Young Actress Reviews

Reviews of movies with notable young actress performances

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1 – 10 of 211
Mischa Barton 
Lawn Dogs  (1997)
Actress Score: 
5.0 / 5
(5.0)
Movie Score: 
3.7 / 5
(3.7)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  large
A perfect, magical movie about a friendship between an emotionally isolated young girl in a ritzy, phoney neighborhood, and a shunned, blue collar worker.

Skipped Parts  (2000)
Actress Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  medium
An entertaining, slightly dark and wonderfully absurd comedy centering around the family of a single mother and her son who move into a small town. The boy gets into a very strange relationship with Mischa's character, and otherwise tries to deal with his crazy life.

Lost and Delirious  (2001)
Actress Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Movie Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Age:  14
Screen Time:  large
Mary (Mischa Barton) lives in a girls boarding school dorm room and soon learns that her two roommates are lovers. The plot revolves around each girl coping with the consequences of the lesbian relationship having been exposed.

Pups  (1999)
Actress Score: 
3.2 / 5
(3.2)
Movie Score: 
1.5 / 5
(1.5)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  large
The creator of this movie didn't even try to the polish sharp corners, and the result is a very amateurish movie about two preteens who impulsively rob a bank and end up taking hostages.

Paranoid  (2004)
Actress Score: 
2.0 / 5
(2.0)
Movie Score: 
1.0 / 5
(1.0)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  small
A remarkably poor thriller, where Mischa has a small role playing a mildly retarded girl.

Dakota Fanning 
I Am Sam  (2001)
Actress Score: 
5.0 / 5
(5.0)
Movie Score: 
3.4 / 5
(3.4)
Age:  7
Screen Time:  large
A mentally retarded father fights the state for custody of his daughter. An intelligent film with a tear-jerking performance by the lovely Dakota Fanning.

Man on Fire  (2004)
Actress Score: 
4.3 / 5
(4.3)
Movie Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  medium
A story of love and a mission of revenge. Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning redeem what would have been a mediocre film without them.

Hounddog  (2007)
Actress Score: 
4.3 / 5
(4.3)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  very large
Dakota has a very impactful and sexual role as a character who is raped, which is what made this otherwise flawed movie famous. Great production values and a convincing sense of the 1950s Deep South, but a seriously lacking plot.

Taken  (2002)
Actress Score: 
4.2 / 5
(4.2)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  9
Screen Time:  medium
Spielberg's mini-series about alien abductions spanning several generations. Essential viewing for Dakota fans.

The Secret Life of Bees  (2008)
Actress Score: 
4.1 / 5
(4.1)
Movie Score: 
3.8 / 5
(3.8)
Age:  14
Screen Time:  very large
A touching coming-of-age story of a girl finding her own place and worth. With great characters, great acting, and beautiful photography, this movie deserves Dakota in its lead role.

War of the Worlds  (2005)
Actress Score: 
4.1 / 5
(4.1)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  very large
Spielberg's adaptation of War of the Worlds is glossy and Hollywoody but has its merits, not the least of which is Dakota's role as Rachel.

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story  (2006)
Actress Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  11
Screen Time:  very large
Unoriginal and predictable but also modestly entertaining film about a young girl and a horse she nurses from peril to victory. Dakota Fanning is the reason to see this movie.

Fragments  (2008)
aka Winged Creatures
Actress Score: 
3.8 / 5
(3.8)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  medium
Fragments is an interesting treatment of psychological coping strategies and the frailty of memory. One of the seven people followed is Anne (played by Dakota), who has witnessed the senseless murder of her father. The movie as well as Dakota's performance are well executed and thought-provoking.

Push  (2009)
Actress Score: 
3.7 / 5
(3.7)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  14
Screen Time:  very large
A good looking but very clichéd and almost plotless superhero thriller. Dakota's role is large, and her character an interesting combination of sensibility, teeniness and fragility.

Hide & Seek  (2005)
Actress Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  large
An ordinary thriller despite its big-name cast. Dakota's performance is much better than the movie deserves.

