I just found these NYTimes photos via The Velvet Bow, and so am thrust back under the Dunst spell. My first Kirsten Dunst film was Jumanji, and I wanted to be her so much it was painful. Then I saw Little Women, and my admiration and envy were sealed. As much as I loved Jo in the book, the film, which combined Little Women and Good Wives, made me an Amy; she became a bit like Veronica for me, and Jo faded into Betty - I wanted Jo/Betty to prevail because she should, but if I could be one it damn skippy wouldn't be her. Kirsten was so self-possessed, a working child actress in the company of adults I admired (Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale), and she grew up to be Samantha Mathis. She was so many things I wanted to be as a child; white, blonde, famous... and then she grew up to do terrible movies I went to and enjoyed and emulated (doing cheers on the road outside my house with my friends after Bring It On and practising every night to do the splits) and she was skinny but had boobs, and a dimple, and then she grew up a bit more and played parts I loved, like Lux Lisbon, and was in films I rated, like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. She named her dog Atticus, and went to the Toronto Film Festival and stayed up all night getting pissed with Josh Hartnett, and still wears great clothes, and doesn't do stupid actress things. And when she went to rehab, it was for alcohol and depression, not dumbness.
That's why I love her and I hate her. I hate to love her. In these photos, she looks amazing, and I want her to; when I look at pictures of stupid actors and they look great, I feel annoyed. I want her to keep doing movies; she's a great actress and she chooses good films (Elizabethtown a notable exception but Cameron Crowe is a risk worth taking). I'm glad she won Best Actress at Cannes. And I'm glad she looks so cool in these pictures. Really, I am.
By the way, I just read that Christina Hendricks was voted sexiest woman in the world (why don't they ever say sexiest famous woman in the world?) last year by lady Esquire readers. Now I don't know what kind of woman reads Esquire (all I know about it is its pretentious name and that they released a cookbook in the sixties that Vincent uses), but this has to be a wake-up call to studios. We are sick of seeing the skinnies pretending to be us. They are fine for runway; runway is a fantasy. But movies, even escapist, that are supposed to reflect some aspect of reality cannot continue to star emaciated women, even if they are good actresses, like Renee Zellweger. They don't have to be sexy like Christina, they can be anything, but please can they just look like something resembling a woman who lives her life, and not one who counts the number of flakes in her bowl of Special K every morning?