The Flix List: Five noteworthy young actresses (under 30)

A week ago, I posted the five noteworthy young actors (under 30) list, and a loyal reader Julian asked if there is a female counterpart to this post. Why of course! Took me a while to get the write-up for each, but picking them was easy.

  1. Emily Blunt (27)
    Everyone who’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada would vouch that the English starlet stole scenes as the sardonic fashion assistant. Not too long after that I saw her playing a completely different character in The Jane Austen Book Club as Prudie, the young French teacher on the brink of an affair with his student. I adore her in this movie, she just screams sophistication and elegance, but still gives that icy undercurrent that adds to her allure. She was also terrific in The Young Victoria, a role which nabbed her a Golden Globes nomination.

    Her new movie Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon has been pushed back to next March 2011.
  2. Abbie Cornish (27)
    I’ve only seen two of her movies, but that’s enough to see what a gifted performer she is. That’s why I’ve picked her as one of my Top Ten Aussie Actors, and in my review of Bright Star, I mentioned that she really was the brightest thing about the biopic of John Keats. Her portrayal of the lovestruck Fanny Brawne was simply breathtaking that I believe she was robbed of some major nominations that year. Recently I rented A Good Year, and Abbie totally could hold her own opposite Russell Crowe. I’d love to see the two work together again in the future.

    Cornish is one of the girl fighters in the Zack Snyder’s fantasy thriller Sucker Punch.
  3. Natalie Portman (29)
    I almost didn’t include her in this list thinking that Natalie is already over 30. I guess the Israeli-born actress is a bit of an old soul. Her feature film debut at the age of 11 in The Professional (or Léon internationally) was a dark, indelible performance. No wonder it got people talking and still referred to as one of her best roles.  She garnered worldwide fame when cast as Queen Amidala in Star Wars, but continue to balance her blockbuster projects with a more personal independent projects. In between two Star Wars films, she nabbed an Oscar nomination playing a stripper in the drama Closer. She was compelling as Evey in the sci-fi thriller V for Vendetta, one of those rare beauty who still looks stunning even with a bald head!

    Portman’s next projects include the comic adaptation Thor and a bizarre project called Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.
  4. Keira Knightley (25)
    A lot of people probably saw Keira for the first time in Star Wars without realizing who she was. She played Queen Amidala’s decoy as obviously she bears a striking resemblance to Portman. According to IMDb trivia, when in makeup, not even the mothers of the actresses could tell them apart! Well, suffice to say she’s come a long way since then. The waif actress has grown to be a remarkable actress and has chosen her roles quite well, varying between tomboy-ish roles (Domino, King Arthur) and romantic leading lady (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice). I initially thought she was far too pretty to play Elizabeth Bennett, but her earthy quality and down-to-earth portrayal made the portrayal quite believable.

    Her new movie Never Let Me Go is out on limited release in mid September.
  5. Ellen Page (23)
    The fresh-faced Canadian is easily one of the most talented young actors of this generation. It doesn’t take an Oscar nomination (for Juno) for people to realize that, though that certainly is well-deserved. She comes across as the brainy girl, though there’s a sinister side of her if you’ve seen even a glimpse of Hard Candy, which will make any pedophile shudder at what a seemingly-wholesome teen is capable of. Christopher Nolan obviously thought highly of her when he cast her in a key role in Inception.

    Next up for Miss Page is the action/comedy Super with Rainn Wilson.

Honorable Mentions (I will add this feature to the actors post as well):

  • Carey Mulligan (Haven’t seen An Education yet, but I hear she’s quite good)
  • Anna Kendrick (Fantastic in Up in the Air, can’t believe she’s the same girl in Twilight!)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Love her in Lost in Translation, but hasn’t impressed me in other stuff lately)
  • Chloe Moretz (Impressive as the wise-beyond-her-years sister of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer
  • Saiorse Ronan (Delivered a brilliant performance as the young Briony in Atonement. A challenging role for anyone at any age, let alone a 13 year-old!)

Ok folks, your turn. Which young actress(s) have impressed you lately?

25 thoughts on “The Flix List: Five noteworthy young actresses (under 30)

  1. Ellen Page has never impressed me (though she was fair in Whip It), and I have a feeling she may never. Oh well, Carey, Keira, Abbie, Scarlett and possibly Soairse or Emily or Natalie (though she hasn’t impressed me in much lately).

    For me Chloe Mortez seems only able to play one role: precocious.

    1. Ok I got a confession. I originally had Saiorse as number 5, as come to think of it I was more impressed by her as Briony than Ellen in most of her movies. But Saiorse is still so young, she’ll be in my future list for sure.