Uptown Girls  (2003)
Actress Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Movie Score: 
2.6 / 5
(2.6)
Age:  9
Screen Time:  large
Dakota's character is too precocious and serious for her own good, while her new babysitter is just the opposite, and in the end each will learn from the other. The movie rests heavily on the good actresses.

The Cat in the Hat  (2003)
Actress Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Movie Score: 
2.0 / 5
(2.0)
Age:  9
Screen Time:  very large
One of Dakota's more entertaining roles as a completely anal retentive girl in a silly candy-colored comedy about Dr. Seuss's famous talking cat.

Trapped  (2002)
Actress Score: 
3.4 / 5
(3.4)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  8
Screen Time:  small
Although the movie is about the kidnapping of Dakota's character, the role is small, but not unworthy of your time.

Charlotte's Web  (2006)
Actress Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Movie Score: 
2.3 / 5
(2.3)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  medium
A sweet story about friendship of the animals of a farm. Dakota's role is lesser than you'd hope or even expect.

Nine Lives  (2005)
Actress Score: 
2.8 / 5
(2.8)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  medium
Dakota stars in one of the nine short stories about lives of people. Her role is a pretty simple "happy girl" one, but the ending makes it worth seeing.

Hansel & Gretel  (2002)
Actress Score: 
2.7 / 5
(2.7)
Movie Score: 
1.5 / 5
(1.5)
Age:  8
Screen Time:  very small
A ridiculously poor version of the classic story. Dakota appears to be at loss of what's expected of her.

Coraline  (2009)
Actress Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Movie Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Age:  14
Screen Time:  very large
Excellent stop-motion animation based on Neil Gaiman's book. Dakota does her part in creating the great main character by acting her voice.

Sweet Home Alabama  (2002)
Actress Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  8
Screen Time:  very small
Dakota's role is very small but nice, involving her first kiss. Otherwise a decent romantic comedy or drama.

Natalie Portman 
Léon  (1994)
aka The Professional
Actress Score: 
4.9 / 5
(4.9)
Movie Score: 
4.7 / 5
(4.7)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  very large
This movie is the package deal. It is brilliant. See it now.

Beautiful Girls  (1996)
Actress Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  medium
A solid romantic comedy, with Natalie playing one of its beautiful girls, a sweetly precocious almost-teen. She develops a crush on the main character, which is handled in a realistic and intelligent manner.

Anywhere But Here  (1999)
Actress Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  17
Screen Time:  large
Emotionally credible drama of a mother and daughter moving into a new city, chasing a dream of better life. Natalie's acting is strong, but her role not exceptionally interesting.

Sarah Bolger
In America  (2002)
Actress Score: 
4.7 / 5
(4.7)
Movie Score: 
4.5 / 5
(4.5)
Age:  11
Screen Time:  large
Warmth, humor, drama. A heart stealing performance from little Emma Bolger. An amazing, mature performance from her big sister. One of the most precious movies for me.

Tara Road  (2005)
Actress Score: 
2.0 / 5
(2.0)
Movie Score: 
1.5 / 5
(1.5)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  small
A chick-movie made entirely of cliches. Watch only if you're a fan of Sarah Bolger.

Evan Rachel Wood
Digging to China  (1998)
Actress Score: 
4.5 / 5
(4.5)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  very large
Evan Rachel Wood's shining lead performance in this story of friendship between a young girl and a disabled man brings Digging to China easily to our "must see" list.

Practical Magic  (1998)
Actress Score: 
2.3 / 5
(2.3)
Movie Score: 
2.0 / 5
(2.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  small
A romance-heavy, modern story of a family of witches. None of the young actresses have a role you'd remember for long, not even if you're a big fan of them.

Anna Paquin 
The Piano  (1993)
Actress Score: 
4.5 / 5
(4.5)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  9
Screen Time:  medium
A fine but at times slow "art movie," with a fantastic, memorable performance by little Anna Paquin.

Fly Away Home  (1996)
Actress Score: 
4.5 / 5
(4.5)
Movie Score: 
3.2 / 5
(3.2)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  very large
Gorgeous cinematography and Anna Paquin's remarkable performance and charm are what this geese-focused family movie is all about.

