Sugar and spice and everything nice. If you’re baking a cake, that is.
Let me first just bring up three movies…
(500) Days Of Summer:
The upcoming Kick Ass:
The (also upcoming) completely unnecessary Let Me In:
I mention these three movies because of their common quality: A young lady by the name of Chloë Moretz who appears in all of them. This actress, who is all of 12, already has three very interesting movies on her resume, as well as a slew of others in her past and most likely upcoming. She’s listed on IMDB as one of the 10 to watch in 2010.
I thought she was excellent in (500) Days Of Summer, far exceeding things we expect from child actresses in her role as the strongest voice of reason/youngest sister of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character. And while Kick Ass looks kind of dumb to me, she easily looks to be the best part of it.
I’m kind of concerned about Let Me In though, directed by Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves, which is a remake of Let The Right One In. Well, not concerned so much, because I honestly don’t care, but someone changing the setting from snowy 1980s Sweden to America just didn’t seem all that exciting to me. Then they cast Moretz as the little vampire girl with a complicated past and I was more interested. I don’t expect her to play the same character as in the original movie but I’m impressed with her and curious what she’ll do with the role, how the role will translate into something new with her performance.
Also, I’m not all that impressed with how the title changed from Let The Right One In to Let Me In, thereby losing all the nuance of the original title in exchange for something that sounds like a pop song. Which is ironic, I know, considering that the original story gets it’s title from a pop song.
You can click here for a description of the new film.
As for Kick Ass… Eh. Whatever. Scott Pilgrim looks more interesting to me, but in part, they seemed design to be specifically baiting the nerds. Or just those creatures of fish and human that latch onto all hype, either as fodder for incessant bitching or joining a bandwagon of… something. Kick Ass may be fun, may be a joke onto itself (and may very well be in on the joke as well), and it may also just be a silly, stupid super hero-y popcorn movie, but something feels insidious about it, completely non-genuine.
Part of that, though, I think falls back onto the writer of the comic it’s based on, Mark Millar. But that is a whole other post right there, isn’t it?
Regardless, I want to talk about young miss Chloë Moretz, a very talented actress at the early age of 13. I remember being really impressed by her in (500) Days Of Summer, because, let’s face it, child actors are usually terrible. Her role in that movie was a pretty simple one: the little sister with the juxtaposed wise knowledge about human relationships that she could give to her heartbroken older brother, as played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I thought she handled it well, with charisma, and that right mix of qualities you want in a child character in stories, a sense of them being wise beyond their years, but still very much a product of their years, a child.
And then I heard she was going to be in Kick Ass and I kind of felt bad for her because I remember the comic being kind of cheesy. But, unshockingly, I think, if any part of this story will be interesting, it’ll be the parts dealing with her. They will also be the most controversial parts as well, of course.
The comparisons between her role and Natalie Portman’s in The Professional, or Leon, fascinates me. I get it, knowing the gist of what goes on in The Professional, even though I’ve not seen it. And neither has Chloe Moretz. And neither will she probably be able to see Kick Ass in theaters either.
But I hear a lot of the people who don’t find the idea of a young girl running around killing people crazily in this movie and cussing talking about how the movie is a satire of stuff like The Professional. Or that it’s empowering. I don’t know that I really learned anything on my journey from being a boy to a man, so I’m not going to pretend I understand the even more complicated path from girlhood to womanhood with it’s myriad of stops in Hollywood at “Not a girl, not yet a woman”-type places.
And I’m not going to talk about the fear of the youth taking a bad message away from watching Moretz as Hit Girl violently killing and shooting and slicing people up in Kick Ass, because… well, that’s a topic for pundits more likely. And child psychologists. But the that New York Times profile I linked to goes into quite a bit about her family, her growing up, and how it was beat into her head pretty hard over the course of the filming that she was an actress in a movie, doing a performance, and there was a different between reality and fiction. Isn’t that what most modern parenting seems to be lacking anyway?
But I foresee Moretz getting stereotyped as the tough girl, which is okay. To an extent, anyway. I don’t like that word. “Tough.” It’s a bullshit word. I try not to think of Angelina Jolie characters as “tough,” but perhaps women who are just… confident? We talk about empowering roles for women, which can be things where a woman gets to pick up a gun and run around shooting and blowing things up like a man does, which is fine, because women should be allowed to do that too. But I think with a word like “tough,” we have to be careful. If we’re to say that a woman is being tough because a man can be tough, I think we need to take what that quality is within a male character…
And usually it’s compensation. It’s a lack of something and the making up for it. It’s a show. There are no real cowboys, at least, not anymore. Well, maybe, but either way, the harder and the tougher we get, well, that’s just the farther we’re running from something, or reacting to something. We’re faking it til we make it. But I’d like to see a new generation of confident boys and girls growing up in this world and surviving despite the mixed messages we give to the youth.
Just remember that behind every little girl in the guise of a juvenile vampire or hyper assassin, there’s someone’s daughter there or little sister, or big sister. But, more importantly, there’s a person there. A person who sees the world differently than you and perhaps sees it in a way that you haven’t in a long while, or perhaps never will. I don’t know what little girls are made of and I don’t really want to know. But I suspect that it really all depends on your definition of “everything nice.”