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Best performances by kids in films

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Showing 1-25 of 26 posts in this discussion
Posted on 8 Sep 2015, 10:20:36 BST
P. Cobb says:
Ten-year-old Georgie Henley, as 8-yr-old Lucy Pevensie, was the star of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe in 2005. Hard to believe she is now aged 20 and at Claire College, Cambridge. She really helped create some of the magic of that film.

Posted on 5 Jul 2014, 22:11:52 BST
Mara Wilson in Matilda.

Posted on 30 May 2014, 22:24:53 BST
Cheddarwasp says:
One of the best performances by a child that I have seen in recent years was by a young actress called Catinca Untaru in THE FALL (2006).

Posted on 19 Mar 2014, 19:20:29 GMT
Isabelle furhman who plays Esther in Orphan. Creepy kid. Decent twist:)

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2014, 22:09:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Feb 2014, 01:48:06 GMT
gilbert says:
Hayley is an excellent actress and I thought she gave great performances in Whistle Down the Wind and Tiger Bay. However, I think in those days audiences tended to confuse actors and the characters they played, so after years of playing a wholesome teenager in Disney films, people were shocked when she started to play grown-up roles. Even The Family Way, which would these days be seen as a gentle comedy, caused great controversy because it had a sexual theme; ironically, she was playing a young bride who was not getting any sex because her husband was too inhibited to consummate the marriage. I think if she were starting today, she would be given more opportunity to develop her talent in different directions.
I heard a great anecdote about Roy Holder, who plays Jackie in the Whistle Down the Wind. He had been discovered at a school in Aston in Birmingham and cast in a television play opposite the great Robert Shaw. Plays went out live in those days so actors had to know their lines, but Shaw mangled his during rehearsal, and Roy stopped acting and looked at him with a grin. The director told him that he should carry on acting and never stop for minor fluffs. Shaw added, "Supposing I do that on transmission? I just might, you know."
The 13-year-old greenhorn replied to the great actor, "Oh well, if it's on transmission, I'll cover up for yer, but this is rehearsal, and in rehearsal yer got ter get it roight!" There was much amusement at Shaw being put in his place.
I believe that Roy Holder is still acting.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2014, 13:30:18 GMT
LEP says:
Hayley Mills and the boy actor in Whistle Down the Wind

Posted on 19 Jan 2014, 13:22:06 GMT
ric_mac says:
The Mrs and I recently re-viewed The Kidnappers (1953, AKA The Little Kidnappers in the US), having not seen it for many years. The young actors (playing ages five and eight) perform excellently and carry the whole film. Jon Whiteley as Harry and Vincent Winter as Davy were later rewarded with honorary juvenile academy awards for their 'outstanding performances'. Winter's performance is especially charming. They were ten and seven years old, respectively, when they received the mini-Oscars in 1954. The film was directed by Philip Leacock, who was well known for successfully directing pictures with children.

I have to put in a word for Haley Mills, too, in both Tiger Bay (1959) and Whistle Down The Wind (1961).

Posted on 1 Dec 2013, 09:38:02 GMT
I'd definitely go with david bradly in 'kes', the scenes of him in school being humiliated by brian glover's p.e. teacher are touching and the scene where he gets up in front of the class to talk about his bird, superb.

Posted on 15 Nov 2013, 20:51:19 GMT
Jodie Foster in "The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane", made when she was 14 in 1976, the same year she made "Taxi Driver" and "Bugsy Malone."

Brooke Shields in "Pretty Baby" when she was just 12. She should have been as big a star as Jodie Foster if she had played the right roles.

Posted on 15 Sep 2013, 16:53:04 BST
Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon" 1973, Haley Joel Osment "The Sixth Sense" 1999, great little actor.

Posted on 17 Feb 2013, 19:19:12 GMT
I thought both Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008) were brilliant. The scenes that they were in together we're beautifully handled and you can feel the growing love that the two characters (Oskar & Eli) had for each other.

Posted on 16 Feb 2013, 23:22:50 GMT
mister joe says:
I was always quite impressed with the kid from The Shining,not an easy role.Henry Elliott and Drew Barrymore in ET is a favourite.

Posted on 12 Feb 2013, 17:11:11 GMT
ric_mac says:
Salvatore Cascio in Cinema Paradiso.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2013, 17:50:51 GMT
Also, Joseph Mazzello and Brad Renfro in The Cure [1995] (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [1996] [US Import]

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2013, 17:49:29 GMT
How about Nick Stahl in "The Man Without a Face"? As an adult, he's done well in "Quid Pro Quo".

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2013, 17:45:03 GMT
"Top of my list come Joseph Mazzello in Shadowlands and Saoirse Ronan in Atonement."

Wholeheartedly agree! And I'll add Mark Lester and Jack Wild in "Oliver!"

