For an actress who's been working regularly for more than 35 years (since the age of 9), and who comes from a Hollywood family (her father was actor Vic Morrow and her mother is screenwriter Barbara Turner), the great Jennifer Jason Leigh seems severely taken for granted. It's possibly fitting that outside her Best Villain win at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, her most prestigious non-critic or non-festival-based awards have come through being part of ensembles. Unlike some great performers regularly likened to chameleons, she's more comparable to a camouflaging lizard for her ability not to stand out too much while doing her job perfectly -- I don't consider it bad that I forgot she's in Synecdoche, New York, for instance.

Try to name her best performance, or her best movie. It's not easy, whether because she's consistently brilliant or because she's not exactly in many truly brilliant films. And honestly, I may not have seen her "greatest" performance, whether it was in Miami Blues, The Hitcher, Rush, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Georgia, Dolores Claiborne, Single White Female, Last Exit to Brooklyn or maybe her first prominent and memorable film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I'm particularly fond of her as the quirky avant garde filmmaker Lydia in The Big Picture, and one of the few films of hers I really enjoyed is Cronenberg's eXistenZ -- that and The Hudsucker Proxy, though she's probably my least favorite part of the Capra-like Coen brothers film.
categories Cinematical