Friday, May 18, 2007

Trouble Brewing?

I like young actress Evan Rachel Wood a lot. She's stenciled into my mind from a dozen or more astonishing scenes in Thirteen. Her final scream over the top of the great Liz Phair song "Explain it to me" at the end of the film is a particular keeper. (You may know her as the heartland girl-friend in Green Day's "When September Ends" video.) I like Marilyn Manson quite a lot too, at least when I'm a certain mood.

But I can't say that I'm thrilled about them as an item. Almost everyone has a disastrous, too-intense relationship in college, say. But with someone 20 years older? With Mr Manson? And with death-obsessed, explicit videos such as this not safe for work classic? I know Wood is an actress and that she's a legal adult - if she's old enough to vote, to go fight in Iraq, and all the rest of it then she's old enough to make her own wretched relationship mistakes (if that's what they are). Still, if she were my sister, I'd be concerned... It's weird to feel oneself disturbed by something so far away, and in the grand scheme of things so unimportant and so "none of my business". But our general relationship to ingenue-ish, female movie stars is that we do end up having vaguely protective feelings for them... They were selected for their roles because of their hyper-neotenic features, their impossibly perfectly pristine skin, their supreme openness to the camera..... and we buy them in that capacity. We're right there with them in our imaginations. We love Audrey Hepburn and feel very protective of her... and we want her to be happy, for the world not to defile her, etc. much as we would wish those things for a member of our own family. Evan Rachel Wood isn't the new Audrey H. - no one is - but she works the same part of our celebrity/vicarious emotional musculature (just as Katie Holmes did - hence the grief that Mr Cruise copped). She's our kid sister and we hope like hell things aren't going to hell for her.

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