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Stars I Love: Saoirse Ronan

It's hard to believe we've been watching Saoirse Ronan on-screen for more than a decade. Breaking out in her first award-worthy performance in 2007 for Atonement, she grabbed Hollywood's attention as a young teenager whose wild imagination has devastating consequences. And, she's been collecting acclaim and diverse roles ever since.

When we take a deeper look at the young Irish actress's work, it's hard to believe she's only twenty three years old and she's been nominated for three Academy Award nominations, slipping in and out of playing characters as swiftly as veterans like Meryl Streep and Viola Davis.

Hailing from Ireland, she's been a rising star for what feels like forever. After her first award-worthy performance in Atonement, she's continued to star several more coming of age movies. Throughout her teens Saoirse played a variety of roles from a murdered girl trying to convict her killer from the beyond in The Lovely Bones to a quick attempt at a potential franchise as a survivor fighting off parasitic aliens in The Host (based on the book by Twilight's Stephanie Meyers). As she reached her early twenties, Saoirse continues to pick to play women by how they spoke to her, especially where she is in her life.

I guess the kind of actors I admire the most are the ones who just work, and maybe when they're promoting films you see them a lot but they're not necessarily living up to a brand or reputation. Because off-screen, her personality is demure but steely; her humor is dry and sarcastic; she's charming, hardworking, and elegant. And then she shows up in films and just blows me away with her characters' yearning for self and her maturity consistently evolving.

Her career so far could be characterized simililarly to other young stars we've seen grow up on-screen like Twilight and Harry Potter. Saoirse is honestly a solid actress with a background that's already shown what she can offer. She's been able to express a full range of young women on their journey to self-discovery, and those heroines have rarely been cut from the same strong-female-character cloth. As she continues to grow up in front of the screen, I always can't wait to see what she does next.

5 Favorite Roles
What are your favorite movies with Saoirse?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director Wes Anderson always concocts off-beat movies. While some I like better than others, The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably my favorite exploring the history of an isolated hotel in Republic of Zubrowka. The film is packed with stars Tony Revolori, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, and Saoirse to name a few. Her role as a baker's decorator and falling in love with the hotel owner is a super sweet and charming performance.

Atonement

At thirteen years old, she became an Academy Award nominated actress for her role as a precocious child who accuses her sister's boyfriend of a crime he didn't commit. It's stunning to look back eleven years and see how mature she was as a preteen. Once you see this scene, or this movie, you never forget the complexity she brought to the tragic love story.

Lady Bird

Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson's relationship with her mom (Laurie Metcalf) teeters between love and complete alienation, as Lady Bird strives to escape her insufferable life at home in Sacramento, California.  In a radically different 'coming of age' movie than my first pick, Saoirse easily slips into this part. As much as Christine and her mother get on each other's nerves, they love each other. Director/writer Greta Gerwig's lets Saoirse and Laurie play different layers of scary and warm (tenacious, stubborn, cutthroat-frankness, kind, loving). Their work earned Saoirse her third Academy Award nomination, and Laurie her first.

Hanna

As a young girl who's trained to become an assassin by her father and ex-spy who is on the run, Hanna is her most-action packed role yet. Directed by Joe Wright, who made the period drama Pride and Prejudice (starring Keira Knightley) and Atonement, the film has Quentin Tarantino vibes all over it from the direction to the music and action scenes. It's one of the most original movies out there. And Hanna is surprisingly overlooked as an original, vulnerable bad-ass heroine (who is also fighting a female bad-ass villain too).

Brooklyn

From the costume and production design to the music and cinematography, to its performances, if there is a movie that unabashedly wears its heart on its sleeve, it's Brooklyn.  Set in the 1940s, young Eilis gives up her old life in a small Irish town for a new one in Brooklyn, New York. On her own, taking on a new job, making friends, and falling in love, she tries to combat homesickness and missing her family. When her heart calls her home, she has to make a choice to stay or return to the new one she's built. Earning Saoirse her second Oscar nomination, she is so lovely and charming, but also steely, determined and kind; it's a timeless performance.

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