Go here for Part 1 of this post -> Rising stars: Get to know AnnaSophia Robb – Part 1 of 3
AnnaSophia Robb has starred in a few independent films that haven’t received much attention. I’m going to comment mostly on Have Dreams, Will Travel and Sleepwalking.
There are movie spoilers below.
Have Dreams, Will Travel (2007)
Have Dreams, Will Travel was originally called West Texas Children’s Story. It’s a bittersweet drama set in the 1960s starring Cayden Boyd and AnnaSophia Robb. Cayden plays Ben Reynolds who narrates the story and begins by explaining his situation; a neglecting bisexual mother, and an indifferent father obsessed with cleaning his boat in the desert. On a rainy night, there’s a car that crashes outside the family diner, and surprise surprise, the only survivor is Cassie Kensington played by AnnaSophia. They take her in until she can get better so that she may live with her grandmother. She decides to take matters into her own hands and tells Ben that there’s nothing here for her, and convinces Ben that there’s nothing here for him either. They decide to just randomly take off to her aunt and uncle’s house in Baltimore, and a long road trip takes up almost 80% of the movie. Along the way they sleep in a barn, get married at Cassie’s suggestion, are detained by the police, ride in a flower power hippie bus, and so on. Yes, two 12 year old kids get married.
AnnaSophia Robb’s character in this movie is certifiably insane and talks like no one you’ve ever heard before. There’s this theme about how “everyone needs a plan” that she stresses throughout the entire length of the movie. When Ben and Cassie arrive at her aunt’s house, she undergoes a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric ward. Apparently her father was an alcoholic and also abused her, and she caused the accident that killed her parents by attacking her father while he was driving. Ben helps her escape the ward at the end of the movie and they live a fulfilling life, accomplishing the goals that were set in “the plan” they made as 12 year old kids.
This movie was a little deeper than I expected. After the credits rolled, I felt like I just watched something really bland but also really original at the same time.
Spy School (2008)
This movie was really really really terrible. Thomas Miller (Forrest Landis) is a loner and a compulsive liar at a school. He has zero friends but somehow manages to capture the attention of cute skater girl Jackie Hoffman played by AnnaSophia Robb. It was excruciating to watch the pathetic romance unfold. Thomas foolishly goes for a British girl named Madison played by Taylor Momsen who is about a foot taller than everyone else. AnnaSophia Robb apparently has her first on-screen kiss in this movie and it is completely awkward because she cries afterwards.
Spy School was just borderline unwatchable because it was incredibly cheesy, the plot was lame, and the acting was terrible…but I guess that is what I should expect for a TV/DVD release movie. The only good part of the movie was probably all the scenes when AnnaSophia does a funny accent mimicking Taylor Momsen’s character Madison. If I could buy back the time I lost watching this movie, I probably would.
Sleepwalking was originally called Ferris Wheel, and I figured out why. There’s nothing but depressing characters, themes, and imagery that just go round and round. Try not to sleepwalk through this movie even though it was one of the slowest movies I’ve ever seen in my life. I watched it with some friends, and they all fell asleep. I had to watch it a second time to see if I missed anything. AnnaSophia Robb plays Tara Reedy, the daughter of Joleen Reedy played by Charlize Theron. Tara is a troubled and bitter kid because her mother completely fails at life and randomly leaves Tara for a short period of time. This forces her uncle James Reedy played by Nick Stahl to take responsibility and be her guardian. Basically, the movie slowly builds up to a hellish “vacation” to a farm run by Tara’s grandfather played by Dennis Hopper. On that farm, they experience some mind-numbingly brutal work and quite a lot of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. I thought most of the characters in the movie did a decent job. However, I thought Charlize Theron’s character seemed half assed because they never did explain where she went or why she came back. Absolutely no closure there but James and Tara have some genuine cathartic experiences by the end of the movie.