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2013, 13:45:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Feb 2013, 13:48:13 GMT
ric_mac says:
As often happens, Gille, I completely agree with you.

I'd also say Lukas Haas (Witness) and Julien Ciamaca (La Gloire de Mon Père/Le Château de Ma Mère).

Posted on 17 Jan 2013, 23:13:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jan 2013, 09:29:04 GMT
oh and i almost forgot Dong Bo Wen (Bowen), the 4 year old actor in the Chinese film Little Red Flowers (2006)
I have just purchased the dvd and watched the 45 minute documentary and i am even more impressed with his performance and that of many of the other 4 year olds in the film. When told he could run and pretend to cry and save the tears for the close-ups, he said, no i want you to make me cry because he didn't want to pretend, he wanted to do it properly. What a professional!

Jackie Cooper who at age 9, he was also the youngest performer to have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role-an honor that he received for the film Skippy (1931) and his final film was Surrender (1987)

Mickey Rooney was also a brilliant child actor and his career has spanned nearly his entire lifetime. and whilst it could be argued his first major dramatic role was at age 17 in Boys Town (1938) He made several films a year, since the age of 6, and is one of the last surviving stars who worked in the silent film era

Hayley Mills who was hailed as a promising newcomer, winning the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for Tiger Bay (1959) the Academy Juvenile Award for Pollyanna (1960) and Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actress in 1961, the same year she was in Whistle Down the Wind.

And who could forget the 12 year old horse-crazy girl with big dreams in National Velvet (1944)
Viewers and critics "fell in love with Elizabeth Taylor when they saw her in it." Walker explains why the film was popular:
Its enormous popularity rubs off on to its heroine because she expresses, with the strength of an obsession, the aspirations of people-people who have never seen a girl on horseback, or maybe even a horse race for that matter-who believe that anything is possible...A philosophy of life, in other words...a film which...has acquired the status of a generational classic. (wiki)

Posted on 17 Jan 2013, 15:54:24 GMT
Once Upon a time in America, the kids were really good in that.

Agree with Christian Bale in Empire of the sun.

Posted on 17 Jan 2013, 13:14:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jan 2013, 23:18:58 GMT
The first child actor will always be one of the best - Jackie Coogan in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid (1921)
He has an impressive list of films and I would implore you to read about him here

and DEFINITELY Victoire Thivisol who starred in Ponette (1996). This is a touching film about a young girl who has to cope with her mother's death, and it was a brilliant performance that adult actors would have had trouble pulling off. As a result, at age 5 Victoire became youngest actress to win the Volpi Cup Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival.

But my outstanding favourite is Christian Bale, who cast at age 12 in Empire of the Sun (1987) pulled off a stellar performance as Jim - and received a special citation for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, an award specially created for his performance in that film.

Posted on 10 Jan 2013, 00:33:39 GMT
The man from nowhere.
My father the hero

Posted on 10 Jan 2013, 00:30:18 GMT
The man from nowhere.
My father the hero

Posted on 8 Jan 2013, 19:27:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Jan 2013, 19:40:10 GMT
ks-cologne says:
First name that came to my mind when I read the thread title was Dakota Fanning.
She was just amazing in anything she's ever done so far. I think, so far there hasn't been another child actress like her with such depth and variety in her perfomances that often outshines the lead characters of the films.
Just to name a few, in which she showed her outstanding talent:
I Am Sam [DVD] [2002] (at the age of 7, she easily matched Sean Penn)
Man On Fire [2004] [DVD] (Denzel Washington's movie, but Dakota gave a lasting impression)
The Secret Life of Bees [DVD] [2008] (again, she outshone anybody else)
Today, Dakota Fanning is almost 19 years old and it seems that adulthood won't end her successful acting career, as it did with so many other famous child actors.

Mentioning Dakota Fanning, her younger sister Elle comes to mind as well. She really impressed me in her first big role in the film Phoebe in Wonderland [DVD] [2009].

I also was stunned by Haley Joel Osment's performance in The Sixth Sense [DVD] [1999].

I heard of Saoirse Ronan for the very first time, when she received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Atonement", but somehow I haven't managed yet to watch this film. But I saw The Lovely Bones [DVD] and was really impressed by her, and she was even better in Hanna [DVD].
I'm really curious, how she'll continue on her career.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013, 07:35:17 GMT
David Bradley in 'Kes'.
Thomas Turgoose in 'This Is England'.

Posted on 6 Jan 2013, 21:14:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Jan 2013, 21:14:49 GMT
gille liath says:
I prefer her in Bugsy Malone myself. And Fat Sam is better still.

But I think you'd have to go some way to beat the kid in Sixth Sense. And does David Bradley, in Kes, count as a kid?
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Discussion in:  drama discussion forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  26
Initial post:  6 Jan 2013
Latest post:  8 Sep 2015

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