Before she was 20 years old, Winona Ryder, a skinny 5-foot-5 girl with huge ears and exaggeratedly short hair, had worked under Tim Burton and Francis Ford Coppola. Before she was 30, to those of Scorsese, Bille August, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Woody Allen and James Mangold, and she had two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe. And before 40, many had crossed her off the list, She was crushed by coated paper for her romances, for playing minor roles, for going in and out of mental clinics, for having been accused of theft … Before she was 50, however, something changed. Forgotten by many, relegated to television and animation (when saying this was still something pejorative for anyone who was a generational milestone), Netflix gave her the role of mother courage, torn, brutal, in Stranger Things. The whole world fell at her feet again, but those of us who grew up with her seeing her in Bitelchús, on Mermaids, on Eduardo Mannostieras, in that wonder called Reality Bites, we are clear: we want more Winona.
From childhood … ‘different’, his parents were champions of the beat culture of the 60s, friends of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg. From 7 to 10 years old, they lived in a commune with seven other families and did not go to school until the age of 11, where he suffered physical abuse because his alleged androgyny aroused violence in some. He ended up home schooling and in acting he found a way out. And that’s how he ended up debuting in 1986 with the high school drama Lucas, a minor film that made a big impact on Tim Burton, who signed her to Bitelchús.
In a flash, her way of dressing and combing her hair, almost minimalist, influenced the aesthetics of the 90s and all of it became fashionable. With Burton she would repeat in the iconic Eduardo Scissorhands who starred with her then boyfriend Johnny Depp (great story of love and heartbreak), and Coppola required her for Dracula, since she had been left with the desire to work with her in The Godfather III (It was to be Maria Corleone). Ryder would leave that project due to stress after filming Sirens. I was 19 years old. That if she was pregnant, that if she took drugs … She was being exploited by the industry that can do everything, that squeezes everything.
A star of so many gossip magazines as well as movie magazines, it was undeniable that Winona had an undeniable talent for acting. He was capable of playing the lovable May of The Age of Innocence (Golden Globe and first Oscar nomination) or the brave crew member of Alien: resurrection, past the devilish Abigail Williams of The crucible or the torn and tortured Blanca of The House of Spirits.
NO ROMANTIC SCENES NO SEX
Luckily, she turned down romantic comedy roles, just as she’d turned down high school and sex scenes. Well, Winona, as you said in Bitelchús: “I am strange and unusual.” But two films are the ones that associate her with a whole generation. The first, Reality bites (cruelly released in Spain under its literal translation, Bites of reality), a film without too much chicha about a group of twenty-somethings in their arrival to adulthood and post-university life, the one in which they tell you that you have to be older, that you have to take your path. It was a box office flop. Today, a little gem. She is tender, bitter, a bit anti-establishment, which begins with her character saying in her graduation speech a statement from the principles of Generation X: “And they still wonder why those of us in our twenties refuse to work 80 hours weekly so we can buy their BMW cars, or why aren’t we interested in the counterculture they invented. As if we had not seen them trample their revolution with a pair of sneakers … But the question remains. What are we going to do now? How can we straighten out the mess we’ve inherited? Dear colleagues, the answer is simple … The answer is … [silencio]: I do not know”. That was, that we were, the MTV Generation.
Five years later, in 1999, she would play the unbalanced and insecure Susanna Kaysen, a young woman with a personality disorder who enters a psychiatric hospital. What for a large part of the critics was another “crazy movie”, for the young audience it was a brutal drama that reflected the dissatisfaction of a generation, the first in the history of humanity that grew up without deficiencies, and that was empty , with no other idol than grunge. The movie, which is horrible, was also necessary. But Angelina Jolie, Oscar in hand, cast an unpredictable shadow on her. And after Innocence interrupted, what was interrupted was Winona’s career.
The skids began: Possessed, Autumn in New York, Zoolander, Mr. Deeds… The scrutiny to which she was subjected for her love life, for her questionable state of mental health and for the scandal that occurred after being accused – and acquitted – of robbery in a department store made fans forget about her. Not everything was hell. Made a mini role in Friends, another in Star Trek, in 2000 she earned her star of fame on Hollywood Boulevard and, in 2010, Darren Aronofsky called on her to play the role of a disgraced former prima ballerina where she is splendid and fragile. Now, if something is crazy about Hollywood, it is to see those same beings rise from their ashes that they helped to elevate to let die. And, when, in 2016, Netflix released Stranger Things with Winona as the undisputed adult protagonist, the success was total. The excellent actress had returned, also in a generational and fascinating series.
In his 35-year career, Ryder has worked with Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Daniel DayLewis, DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, Gary Oldman, Kenneth Branagh, Antonio Banderas … His fragile body and angelic voice have not changed, but In the choice of most of his roles, in his social commitments, in his interest in culture, in his voluntary decision to withdraw from fame, an improper maturity has been seen within the Hollywood framework. “I don’t want to be a celebrity,” she said at the age of 20, “I just want to be an actress.” And boy it is.
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Winona Ryder, as unique as her career, from broken toy to legend but, above all, actress