Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Alice Dainard

If the name Elle Fanning sounds familiar then you wouldn’t be the only one wondering the same thing. Yes, Dakota Fanning is her big sister. And, yes, much like her big sister, Elle is landing huge roles in top box office titles. You might recognize her as the girl who plays Sleeping Beauty in the movie Maleficent. In 2011, however, a movie hit the big screen that somewhat came and went without much fanfare. That movie was Super 8.

Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard
Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard

For today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday, I would like to talk about Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), the love interest to a young makeup artist Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney). In the movie Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams, Alice becomes an actress in an amateur zombie movie shot by a group of friends from school.

More as an homage to the Steven Spielberg movies of the Seventies and early Eighties, J.J. Abrams captures the essence of the era by propelling the audience to a small Ohio town where a group of teenagers want to find out the truth behind the eerie events taking place all around them.

The tough, levelheaded Alice is one of those teenagers. With a dark past casting a large shadow over her friendship with Joe, she manages to befriend him, even if their families’ history together contains a tragic event to overcome.

Elle Fanning in Super 8
Elle Fanning in Super 8

The friendship eventually comes in handy when one evening a train derailment nearly kills the kids at the station they were using to film their latest scene for their new zombie movie. The event sparks the kids to pull together, as the event entails more than simply running away. In Alice’s case, since she’s the catalyst to the group’s curiosity, drive and action, she leads them to question the origin of the crash.

After the film’s first fifteen minutes unfolds, Alice displays the kind of courage only a true hero could possess. She presses everyone to think through the problems at hand and not jump to any conclusions before coming up with a solution. The train derailment was just the beginning.

But there’s also that soft, delicate side to Alice. In a scene reminiscent of many contemporary young adult romances of today, Joe preps Alice with zombie makeup, then watches her come to life as she lurches forward toward him with a blank stare and sullen eyes. Of course, Joe doesn’t move, but instead stands there with the curiosity of a squirrel wondering what will happen next.

In the end, there’s more to the movie Super 8 than anyone can imagine. Upon multiple viewings, countless Spielberg references surface to keep the viewer busy for a long time. In Alice’s case, she’s the perfect amalgam of a female hero and a vulnerable victim. Make no mistake, though, the vulnerable victim role doesn’t last long.

She’s too busy saving the world.

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Have you seen Super 8? What did you like about Alice Dainard?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Giselle

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom known as Andalasia, lived a maiden with whom the prince would share true love’s kiss. Her name was Giselle, and she dreamed of holding hands and dancing with her one true love.

Amy Adams is Giselle in Enchanted
Amy Adams is Giselle in Enchanted

How many of you think this is Sleeping Beauty? Show of hands, c’mon. How about Beauty and the Beast? Anyone for Shrek? I threw that last one in to see if you’re paying attention. Disney has the whole princess theme down pat. They even had it working in the movie Frozen. Well, it did have two princesses.

In the film Enchanted however, true love’s kiss is a bigger deal. It’s what brings ever-afterings so happy—that’s what the song says. The opening lyrics declare that to spend a life of endless bliss you’ll just need to find who you love through true love’s kiss. Pretty catchy, don’t you think?

Enchanted Giselle
Enchanted Giselle

This is where Giselle (Amy Adams) comes in. She’s the free-spirited embodiment of pure optimism. Her cheerfulness is so infectious that people dance in the street when she’s around, they sing in full choruses in the park, and even the animals gather to help with her chores. There’s nothing too difficult for Giselle, there’s nothing impossible for her.

That is, until we meet the prince. A real winner here. He believes in true love’s kiss, too. As soon as she drops into his lap, he’s dreaming of being married to her in the morning, finishing each other’s duets, and in years to come, reminiscing of how they grew love through true love’s kiss.

It gets better from here, but I’m not going to spoil it. Suffice it to say, Giselle learns what real love is all about. This includes the pain and the emotion attached to real love, the hardship and work behind it all, and the growth that takes place when real love hits someone who doesn’t expect it.

No matter how many times I watch this movie, and no matter how many times I listen to her voice, I always experience joy knowing I can relive my favorite moments over and over again. If anyone deserves to be part of Women Who Wow Wednesday, it’s Giselle, not because she can slay a dragon in one fell swoop, but because of her sense of wonder noticing the world around her. That childlike innocence captured on film makes her someone everyone ought to know in real life.

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What did you think of Enchanted? What did you think of Giselle?