Let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the best artistic performances of our dearly beloved young talents. The entertainment industry is increasingly casting child actors to play hefty roles, which are genuinely Oscar-nomination worthy. Breakthrough performances by a child actor can surely tickle our emotions and that’s when the admiration for the little’uns kicks in. Here are some of the most prominent child actors featured in popular and recent films (beware of spoilers!).
The new X-Men film Logan features the debut of then 11-year-old Dafne Keen, who plays Laura (a.k.a X-23). Impressive acting aside, Keen abruptly surprises the audience with all the goriness and violence portrayed by her character. For an 11-year-old kid, she sure knows how to throw a murderous gaze and dispose of big-bodied men that’s twice her size – this is all coming from a kid who had just made her feature film debut. Apparently, this was the result of her experience as an acrobat and gymnast in addition to having a film-friendly family background. It’s no surprise, then, that her emotionally charged scene, moments before Hugh Jackman’s death (told you – spoiler alert), where she cries, “Papa!” can really make your heart ache and trigger waterfalls in your eyes.
We also have that very special first-chapter sequence of young Chiron in the award-winning drama film Moonlight, portrayed by seventh grader Alex R. Hibert. All praises aside for the film in its entirety, Hibert’s performance alone is very compelling and forms a foothold for this young actor’s future career. Granted that both Keen and Hibert have very minimal lines, they do not fail, however, in agonizing our hopes for what will become of their characters as their stories unfold. Hibert’s last scene concludes his crowning performance – a wide-eyed little kid whose expression is constantly brooding as if in deep deliberation of his naivety.
Also, remember the 2016 live-action remake of The Jungle Book? That film has since then become the go-to child fantasy film that not only recognizes young talent, but also celebrates it. I mean, where else will you get to see a kid jumping and running around in their ‘wild’ habitat and not make it look annoying (and to be fair, the majority of the time is spent running away from a dangerous tiger – here’s me trying to justify both ends of the argument)? Neel Sethi, the then 11 year-old who plays Mowgli, had made his film debut with a great knack for acting with mainly CGI and puppets. Many experienced actors might complain about the lack of actors present on set, but that surely wasn’t the case with Sethi, which goes to show how he really is a new generation actor – capable of acting with merely CGI. This deserves a round of applause.
Last but not least in this honoring piece of brilliant young actors, let’s not forget Jacob Tremblay’s impressive act in the 2015 drama-thriller film Room. The kid, who was 8 years old by the time, had won categories ranging from Best Young Actor to Best Actor. Of course, who wouldn’t be impressed by his successful delivery of a confused little boy whose knowledge about the outside world is taught from the screen of his television set in Room? Acting as a traumatic, restrained 5-year-old boy is hard to do especially when you come from a full family that has never been harmed whatsoever.
Surely, these names don’t even cover a tenth of the many names of child actors out there (some have even outgrown their title as a ‘child actor’). Nonetheless we can safely agree that these young actors are admirable keeping in mind that the roles they played are mature and contain a degree of sophistication – casting directors will surely keep an eye out for these young talents when wanting to embark on future box office hits. Next thing you know, they’ll be the next Natalie Portman, Jodie Foster, Anna Paquin, Haley Joel Osment and let’s not forget the entire Harry Potter cast who have now developed into renowned actors who are taking part in the development of Hollywood filmmaking.