Actresses have it tough in Hollywood. Really tough. In fact, so much so that it can drive them crazy.
If pretty, they're frequently relegated to the wife or girlfriend function. If "unconventional," they're passed around and sometimes underappreciated in character roles. And if they age ... well, their chances of any "type" shrink more than most young actresses' waistlines. They just don't get those juicy, nutty, meaty parts that, say, Jack Nicholson or Robert De Niro or Al Pacino are allowed to knock out of the ballpark. Think about it. How many gals get to play a Travis Bickle? Or Hannibal Lecter?
But though their opportunities are less, actresses have proven they can play with the big boys. It just takes a particular kind of breakout performance (usually a crazed, fiery one) for audiences and critics to sit up and take notice. With Domino in which the liltingly lovely ingénue Keira Knightly straps on a gun, smacks down criminals and generally kicks a whole lot of butt in playing real-life (and recently deceased) model-turned-bounty-hunter Domino Harvey, I'm eagerly waiting to see what she's made of. Another Angelina Jolie in the making, perhaps?
So to honor those who came before Keira, I've come up with my personal top 10 list of the fiercest female performances in movies. These women not only surprised viewers with their ferocious talent, but left an indelible mark for others to follow. To all you mad and, yes, misunderstood ladies, we salute you.
Angelina Jolie--Girl Interrupted (1999)
Profile: The female Randle P. McMurphy of the girly cuckoo's nest.
Predicament: Labeled a "sociopath," stuck in an institution and really, really hot ... this girl needs freedom bad!
Heated Words: "Some advice, okay? Just don't point your f***ing finger at crazy people!"
Prognosis: As Lisa, the lanky troublemaker/sex pot, Jolie ruled the roost in an institution filled with anorexics, compulsive liars and, awww, sensitive types like little Winona Ryder's Susanna Kaysen. But blasting through the movie with the kind of feral intensity and wit of a Nicholson or De Niro, Jolie single-handedly stole the movie from both star Ryder and the film's director, James Mangold. She deserved that Best Supporting Oscar that she claimed. Now, Angelina -- please show us this stuff again!
Read the rest of my MSN article here.