best film: Sofia Coppola’s second feature Lost in Translation stands atop Scarlett Johannson’s list of best films. This lands Scarlett a lead (or co-lead) role in a top 100 all-time film. Under the Skin and Marriage Story are superb films- but cannot quite touch the aforementioned 2003 masterpiece.
best performance: Lost in Translation. This is a subtle performance- much quieter than Bill Murray’s work in the same film, but their massive achievement is on the same level. It is nearly impossible to picture someone else pulling off the character of Charlotte nearly as well. Scarlett comes off as wise beyond her years and embodies the sort of quarter-life crisis- lost longing and pathos.
stylistic innovations/traits: Scarlett is known as an accomplished, mature actor with that trademark deeper feminine voice (a long proud lineage going back to Lauren Bacall). She is yet another child actor turned star and gifted adult actor (like Natalie Portman and Elizabeth Taylor on this list). She worked opposite Robert Redford and others as a younger teen in the 1990s, but it was her breakthrough came in the early 2000s with four films in the archives before the age of twenty (20) including Lost in Translation. Scarlett’s strengths, for the purposes of this list, are those trio of films at the top of her list. That trio includes Sofia’s Lost in Translation, Under the Skin and Marriage Story.
directors worked with: The Coen Brothers (2), Woody Allen (2) and then the likes of Sofia Coppola, Christopher Nolan, Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer, and Noah Baumbach once. Woody and The Coen Brothers may lead the way here- but she is not a part of their best work. The important collaborations to date for Scarlett are Sofia, Baumbach and Glazer.
top five performances:
- Lost in Translation
- Under the Skin
- Marriage Story
- Match Point
|2001- Ghost World|
|2001- The Man Who Wasn’t There|
|2003- Girl with a Pearl Earring|
|2003- Lost in Translation|
|2005- Match Point|
|2006- The Prestige|
|2008- Vicky Christina Barcelona|
|2012- The Avengers|
|2013- Under the Skin|
|2016- Hail, Caesar!|
|2016- Captain America: Civil War|
|2019- Jojo Rabbit|
|2019 – Marriage Story|
“It is nearly impossible to picture someone else pulling off the character of Charlotte nearly as well. ”
Can you imagine Kirsten Dunst playing the role and being as good as Johansson?
I think her Melancholia performance is a proof that she can pull it off.
Kirsten has a brilliant talent for conveying dread (also in the Beguile and the Power of the Dog), but Scarlett has a different kind of romantic maturity that works better for this character and the relationship with Murray imo, I think her deep voice is a large part of it.
@M*A*S*H- Not here- I’m having a hard time picturing this working.
Can you picture Dunst as Cassandra in Promising Young Woman?
@MASH – Hmm- no, not really.
What are your thoughts on Dunst’s range and talents? She’s not a shape shifter but that’s the 2 things I have seen her do.
1. Give really internalized performances in a Sofia Coppola or a LVT film. Conveying longing, entrapment etc.
2. Be smart, witty, a bit dangerous.
So i thought these will be the roles Dunst would exell in.
What do you think?
@M*A*S*H- Good questions- I shared most of my thoughts on Dunst on the page for her – and agreed – she is not a shape shifter. I was just writing about Laura Dern- so I think she would be great as Sandy in Blue Velvet as an example. I do not think she could pull off the divorce lawyer role in Marriage Story if that gives you a couple examples.
Really well said. I think I agree.
Mulligan nailed it but what about Scarlett Johansson playing Cassandra? Can you picture Johansson?
P. S. Ageed that Dunst might lack the maturity of Johansson in LIT but can Johansson pull off the initial innocence of Dunst in Marie Antoinette?
@M*A*S*H- Well I wouldn’t rather see ScarJo instead of Mulligan. But yes, I could see that- we see some similar traits in Under the Skin. Not sure on the second question there- what do you think?
I agree 100%. Mulligan NAILED it. It just makes sense to say Johansson as she has everything required for Cassie. Deep mature voice, intensity,
sense of humor, danger (UTS).
As for Marie Antoinette I think she’ll nail the second half not sure about the first half. As you (and everyone else) says she has a deep mature voice. But she also has range.
Mulligan was phenomenal as Cassandra in Promising Young Woman. Johansson would be solid but I am happy with Mulligan played the role.
What makes Mulligan’s performance as Cassandra impressive in my opinion is the way she is able to be simultaneously confident and assertive in the way she handles creeps who think they are taking advantage of a drunk women but at the same time the character shows intense vulnerability like the way she reactions to the lawyer played by Alfred Molina.
What do you think of Jessica Chastain? She is probably my favorite current actress so maybe I am a little biased but she is great at playing women who succeed in male dominated places like Molly’s Game where she runs high stake poker games or Zero Dark Thirty where she works in CIA hunting down Bin Laden. She can also play vulnerable characters like in The Tree of Life or a Take Shelter. Interstellar is a good example of playing both these traits, which again is a difficult balancing act.