  2. Good list. I can’t think of anyone to add. Sadly, I think ScarJo is over … she has been skating by on her looks. Not a good actress, alas. I’ve seen her in quite a few things, too, because she’s my husband’s Russell Crowe. 🙂

    1. Actually, no Anne Hathaway? She’s got another couple of years…I haven’t seen Rachel Getting Married yet, but she’s supposed to be quite impressive. Her counterpart in Brokeback Mountain (which I also haven’t seen), Michelle Williams, turns 30 in September, and also gets a lot of attention.

      1. Y’know, it’s funny but the first time I saw her in Lost in Translation I had the opposite reaction. I thought she was rather plain looking but I was impressed by her performance. But lately, she capitalized on her buxom look so much it’s annoying. I think I figured out the reason I didn’t love The Prestige. ScarJo’s casting! Her British accent (or lack thereof) was annoying as heck. Utterly useless in Iron Man 2 as well, I mean it made me like Gwyneth more, imagine that.

        As for Hathaway, yeah she’s ok I guess, haven’t seen either film you mentioned so I’ll take your word for it. She wasn’t memorable in Becoming Jane, and in ‘Prada,’ Emily Blunt’s character was more impactful.

  3. Nice list Ruth! Agree with your picks although I haven’t seen anything from Abbie Cornish. I do disagree with Scar-Jo in your honorable mention though, she is doing the same thing every single time which is to consistently underplay a character and pass that as real acting. Someone should let her know underplaying and being wooden are two different things!! 😉

    1. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of miss Cornish, she’s massively talented. Y’know, Scar-Jo would never come close to being in my list had it not been for LiT. She is extremely wooden I agree, and whatever her interpretation of sultry is… it actually comes across more like the slutty.

  4. Julian

    Yay i got a mention =D. If you like Ellen page, you should see Peacock(it stars a cross-dressing Cillian Murphy as the main character). In a way i think of her as the anti-Micheal Cera, as in she managed to break away from the awkward teen roles on to more unique material, which Michael seems to have great difficulty doing. I was honestly surprised at your inclusion of Keira and Natelie, mainly because you seem to be into the lesser known actors/actresses, and i figured they would be too “big” for you to include. Not trying to be insulting or anything, just surprised. And now for my picks

    My first choice is someone who is most likely unknown to anyone who hasn’t watched True Blood. Her name is Deborah Ann Woll, and she plays Jessica. In my opinion, Jessica is one of the more complex characters on the show, and has gone through a wide range of emotions, ranging from obnoxious to vulnerable. And in my opinion Deborah has played all of her emotions perfectly. I truly hope starts getting movie roles soon, as she IMO deserves a bigger fanbase beyond True Blood.

    Amy Acker is another choice of min for her role in ANgel as Fred/Illyria(i put the / because she played two characters on the same show. And notably, the characters were totally different, Fred was a akward science nerd, and Illyria was a demon thing that took over Freds body. And she played each role seamlessly) and for her role on Dollhouse. I think she is incredibly talented, although i do find her a bit too skinny. But skinny or not, she can give a damm good performance

    I also liked Hayden Panettiere. Yes she has a generic blond look, but i liked her performance as Claire in Heroes.

    Summer Glau impressed me with her role in Terminator, and i liked her cameo on Dollhouse, though unfortunately i think she sometimes rely’s on the strange girl role a bit too often

    I also include Isabelle Fuhrman, for her performance in Orphan. I think for someone that young to give such a good performance with a character as twisted as Esther is remarkable. She was totally believable in that role, and i was shocked to find out her real age.

    And i know this will porbablt get me many flames, but i do think Lindsay Lohan is a good actress. I liked her role in mean Girls, but right after that her career went downhill(although i liked her performance in Bobby). I only wish she would get her personal life in order and get back to actual acting. I do think she has talent, but IMO she has wasted it and turned her career into a joke. I think she has to do a really intense role(LIke Angelina Jolie’s role in A Might Heart)’to get her career back on line. I know that you referred her as more of a celebrity than a actress, and i do respect your opinion, but i do believe she can act when she wants to

    And i think Elizabeth Banks deserves a honorable mention for her role in The Uninvited. I think she gave a pretty good performance for someone who normally does more comedic roles.

    And i think that’s all…for now at least 😛

    1. Julian

      Oh and i saw Rachael Getting Married, and i think Anne Hathaway gave a good performance.

      And i just realized Elizabeth banks is probably over 30, but i really wanted to mention her for some reason.

      1. I’ve heard good things about her performance in that, but I have no interest in seeing that for some reason.

        Anyhoo, speaking of Banks, if you like her then you probably have heard of this Untitled Comedy ensemble project? I blogged about it a while a go: http://wp.me/pxXPC-16t

        Check out the cast!

