The first time I remember seeing Lauren Ambrose it was in the tepid teen comedy “Can’t Hardly Wait” -- you know, the movie that was supposed to launch Jennifer Love Hewitt into Meg Ryan territory. While the movie (my sister’s choice, grumble) was largely forgettable (oh, and I’m still steamed about the whole “fag” thing), I remember noticing Lauren for a couple of reasons. One, she seemed like a real teenager. And two, she seemed like a real teenager who, had I been a teenager, I would have loved to hang out with. In other words, a real smart ass.
But then came “Six Feet Under” and not only did I take notice, I took notes. As Claire, she was that teenager from before but amplified. She was nuance and contradiction. Confident and insecure. Rebellious and vulnerable. Sarcastic and loving. Smart and reckless. She was a girl learning how to become a woman, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always achingly real. I fucking loved her on that show. While I can’t necessarily say the same thing about her latest endeavor, “The Return of Jezebel James,” that’s hardly her fault. There’s plenty of blame to go around that laugh-free factory.
Lauren’s ability to convey the sense of questioning inherent in adolescence made her portrayal of young women exploring their sexuality both in “Six Feet Under” and the film “Swimming” that much more authentic. In such a superficial industry, it’s refreshing to see a young woman who has sought substance over style, a woman who defies the starlet trap and its inane beauty doctrine. Also, I just love the gingers. Happy weekend, all.