Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Lindsay Lohan is a bloody good actor

The controversies surrounding the increasingly troubled star distract from the talent she hasn’t yet had a chance to exploit.

Tue, Mar 19, 2013, 22:12


It must be the guts of seven years ago when — following the latest automotive embarrassment — I was asked to write a profile of Lindsay Lohan. This nonsense really has been going on for that long. The unfortunate woman, now 26, has been crashing cars, posting bail and undergoing detox for about a third of her already lengthy career. It sounds as if, this week, she once again got off lightly. After pranging her Porsche and lying to a police officer, she was required to go through yet more rehab, do a spot more community service and have a few further words with a psychiatrist. But she wasn’t sent to jail. Much has been said about the leniency celebrities enjoy from courts in Los Angeles. Sometimes they quite literally get away with murder (we nameĀ no names m’lud).

Never mind that. OurĀ purpose is not to take further digs at the poor woman. As the slump into bad behaviour has continued, Ms Lohan has, somewhat unfortunately, turned into a reliable figure of fun for late-night satirists. One can hardly blame Craig LetterLeno for savouring such rich material. But somewhere in this mess we seem to have lost sight of an important fact: Linsday Lohan is a bloody good actor. The most comprehensive recent analysis of Ms Lohan’s disastrous professional practices comes in an already notorious piece for the New York Times concerning her work on Paul Schrader’s low-budget sub-exploitation piece The Canyons. As you might expect, the piece has a lot to do with non-apearences and sulky tantrums. But the most interesting part comes right at the end. Asked if he regretted casting Ms L, Schrader replied: “No, she’s great in the film.” I am sure that is the case. Whenever she has been given the chance (or allowed herself the chance) Lohan has shown an incredibly ability to chew a line into submission. She was, of course, terrific as a kid in The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday. She was equally good in Mean Girls. Since then, the career has begun fraying disastrously at the edges. She was, it must be said, not impressive in the recent Liz & Dick. But she was appallingly miscast as Elizabeth Taylor and the script was an absolute stinker. She was humiliated by Robert Rodriguez — among the worst directors ever to achieve name recognition — as s saucy nun in the utterly terrible Machete. You have to go back to Emilio Estevez’ wan Bobby to find a genuinely decent performance. It was a dull, sentimental film, but she actually managed to make something of her role.

All of which is a gabby way of asking Hollywood’s better directors to find the poor girl a decent part that will permit her to exercise those well-defined acting muscles. It doesn’t sound as if The Canyons is that film. But it might offer a way back. Robert Downey Jr managed it. So can Lindsay.

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