I think the best scene in this movie is when Tara is smoking by the motel pool and just roller skating around. It’s very lolita-like as she just lounges on a pool chair and gazes back at the young boys in the jacuzzi. When she jumps in the pool, it’s her way of saying that she has control over her life and that she won’t take the path her mother took. I think all the bonding scenes with her uncle were also pretty good. By the end of the movie, James realizes that his involvement in taking care of Tara has mostly changed has life for the better. To enjoy this movie or at least watch it with an open mind, I think you need to be able to sit through really slow moving material, and sift through the crap to get to the good stuff (if there is any). Most people I know are typically the kind with the patience to only watch action movies or comedies. Also, most people just want to watch a movie and not spend too much time analyzing what happens, and that’s why this movie is indie film material.
This is not an independent or low budget film, but she had a really small almost unnoticed role in this movie. If you want to see AnnaSophia Robb as a brunette, Samuel L Jackson play his typical badass character, and some absolutely ridiculous but inventive action scenes, then here you go. The only issue I have with this movie is that it leaves way too many unanswered questions by the end. For example, where did the jumping power come from?
Dear Eleanor (2009)
What can we expect for her next movie? She was supposed to do a movie called The White Giraffe with Gabor Csupo, the director of Bridge to Terabithia. It has an interesting story. The story tells of Martine, an orphaned young girl emigrating to South Africa to live with her grandmother on a game preserve. The tale is filled with African magic and mystery as Martine searches for the truth behind the legend of the white giraffe. This is exactly the kind of movie that AnnaSophia likes to do, something with a good story to tell. Unfortunately, the project is apparently dead in the water, and we probably won’t see it get the green light. Anyway, AnnaSophia Robb will be starring in Dear Eleanor.
This movie is still in pre-production as of 6/10/2009.
The story of two fourteen year old girls, Ellie and Max the Wax, who travel across America in 1962 during the chaos of the Cuban missile crisis in search of Eleanor Roosevelt and Ellie’s late mother. Their secret journey begins in their hometown of Manteca, California (The Pumpkin Capital of the World). Their final destination: New York City (The Big Apple). Along the way they’re robbed by a guy who looks like Warren Beatty and helped out by Max’s Aunt Daisy, a vaudevillian contortionist who can fold herself into a bag. When Ellie loses all hope of ever finding her mother, Aunt Daisy pushes her onward to discover just what is waiting for her at Eleanor Roosevelt’s house, and why this adventure will not be the end of her journey, but just the beginning.
So what else does she do? Well she is involved in volunteering and giving back through charity work. AnnaSophia is an activist in the Dalit Freedom Network, an organization that essentially helps poverty stricken people (specifically Indians in the lowest caste) across the world from the United States.
Read her essay on her life changing trip to India -> http://www.annasophiarobb.com/summer_vacation_india.pdf
“So why would a girl who already has so many things going want to take the time to help children halfway around the world? For AnnaSophia, the answer is simple — you never know what kind of difference you can make. [My family and I] sponsor a couple of children in India and you never know, if those children get a good education and grow up, they could become the prime minister of India. They could create a cure for cancer,” AnnaSophia said. “Who knows what the potential of our world is, but we all need to help each other.” – excerpt from AnnaSophia’s interview with TC Magazine
“All her hard work is paying off and everyone from producers and critics to fans and moviegoers are starting to take notice. AnnaSophia has been nominated for several awards and won the Young Artist Award for Best Leading Actress in 2008. But while it may be her big smile that captivates people on the silver screen, it’s AnnaSophia’s big heart that really stands out.” – TC Magazine
AnnaSophia Robb has accomplished quite a bit at such a young age, but there’s much more on the horizon for this young actress. Most of her movies usually have a decent depth and a memorable character, and I hope she continues starring in such films. As long as she stays grounded, avoids the stereotypical Hollywood life, and picks the right films, we might see an Academy award winning actress one day.
AnnaSophia Robb interviews with Nylon Magazine
AnnaSophia Robb interviews at 14th Annual Palm Beach Film Festival
AnnaSophia Robb dances at Zlin Film Festival
AnnaSophia Robb interviews at Zlin Film Festival