Why there’s nothing to hate about Jennifer Jason Leigh at 53
It seems like only yesterday that Jennifer Jason Leigh played 15-year-old Stacy Hamilton in the early 80s classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Leigh was 19 but had such a youthful face she was cast as a much younger teen.
Yet, despite consistent and acclaimed movie performances she never catapulted into the A-list stratosphere. Then in the late 90s she disappeared from the big screen altogether and could only be found on TV.
But now she’s back in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and appears to have hardly aged at all.
If she’s had plastic surgery then it’s been a masterful job because there are no signs of the weird, frozen look that haunts the faces of many midlife actresses. This means she can use her face as nature intends — to convey emotion.
This she does with aplomb as the screeching harpy outlaw Daisy Domergue.
Roles for aging actresses have always been rare, and Leigh demonstrates why a mature actress who has perfected her craft is a welcome addition to the big screen.
There are rumors of an Oscar nomination and offers of more movie roles.
Credit also goes to Tarantino for breaking with Hollywood convention and casting actors regardless of their box office appeal.
It’s time for the rest of Hollywood to take notice.
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About the author
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.