Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whatever Happened to Thora Birch?


This was going to be my entry into A Fistful of Films' blogathon. But I looked at the guidelines again, and I forgot that one's pick has to be an Oscar nominee. So, here's the unused entry.

What happened to this actress? After two acclaimed performances in American Beauty (1999) and Ghost World (2001), she faded from the spotlight. In fact, she followed Ghost World up with two TV movies. Can someone explain that to me?

Birch in All I Want for Christmas, one of her first films.

She started out as a child actress, appearing in films like All I Want for Christmas (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), and Alaska (1996). Following a brief stint in TV work, she hit a high with American Beauty and fell to a horrible low in just three years. Now, she appears mostly in independent thrillers that garner anything but praise from critics.

Birch in American Beauty.

As previously mentioned, her famous performances are in American Beauty and Ghost World. In the former film, she played a rebellious high schooler that fell for a social outcast with a video camera. In the latter, she gave us Enid, a witty outsider fresh out of high school. These were solid outings from the budding thespian, and she is now far from being an A-lister. At 30, she is essentially a has-been.

Birch in Ghost World.

This is the same actress who's been nominated for a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and a Primetime Emmy. She's even won Screen Actors Guild and Online Film Critics Society Awards. Of course, she's been out of the awards circuit, for the most part, since the Ghost World campaign, but I can't understand why she's fallen from grace with Hollywood.

The cast of American Beauty at the 2000 SAG Awards.

Her upcoming film Petunia has a current U.S. release date scheduled for 2013. It's a dramedy co-starring Brittany Snow, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Christine Lahti. IMDb describes the movie as "the story of a family whose growth is stunted... a family that learns how to love themselves while loving each other (a little too much)."

The cast of Petunia.

Will Petunia be the project that revitalizes her floundering career? I hope so.

15 comments:

  1. Oooh nice post. Love Thora Birch. Enid was so infinitely cool. Speaking of, I haven't watched Ghost World in the longest time.

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  2. LOL, Thora Birch!!! I still remember remembering who she was when I saw that Lifetime movie 'The Pregnancy Pact'. The worst part of that experience was realizing that Birch can no longer act!!! Good God, she was incredible in both Ghost World and American Beauty...but man, her star was fallen so fast and so hard. Honestly, I forget who she is.

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    1. Ouch. Haven't seen any of her TV work, but that's a shame.

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  3. I have no idea why she hasn't has that much success. I thought she was a good actress, but I haven't seen anything new from her in years.

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    1. Yeah. I hope she makes a comeback.

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  4. Hmmm good question. I have no idea why as she was good in American Beauty but people seem to only remember Mena Suvari in that one. Same goes for Wes Bentley, though he might be back somewhat due to his role in Hunger Games. At least I hope so.

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    1. That's true. They totally slipped my mind.

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  5. I recently read somewhere that her parents are very controlling and because of them people won't hire her, apparantly they made things troublesome on the set in her previous projects.

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    1. It horrifies me when parents do that. It's like they're trying to live vicariously through their kids' talent. Kind of parasitic.

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    2. What? That's insane! They're only hurting her by interfering.

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  6. She was amazing in American Beauty. I wonder why her career faded so quickly? I hope she makes a comeback. Oh, and now I'm adding Ghost World to my list. (I read it was based on a graphic novel. Interesting).

    Fantastic post!

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    1. Thanks! Love her performances in both films. I still need to read the GW graphic novel though. Fingers crossed for a comeback!

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    2. Oh she really was great in those two movies and I should add another to the list of decent performances. It was a British thriller from 2001 called The Hole which also starred Keira Knightley.

      Perhaps it never made it out of the UK and perhaps I liked it because I was still heavily in to "teen" movies.

      If I'm honest Petunia sounds awful and it really won't do anything for her career but we can hope.

      The Ghost World graphic novel is excellent. One of my favourites. It was adapted very carefully and is one of the few that is so faithful to the source.

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    3. Haven't seen The Hole yet, so I didn't know if she was good in it or not. Glad to hear good things.

      Yeah, we can hope, but Petunia doesn't look like a winner.

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