UPDATE: Considering this was written five years ago to the date, I felt it was time to update it, especially with the way that Kate’s career has taken off during that time. You of course probably know her from recent films like 127 Hours, Transcendence, Ironclad as well as TV series stints in House of Cards and American Horror Story.
Kate starred in the Fantastic Four reboot as Sue Storm and this weekend has a supporting role in the Ted Kennedy coverup thriller Chappaquiddick.
Mara has a number of other films coming to theaters this year. Maybe in due time, I’ll expand this to a top ten list, but for now, I’ll just leave the three movies below. Enjoy!
You might be looking at the title and be wondering who Kate Mara is. She’s appeared in bit roles in various movies including the recent Iron Man 2 as well as TV shows like 24, CSI, Entourage and Law and Order. But her acting resume isn’t confined to these cameo appearances. She’s shown her skills as a young, talented actress in feature roles. Some are great, others, not so much. Here, I weed out the three best performances by the young lady I discovered on a GAP billboard. (Long story)
The Open Road (2009) – Just watched this really well-made movie last night. Mara plays the role of Lucy, the ex-girlfriend of minor league baseball player Carlton Garrett (played with questionable skill by Justin Timberlake) who set out on a road trip with Cartlon’s father, Major League Hall of Famer Kyle Garrett (the excellent Jeff Bridges). Having not spoken to one another for five years, father and son bicker and argue on the long trip from Columbus, Ohio to Houston, Texas to visit Carlton’s mom (Mary Steenburgen) who is hospitalized with a heart defect. This is a story about redemption, about forgiveness, family, friendship, a truly well-written and well-executed/edited piece of filmmking. It’s not a baseball movie. In fact, there’s only one baseball scene in the entire film. If you aren’t sucked into the emotional end, then you, my friend, have a heart of stone.
We Are Marshall (2006) – Playing the role of Annie, the grief-stricken fiancee of Marshall running back Chris Griffen (Wes Brown) who perishes along with his entire team in a plane crash in the inspirational football drama. The great thing about this movie is that even though it’s about a football team and there’s plenty of football scenes, in the end, it’s a story about unity. Even the scenes of racism are treated with a no-so-subtle touch of saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” Sorry to quote Rodney King there.
Mara immerses herself and fits the part of Annie so perfectly in thi film. In my humble opinion, it’s her best performance to date. Yes, better than the cameo performance in “Brokeback Mountain.”
Transsiberian (2008) – This is one dark movie. It builds very slowly. You have to show a little patience with it in the first twenty minutes orso as the action is as bleak as the Siberian climate this ominous coal train rumbles through. It’s essentially a five person story, with two couples, Roy and Jessie (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) meeting the mysterious duo of Abby and Carlos (Mara and Eduardo Noriega) on a Transsiberian train trip. Bookending the story is the creepy and doggedly determinied Grinko (Sir Ben Kingsley) who is after a heroine smuggler.
I won’t ruin the ending for you but this film gradually ramps itself up, much like the train these people are riding on, to a tense yet satisfying conclusion. And Kingsley is SO good in this. Not Ghandi good, but still really, really good.
Other films you may have seen Mara in include Zoom (cheesy but harmless), Full of It (again, cheesy, but harmless) The Californians (her singing is the only reason to watch this mind-numbingly predictable movie), Shooter (not all the action movie it could/should have been).