In honor of the release of Let the Right One in here in Peru, I have put together my Top5 Little Girls on Film. It wasn’t how cute they were, it was about young girls — I’m only taking into consideration girls younger than 15 years old — dealing with not so innocent stuff. It wasn’t also about dealing with issues teens deal with normally.
These characters weren’t dealing with coming-of-age stories. These were already adults inside girly bodies.
1. Natalie Portman – Mathilda – Leon: The Professional
I have literally grown up with Leon (one of the reasons I’m a huge Portman fan), and Mathilda still rocks my socks after all these years. The thing about her character is that she is still a kid at heart, but gets thrown into this situation where her family is murdered while getting milk at the local grocer.
Still… Mathilda watches cartoons, plays charades with Leon, and has one of the most contagious laughs (though I believe that’s actually Portman’s laugh and not Mathilda…). Then, all of a sudden, you see her getting a cab, dropping a $100USD bill telling the taxi driver to “shut the fuck up”. She’s so innocent, and so tragic.
She’s my ultimate Little Girl on Film~
2. Lina Leandersson – Eli – Let the Right One in
Truth is, Eli is not really a girl… but is still played by one. Despite being her first (and only) role on film, Lina Leandersson masterfully leaves her print on movie culture (and perhaps film history?) by playing a whoever-knows-how-old vampire.
With those big innocent eyes, it’s hard to imagine Eli could be an unwilling killing machine, as Eli tells Oskar that while he wants to willingly kill someone, Eli needs to. Despite the gruesome reality of having to kill for survival, Eli finds the time to find Oskar a curiosity and get close to him. Secret messages in Morse code, appreciation notes after spending the night… and ultimately protecting and standing up for the ones you care for.
Yup, sounds like “young love” with a twist~ xD
3. Jodelle Ferland – Jeliza-Rose – Tideland
I have always found Jodelle Ferland particularly interesting ever since I saw her on Silent Hill and on an episode of Bryan Fuller’s Dead Like Me. She has always struck me as an adult in a little girl’s body… kinda scary, but fascinating at the same time, so it wasn’t a surprise when Jodelle played Jeliza-Rose on Gilliam’s Tideland which is a bizarre piece all in itself.
In it, Jeliza-Rose must deal with her parents’ drugs use and overdoses… imaginatively. The result? Jodelle’s wicked display of wicked talent. From voices, to the look in her eyes that make her look completely insane, but at the same time totally innocent.
4. Ellen Page – Hayley – Hard Candy
Talk about turning tables. The hunter being hunted… and all that crap. Though some people find Page to be annoying, it’s hard to deny that her choice of roles have well… not been conventional. Hard Candy, where she seems to be the victim of a photographer picking up young women online, turns out to be about a photographer who gets picked up by a girl for apparently abusing young women. What follows next? Some scenes of mental emasculation.
Why is Hayley so low on the ranking? Well, I’m not sure if she’s 14 or 15… so I’m really pushing the line of little girl by including Page with this role, but had to include it because it’s such an interesting role not often seen.
5. Jodie Foster – Iris – Taxi Driver
And my final pick of Little Girls on Film is none other than Iris on Taxi Driver. Though, I feel I am really pushing with this role which is more of a long cameo to me. I would have felt guilty for not including it too…
In Taxi Driver, Foster plays a 12-going-on-13 year old hooker who meets Robert DeNiro’s character in the streets. She seems to be down with her street life, and is very open about it. Ultimately, DeNiro’s character saves her and returns her home… but that doesn’t changed what she has seen.
I’m really open to other suggestions, though… especially since I’m not convinced that Jodie’s role was big enough to merit a spot here. Also, seems a little too English-centric too… right? I was trying to think of some Asian picks, but didn’t really want to include (too many) Asian horror films… or too many supporting roles~~~
Any protagonist Little Girls from around the world that should be included?