POSTED December 5 2014

Ms. Witherspoon and the Reese-enaissance

Last year about this time we spoke of the McCon-aissance, of Matthew McConaughey’s startling transition from the shirtless slacker of rom-coms such as the odious How to Lose Your Guy in 10 Days to the intense dramatic actor in films such as Mud and Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyer’s Club, the latter of which earned him an Academy Award.

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

This year it’s a Reese-enaissance for his Mud  co-star Ms. Witherspoon, the extraordinary lead of Vallee’s Wild, based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. Witherspoon’s unadorned performance as a woman rocked by loss and divorce decisively marks the end of her ingenue years and a return to the nuanced drama of movies such as her debut Man in the Moon  (1991) and Walk the Line (2006).

It’s startling that the actress, 38, has been in the movies nearly 24 years and has exhibited a range that includes coming-of-age films (Man in the Moon), black comedy (Election), farce (Legally Blonde), literary adaptation (The Importance of Being Earnest, Vanity Fair), rom-com (Sweet Home Alabama)  and biopic (Walk the Line). When she won an Oscar for Walk the Line, Witherspoon said recently, she was disappointed in the screenplays she was sent and more disappointed that the woman-centric movie idea she had that studios were not interested in developing.

So she did what actresses like Jane Fonda and Goldie Hawn did: Read assiduously,  option ideas books that interest her and produce them. Two of these properties, Gone Girl and Wild, came out this year. Not only did she produce both, she anchors Wild, stars in the film The Good Lie and has a small role in P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice. Not a bad way to announce a career resurgence.

My favorite Witherspoons are Man in the Moon, Election, Legally Blonde and Vanity Fair. Yours?


  1. Amy Woolsey says:

    I actually have a soft spot for her performance in Mud. It’s a small role, and on paper, she seems basically like a typical love interest/femme fatale, but I thought Witherspoon did a remarkable job of giving a sense of depth and genuine humanity to a character that remained fairly enigmatic throughout the movie.

  2. obgzhxgelq says:

    Carrie Rickey » Ms. Witherspoon and the Reese-enaissance

  3. ywxlztfgyd says:

    Carrie Rickey » Ms. Witherspoon and the Reese-enaissance

  4. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading
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    I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
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