403 Forbidden


nginx
403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx
Follow us:
403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx

Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 22, 2011 at 10:55 AM

“Hugo” and the art of kid acting

With a kid in tow (my 12-year-old niece, who loved the book), I went to see Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” last night and was utterly charmed by it; it’s a nostalgic valentine to early cinema (not unlike “The Artist,” also a joy) and a gorgeous demonstration of how 3D can delicately enhance, rather than overwhelm. And I was also charmed by the performance at its center: Asa Butterfield, who’s now 14 (and whose adorable IMDB bio lists among his hobbies that he “takes care of his cats”), movingly created a vivid character — a scrappy, haunted orphan who lives at a Paris train station — before my eyes. In reviews I rarely comment on bad performances by children (I’m not that mean), but you see them all the time in movies: kids who have been directed to do too much, to smile too widely, to be cute rather than natural. In other words, kids who are used as props, not as characters. So it’s a great pleasure to see a performance like Butterfield’s; quiet and contained, giving us a sense of a child who’s thinking, who doesn’t need to “act out” every emotion for it to be present. (The very young Daniel Radcliffe, though not yet a skilled actor in the early “Harry Potter” movies, had this quality too.)
Here are a few other kid performances that knocked my socks off this year (I’m definiting “kid” as roughly pre-adolescent; meaning that teens like Shailene Woodley, wonderful as she is in “The Descendants,” don’t count); if you’ve got a favorite, toss it in.
Garance Le Guillermic as Paloma in “The Hedgehog.” Utterly unself-conscious (though she’s cute as a button), this French child actress easily held her own among the adults; you watched, wanting to know what Paloma would be like when she was older, and wishing you could keep her around.
Elle Fanning in “Super 8.” Still just barely in her teens, this talented young woman followed up “Somewhere” with another honest, delicate, completely believable performance.
Jacob Wysocki in the title role in “Terri.” This kid might be a tad older than the others I’ve mentioned, but he broke my heart in this film, his feature debut. Again, he’s got that sense of quietness, of having stories he’s not yet telling.
Morgana Davies in “The Tree.” This Australian girl is very young — she’s playing an eight-year-old, and can’t be much older — but watch this beautiful, almost magical story of loss and hope and see how this child becomes its center.
Also: Amara Miller in “The Descendants,” Chloe Grace Moretz in “Hugo” and . . . well, you tell me.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx
403 Forbidden

403 Forbidden


nginx