Jane Eyre (1996)  (1996)
Actress Score: 
3.7 / 5
(3.7)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  11
Screen Time:  medium
Anna plays young Jane Eyre in this gothic romance. Anna is lovely as herself, but the role mostly of interest for Anna's fans only. Beyond the beginning with Anna, the movie is a fair adaptation of the story.

A Walk on the Moon  (1999)
Actress Score: 
3.1 / 5
(3.1)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  14
Screen Time:  medium
Anna plays Alison, a teenager who is dragged by her parents to their usual summer resort. This is Anna's first movie as a teenager, and even though the role isn't tiny, it's rather mediocre, and as such among her worse ones.

The Member of the Wedding  (1997)
Actress Score: 
3.1 / 5
(3.1)
Movie Score: 
1.0 / 5
(1.0)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  very large
This low-budget movie based on a play makes no use of the possibilities of a film. The only upside is the large quantity of Anna, but the role is not nearly worthy of her. Only for die-hard Anna fans.

Amistad  (1997)
Actress Score: 
2.7 / 5
(2.7)
Movie Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  small
Anna has a small role as the child Queen Isabella II of Spain in this visually impressive movie based on real events, which formed a turning point in the American history of slavery.

Victoire Thivisol 
Ponette  (1996)
Actress Score: 
4.5 / 5
(4.5)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  4
Screen Time:  very large
Victoire Thivisol delivers a perfect, unforgettable performance as a young girl who loses her mother in this unique French film about grief and childhood.

Chocolat  (2000)
Actress Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  8
Screen Time:  medium
A lush, romantic film about passion, morality, and chocolate. Great performances all around, including Victoire, who plays the heroine’s daughter and holds her own among the talented cast.

Emma Bolger
In America  (2002)
Actress Score: 
4.4 / 5
(4.4)
Movie Score: 
4.5 / 5
(4.5)
Age:  6
Screen Time:  large
Warmth, humor, drama. A heart stealing performance from little Emma Bolger. An amazing, mature performance from her big sister. One of the most precious movies for me.

Heidi  (2005)
Actress Score: 
2.7 / 5
(2.7)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  very large
A cheaply produced but otherwise enjoyable movie based on the Swiss book about Heidi, who is sent to live alone with her grandfather in the mountains. Don't even think about watching this if you haven't yet seen Emma in the magical movie In America.

Jena Malone 
Bastard Out of Carolina  (1996)
Actress Score: 
4.4 / 5
(4.4)
Movie Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  very large
Jena Malone's role as an abused child in this intensely disturbing but highly memorable story is a performance more than worthy of the Young Artist Award she got for it.

Ellen Foster  (1997)
Actress Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Movie Score: 
2.5 / 5
(2.5)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  very large
Much like Jena's excellent Bastard out of Carolina, but not nearly as good.

Contact  (1997)
Actress Score: 
3.5 / 5
(3.5)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  small
A fair sci-fi film based on Carl Sagan's excellent novel about first contact with intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

Stepmom  (1998)
Actress Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Movie Score: 
2.0 / 5
(2.0)
Age:  12
Screen Time:  large
A family drama involving the father getting a new wife that his older child, played by Jena, disapproves of. Jena has a good amount of screen time, but the character is sadly rather dull.

Hidden in America  (1996)
Actress Score: 
2.7 / 5
(2.7)
Movie Score: 
3.0 / 5
(3.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  medium
A very sympathetic, warm story of a poor man of our times who tries to provide for his family working a fast food restaurant. Jena plays his gentle daughter who is diagnosed with malnourishment.

The Book of Stars  (1999)
Actress Score: 
2.4 / 5
(2.4)
Movie Score: 
2.0 / 5
(2.0)
Age:  13
Screen Time:  very large
Based on the interesting premise of a teenage girl who appears younger than her real age because of her sickness, but doesn't deliver to satisfying extent due to "chick movie" approach, low budget, and mediocre script.

Judith Vittet 
The City of Lost Children  (1995)
Actress Score: 
4.4 / 5
(4.4)
Movie Score: 
4.0 / 5
(4.0)
Age:  10
Screen Time:  medium
Brilliantly surreal, dark fantasy with stunning visuals and Judith Vittet.