    2. He..he.. I’ve been waiting for you to pop up, Julian. I’ll see Peacock more for Cillian, Novroz from Novroz’s Favorite Thing has lots of good things to say about it, well about Cillian mostly 🙂 Anti-Michael Cera, interesting notion. She seems pretty versatile, but the key is in how she chooses her roles.
      Yeah, I do prefer lesser-known actors, but at the same time, I give credit where it’s due, regardless of fame. I don’t think Keira nor Natalie have let fame go to their heads and they still choose smaller roles as well as more high-profile ones.
      I don’t watch hardly any TV and I don’t have cable, which explains the lack of TV actress in my list 🙂

      Speaking of True Blood, Anna Paquin probably worth a mention also. Sorry, no love for Panettiere from me, she’s kind of boring in Heroes actually, but Summer Glau did impressed me in the few episodes I saw of Sarah Connor. Fuhrman looks terrifying in the Orphan poster. Speaking of which, I’m forgetting two young European performers: Cantica Untaru from The Fall and Ivana Baquero from Pan’s Labyrinth, they were both VERY impressive!

      Y’know, I’m not going to disagree with you on LiLo, it’s just too bad she simply couldn’t appreciate the opportunities she was given. How many starving actors out there would kill for what she got.

      I did think about miss Banks, but yep, she is over 30, and so is Amy Adams.

      Thanks for your long comment, sorry took me a while to respond back to you.

      1. Julian

        Everyone in Peacock gives a good performance. A well acted movie IMO. And i think either Michael has either gotten lazy, or Ellen has a better agent…or a combination of both. And i actually just tried to find a movie with Amy Acker in it…and couldn’t find one. Guess she really likes tv to movies. A bit of a shame IMO. I think she could get a successful movie career going if she tried.

        And as for me, i judge actors by there talent. Whether they are A list elite(LIke Angelina Jolie, who so far has IMO given a well acted believable performance in everything i’ve seen her in) or complete unknowns(like Deborah Ann Woll) i judge them by there acting.

        And actually Anna Paquins performance in TB can be…divisive among fans, to say the least. I think her performance can be off sometimes, but i don’t know whether that’s due to her acting or just the way True Blood is written(i love the show, but i don’t think its perfect). But so far, the actress from that show who has most captured my attention is Deborah Ann Woll, although that is probably because jessica is my favorite character from it…and she is easy on the eyes too 😛

        And if Hayden doesn’t work for you i’m not going to try to change your opinion. I respect your opinion, but for me her performance in heroes was great.

        And Summer Glau is good, but so far her range seems limited. Her role on dollhouse was very similar to her role on the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

        And Fuhrman gave a equally terrifying performance. if you’re ever bored and don’t have something to watch, i would suggest renting Orphan, just for her performance. Her performance alone is just that good.

        And somehow i figured you would disagree with me on Lohan. But yes, with the opportunities she’s been given she and her talent she should be a well respected actress by now, instead of a industry joke. I always hold out faint hope that she can turn her career around, as naive as that may be.

        And i’m not actually a huge Miss banks fan, i just think for a actress who normally does comedic roles to give a good dramatic performance like she did The Uninvited is noteworthy. And i always like to give my props to actress/actors who step out of there comfort zone and try something new

        And while i do still recommend Rachael getting Married, if you don’t want to see it that’s fine with me. And i also think Sarah Michele Gellar is a noteworthy actress, though she isn’t under 30(just wanted to mention her). And Ivana Baquero played the little girl right?

        1. Hello Julian, hope you’re well wherever you are! Novroz will love you for your Peacock comment, she likes that movie. Some TV actresses are actually very talented, it’s just a matter of time they’d cross-over to movies. Some probably prefer to do TV work for the stability though, steady paycheck and location.

          Yep, I judge actors by their merit too, though with some actors, their ‘believability’ seems to decrease as they can’t ‘disappear’ into a role as well as they did before their fame. I’ll make a post about that topic one of these days.

          Oh, so that’s what Deborah looks like (I had to Google her), you like red heads, eh? 🙂
          I think you’re right about Summer, she has been playing a variety of her Firefly role, so not exactly branching out. She used to be a ballerina I think, that’s why she seems so nimble in those action sequences.

          He..he.. I don’t like horror movies, so if I’m bored, Orphan would never be the one I’d pick up 🙂 I’ll just take your word for it that Fuhrman is good.
          As for Lohan, my classic fix contributor Vince also agreed with you that she isn’t too bad of an actress, if she tries that is. She’s still young though, and I’d like to think nobody is a lost cause, and who knows maybe one day she snaps out of it and get her life together. It’ll be a long road ahead of her to get the industry to trust her again though.

