The Return of Winona Ryder

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009

My initial disappointment about missing out on the Berlin Film Festival has certainly been helped by the repeated suggestion that almost everything showing there sucks.

But there was one film for which I had placed my selfish travel wants aside and hoped would be great anyway. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee features the first role with any real potential my beloved Winona Ryder had been given in almost a decade (sure, there was A Scanner Darkly, but she was animated and all so it doesnt 100% count, and while The Ten was fun, it certainly wasn’t up to par with my Winonaspectations).

Sundance after Sundance, we’ve watched every single movie she makes crash, burn and fail to get distribution (The Darwin Awards, The Last Word, The Informers), or just seen films shes made fail to get seen by anyone at all (Sex and Death 101, Water Pills), and probably with good reason.

But when I heard of her casting in Pippa, alongside Julianne Moore, Maria Bello and Robin Wright Penn, among others, my heart skipped: “She’s coming back! After basically wasting the entire ‘00s, probably because any decent film wouldn’t risk insuring her crazy ass, someone was taking a chance on her, and she was going to hit it out of the ballpark and return to form!”

Sure, it looked like a small role, maybe even a cameo.. But it was something! And that cast all-but-ensured it might even screen outside a film festival!

When Pippa screened a few days back in Berlin, I immediately heard whispers it was bad, bad, bad. And I got worried. Variety’s Alissa Simon’s said the film features “cardboard characters and severe problems of tone [that] fatally flaw the awkward satirical relationship drama.” But she didn’t single out Winona, which made me think that she can’t be that bad. Then came The Hollywood Reporter’s review, which said the film’s “frenetic, off-putting script ruins what otherwise might have been an entertaining story about a fascinating woman.” However, reviewer Peter Brunette also said “the acting is top-notch.” But he didn’t single out Winona, which made me think that she can’t be that good.

Finally, there was Screen’s much kinder review. I read the review’s first paragraph: “A grown-up love story that’s rambling, quirky and sharp-eyed about mid-life doldrums, Rebecca Miller’s cinematic adaptation of her own novel works largely because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. An across-the-board solid cast backs up Robin Wright Penn’s enjoyable central performance which, like much of the film, is believable without being entirely naturalistic.” Excited, I started to scan for some mention of Ryder. And there, in the reviews final paragraph, was the glisten of hope: “As well as Moore’s tasty cameo there’s a nice turn from Winona Ryder as Pippa’s fragile poet friend Sandra, a needy, pretty wreck with a tendency to burst into tears.” A nice turn! I knew it!

Judge for yourself at seconds 0:05-0:06 of this promo trailer, where Ryder offers us a facial expression that plays like a portal into the deeply conflict mind of her “fragile poet.”

True, this might just be a small step, and one review that seems to go way against everyone else’s current occasionally doesn’t mean the film is actually good . But I take it as a token that Ryder still has something to offer, and that the first decade of this century will soon just be viewed as a little blip on a life history destined for multiple Oscars, mental stability, and being my best friend forever.

Source: The Lost Boy

8 Comments on “The Return of Winona Ryder”

  1. Nice to hear of this news and welcome back on the screen ! Winona ♪ I have worried about Winona for a long time , I was in bad health for a while but this news made me happy and feel better Thanks for good informations , Luciana (*^o^*)

  2. It does have a nice ring to it1 but for me… she never went away… I have to admit though.. i’m just really itching for a great Winona Ryder period piece…

  3. Thanks for everything , Luciana ! I have heard about donation to keep this site  I don’t have PC right now So, if you are OK , please let me know the address I can send ! (^O^)v

  4. also for mw she never went away!!!!!!!!!I want to see her playing a bie role, but I don’t think it matters!A good actor glows even when he says only a word in a film! and winona is a really good actress and has played in very good film since now! and i think that’s good cause she makes nice choices and she doesn’t play in stupid comedys or other stuff to earn money and publicity! and i really believe that everyone deserves a second chance, so does noni! my e-mail is and i would love to recieve news from her and talk with other fans! I love you winona! you deserve the best!

  5. geee..i’m her big fan since ed scissorhand. And i’m dying to see her in good role…wish she’s great in this one.

    p.s any infos about alpha numeric??

  6. Can’t wait to see Winona again. I’ve always liked her. Very talented. She could always take the role she plays to a higher level with a passion. And yes – she is absolutely beautiful! :love:

  7. you know what this reminds of,?remember in Reality Bites,when Winona says”!YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST COME IN HERE AND PUSH ME AROUND!!??..yeah i guess to me i feels like she never went away either. :bomb: does it ever seem to yall that shes like too cool somehow???cause sometimes to me i mean its like she can just blow my mind even when shes just goofin around.its wild.

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