Being a young starlet in Hollywood seems to be a rough racket. Many young actresses get typecast and or never grow beyond the rom-com or the teen melodrama. Others soar beyond our expectations, becoming the bankable power players of the silver screen. This edition of Rave Reviews examines the work of a young lady on the cusp: Amanda Seyfried in two of her latest films, Letters from Juliet and Chloe.
Seyfried started her acting career at 15 on the daytime soap As the World Turns. After doing her time in the midday slots, she got a break in Tina Fey’s 2004 teen comedy, Mean Girls. Seyfried starred alongside Lindsay Lohan and Canadian acting darling Rachel McAdams. Her role as the vacant sex-bomb Karen was executed to perfection and added Seyfried to the list of go-to young ladies for teen comedies and dramas. Then, she was cast next to Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan in 2008’s Mamma Mia! The climb has continued since then, leading most notably to Atom Egoyan’s Chloe.
Cast in the title role, Seyfried was paired up with the incredible talents of Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson. Moore plays Catherine, an obstetrician who suspects her professor husband David, played by Neeson, of cheating. Catherine meets Chloe and hires her to meet and tempt David. This sparks a chain of events that pulls Catherine into a downward spiral of guilt, doubt and anger leading to tragic consequences. Although critics have been harsh with Egoyan for using typical cinematic devices in plot and characters, Seyfried is compelling to watch. The discord between her doe-eyed innocence and her acute sexuality creates a delicious tension that sharpens the edge of this noir erotic thriller.
Despite the critical acclaim Seyfried garnered in Chloe, she returned quickly to the comfortable realm of romance, starring in back-to-back fluff pieces Dear John and Letters from Juliet. While I’m a fan of the endearing-yet-empty, feel-good romantic comedy, Letters seemed a bit hollower than others. The acting was stilted and it made the otherwise charming story feel plodding. After her stunning performance in Chloe, I expected more from Seyfried and was sorely disappointed when I didn’t get it.
Seyfried is definitely a young lady to look out for. Her upcoming movie, A Bag of Hammers is slated for this year although there seems to be little information about the production. I hope to see a bit more Chloe and a little less Juliet from this actress. If she can deliver, she’ll be moving to the A-list in no time at all.