          Are you a Buffy fan that’s why you mentioned SMG? I only saw her in Cruel Intentions, despicable movie but she and Reese Witherspoon were pretty good playing such loathsome characters.

          Yep, Ivana is the little girl, that was such a violent movie for a little girl to be involved in though.

          1. Julian

            And i can see how tv might be more stable work than movies. Although i still believe Amy Acker has the versatility to pull off a movie career(I think Angel demonstrated this the best. Fred and Illyria were such completely different characters, and she always remained believable. I think a lot of actresses would have difficult going from playing a neurotic science nerd to a pissed off demon lady, but the transition was seamless. And she demonstrated that same versatility in Dollhouse.)

            I can see how fame might make it harder for a actor or actress to disappear into a role, but i think with enough talent they can overcome that. I think ANgelina Jolie is the best example of this. Every role i’ve seen her in, she seems to truly become that role. And yes, i do have a weakness for the redheads 😛 I do hope that Deborah eventually does get a movie career going. I think her performance in True Blood has shown she has the versatility for a successful movie career.

            And i hope Summer does something different soon. And the ballerina thing makes sense. And i forgot you don’t watch horror movies. I tried to look for something else she’s done, but i didn’t see any other movies in her imdb profile(with the exception of one movie i’ve never seen or heard of, and it was only a voice role according to imdb)

            And i suppose i just want the actress that impressed me in Mean Girls back.

            Yeah, Buffy is the main reason i mentioned SMG. She played a lot of different emotions throughout the show, and it always felt real. And in everything else i’ve seen her in she always gives a good performance. She is one name that will make me check out a movie i might not normally have a strong inclination to see(I am anticipating Veronika Decides to Die because she plays the main character)

            And yes, Pans Labyrinth was a rather violent for a little girl to be involved in, but i think some children can handle more adult content, and its possible she didn’t see the whole movie to minimize her exposure. I remember reading somewhere a young actress in Mad Men sees a edited version of the show without the adult content, or something like that.

            Oh, i saw Losers a few days ago, and Zoe Saldana(she was in Avatar) gave a good performance. Her career seems to be on the upswing, and so far she hasn’t given a bad performance, IMO anyways

            1. Can’t comment on the TV stuff as I don’t watch much of it. As for Jolie, I used to think that pre-Brangelina, but now all I see is her persona, the superwoman (well she thinks she is anyway) with a bazillion kids married to a heartthrob movie star she deemed ‘the one’ I kinda lost interest in her over time.

              Saldana has tons of potential, I saw her in The Terminal and she played such a low key character, so different from the ones we see of her lately. We’ll see if she continues to pursue challenging roles in the future.

  5. Oh Emily Blunt is in the top ten list of my all time favourite actresses. She has something that we rarely see these days in the celebrity world – magical and almost ethereal charisma. Something that only Blanchett and Zeta Jones have in Hollywood.

    I must admit that ladies in places 3.4. and 5. always make me not wanna see a film and if I see their names on the casting list I do not pay any more attention to those projects.

    Beside Emily Blunt I’d add some other names to your list – Rose Byrne, Amanda Seyfried, Bruce Dallas Howard, Emily Browning, Gemma Arterton, MAggie Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams and maybe Amy Adams 🙂

    1. Ethereal charisma… hmmm, I don’t reckon she has wings? But yeah, she is pretty alright.

      Ok Dez, I asked you before I think why you didn’t like Portman, but no answer 😦 Sounds like you REALLY don’t like ’em. Do you just not like their performance/screen presence or something else??

      Rose and Bryce are good indeed, haven’t seen any Amanda movie, never heard of Emily Browning, and Gemma is kinda overexposed that I’m tired of seeing her already. The rest are over 30 🙂

      1. Well, I believe that Portman, Knightley, Johannson and Page aren’t good actresses because they have absolutely no facial expression, are always plastic and non-profound in their performances, they show no acting intelligence when approaching their roles.
        Some of their performances like Portman’s portrayal of Amidala in STAR WARS are the school examples of utterly ridiculous acting and absolute absence of any emotions and deeper thoughts while trying to depict the character.
        Portman and Johansson can’t even use their voices in a proper way, the first one always sounds like a superficial teen brat like the second one always sounds like she’s high 🙂

        1. Ok Dez, to each their own, I’m not going to attempt to change your mind 🙂 I just think the Amidala role is what was required of Portman to do, and I don’t think it’s half as bad as the romance between her and Hayden. You want to talk about wooden acting, I think Hayden’s Anakin exemplifies that. He was rather good in Life as a House though.

Join the conversation by leaving a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s