality with which its fucked-up cruelties and quests are habitually viewed. Ryder’s vanity-free, dignified take on her ridiculous, conflicted character—whose moment of triumph is to watch her ex-lover blow himself up—serves this purpose well and raises Heathers to the level of a minor classic.