As the pierced and volatile teenager stealing scenes in Jeffrey Fine's SXSW drama Cherry, 19-year-old Britt Robertson gives one of the finest performances yet in a fast-developing career that's seen her evolve from child actor to mature young actress in the span of a few years. One of two women who come crashing into the life of college freshman Aaron (Kyle Gallner), Robertson's Beth is part Juno, part Hot Topic Lolita, an emotionally guarded girl who's lived through more in her 14 years of life than any teen should.

Robertson herself couldn't be farther from the confused, capricious Goth teen she plays in Cherry, which is based in part on a pair of women writer-director Fine knew as a young man. After drawing notice in films like Dan in Real Life, CBS's "Swingtown," and her new CW show, "Life Unexpected," the fresh-faced and uncommonly poised actress seems determined to carve out a career of substance as she enters adulthood; catch her next in Rodrigo Garcia's Mother and Child, in theaters this May.

Cinematical sat down with the L.A.-based Robertson in Austin, Texas, where she premiered Cherry while on break from filming "Life Unexpected."