What the Hell Happened to Reese Witherspoon?
Reese Witherspoon started her career in independent films in the 1990s. With the new millennium, she entered the mainstream. For a while, she seemed like the heir apparent to Julia Roberts as the Queen of Rom Coms. She scored an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance in Walk the Line in 2005. Since then, she has had one live action box office hit, a handful of disappointments and an embarrassing arrest for disorderly conduct.
What the hell happened?
Witherspoon made her film debut in 1991 opposite Sam Waterston and Jason London in Robert Mulligan’s coming-of-age drama, The Man in the Moon.
Witherspoon played a head-strong 14-year-old girl (is there any other kind) who finds love with the guy from Dazed and Confused. They meet during one of her nude moonlight swims in the neighbor’s pond.
Man in the Moon was one of those little films that didn’t get a wide release. Director Robert Mulligan was upset with how airlines recut his movie for in-flight showings. So he had his name removed from the credits. He was so disturbed that he retired from film-making. After more than three decades in the business, Man in the Moon was Mulligan’s final film.
Reviews were mostly positive. Roger Ebert praised the film and named it as one of the 10 best of 1991:
“Nothing else [Mulligan] has done… approaches the purity and perfection of The Man in the Moon. As the film approached its conclusion without having stepped wrong once, I wondered whether he could do it – whether he could maintain the poetic, bittersweet tone, and avoid the sentimentalism and cheap emotion that could have destroyed this story. Would he maintain the integrity of this material? He would, and he does.”
Later that year, Witherspoon appeared opposite Beau Bridges and Patricia Arquette in the TV movie Wildflower.
Arquette played a partially deaf girl with epilepsy who is being kept by her abusive stepfather. Witherspoon’s character befriends the poor girl and hopes to help her escape her stepfather’s brutality. Diane Keaton directed.
As TV movies go, Wildflower was well-received.
In 1992, Witherspoon appeared in another TV drama, Desperate Choices: To Save My Child.
Her parents were played by Bruce Davison and Growing Pains’ Joanna Kerns.
In 1993, Witherspoon starred opposite Ethan Embry (credited as Ethan Randall) in the family adventure film, A Far Off Place.
Witherspoon and Embry played survivors of an attack by a gang of poachers. They befriend an African bushman who helps them escape the poachers and travel to safety.
Reviews were mostly negative and the movie was barely noticed at the box office.
Next: S.F.W. and Fear
Posted on August 10, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged American Psycho, cruel intentions, election, Four Christmases, legally blonde, monsters vs. aliens, pleasantville, Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line. Bookmark the permalink. 144 Comments.