Spotlight: Lily Collins

There’s this common perception that having a famous last name is all you need. A surname may get you a meeting, but if there’s no talent you won’t get the part.

Lily Collins

I put a lot of thought into who I wanted my first spotlight to be about. I could have easily rambled about my absolute favourites until no end but I’ll have time for that later. Oh, how full of tangents and ramblings they will be. But now I wanted to shine a light on someone who I feel is sorely underrated and maybe not taken as seriously within the film industry. While this could fall upon many people, I knew that I needed to pick Lily and express my love for her and be able to translate it to others.

There have always been a handful of actresses for me that I find completely captivating for various reasons. The one question I always found myself stuck on was ‘were they good at acting or are they simply likeable?’ Lily Collins was a prime example of this for me. Early in her career, she was in some duds. She often played the damsel in distress, the girlfriend and just about any other female archetype that didn’t require much ability or screen time.

Lily as…the teenage daughter, a damsel in distress and the love interest.

What really first got the Lily train rolling for yours truly was a movie I’m sure many people skipped which was Stuck In Love. The biggest fault of this movie is that it’s a lesser Crazy Stupid Love. It’s not nearly as cohesive or charming as the earlier movie. Lily was vastly the most interesting part of this movie. Playing a girl who was so cynical about her preconceptions of love, Lily’s back must have hurt from carrying the brunt of this movie.

Mirror Mirror came along and it seemed perfect for Lily to depict a Disney Princess. But the only thing I can really remember from this movie were the amazing costumes and how stunning Lily looked. Another huge thing I remember is how media, before and during this, were really set on calling her the daughter of Phil Collins. The only acceptable time to talk about Phil in relation to Lily is bringing up the fact that he wrote You’ll Be In My Heart as a lullaby for her and how that’s just about the most adorable thing ever. The movie was cute and so was Lily in it. It was simply just another movie at the end of the day.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’ll be forever thankful that Shadowhunters gained relative popularity and made people focus less on The Mortal Instruments film Lily did. Along with Kristen Stewart, Lily fell victim of connecting to a character and having genuine excitement over playing the main character in a series. Whereas Twilight was insanely popular, the Mortal Instruments series crashed and burned. It was rather sad to see it do so since I vividly remember Lily being very excited about it and signing on to the series very early on. Alas, it was a blessing in disguise.

Lily as…the unnecessary reminder that she’s actually a real life Disney Princess, a cynical young adult and a girl dragged into a world of demons and other magical shit.

Everyone hold your asses…Hot Take alert! Love, Rosie is one of the best Rom-Coms of the 2010s and deserves to be recognized in the genre as a whole. Lily and her co-star, the ever beautiful and charming Sam Claflin, have enough chemistry to rival Walter White. (Side note: I’ve only seen season one of Breaking Bad and I feel I can now reference it. It worked. It’s fine. Anyways…). I can admittedly see that Love, Rosie has it’s flaws as in the characters’ lack the basic human ability to communicate like at all but it’s so charming that you can set that aside. Literally set it aside, grab a bottle of wine instead and watch this movie.

Okay. Now that I have that out of the way. I’ll refocus. My apologizes. Spoiler alert: a bigger rant is coming your way. You have been warned.

Rules Don’t Apply is the best display of Lily’s full range of acting. It’s tragic that the amount this movie is attempting to do doesn’t let you fully enjoy how terrific Lily is in this. This movie would have worked better as a mini series with the rapid-fire speed it bounces around storylines that hardly have time to be all concluded satisfyingly. It did give us the first big recognition for Lily’s acting in the form of a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. It’s fitting Lily is playing an actress in the 1950s in this, having the ‘je ne sais pas’ of the actresses of the time. She’s absolutely striking in the role of the young ingenue making her way through Hollywood and finding that it’s never what it’s made out to be.

I hadn’t realized until writing this that three movies in a row were Netflix produced and/or distributed and I’m not gonna hate because they were all great. To The Bone starred Lily as Eli, a young women battling eating disorders and her inner demons. Drawing from her own experiences that Lily has been very open about to spread awareness and hoping to help other young people, Lily truly finally shines in a movie where she is playing the main character and is actually allowed and able to showcase her skills. Now I’m gonna quote myself from my review from Letterboxd:

“Rather than sitting through a film because of Lily, I like that I now enjoy a movie because of her.”

Lily as… one of two human beings with the worst timing, the young ingenue trying her damn best and a young woman who is struggling to reclaim her life.

I’m going to quickly skim past Okja. I loved that movie but it felt like Lily was in it to simply be part of it. She played a scrappy environmental activist and was a total boss however. I also have to bring up her bright red bob that she had during and post this movie for a bit because it was perfection. I’ll add a picture just for reference and because she’s flawless.

I mean…come on…

I’m purposely skipping past Tolkien because I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure Lily is lovely as always in it. I have to get to Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile. Not even touching on Lily for the moment being even though this is literally me talking about her, this movie had so much potential to go one way and be terrific however the route it took still led to a good movie but it could have been great. Okay. Back to Lily…

I believe my Letterboxd review will say it best (and I don’t want to type it again or reword it):

“I wanted more Liz. I already know Bundy was a sociopath. Zac Efron was spot on with his portrayal. I already know about Bundy’s horrific crimes. 

Who we should be focusing on a lot more is Liz and Lily Collins’ performance. I would have loved to see more of the movie through her eyes and not just glimpses of this guilt eating away at her. The end scene shouldn’t be this revolutionary moment for Lily. The whole movie should have been her moment.”

To say I was frustrated with this movie is an understatement. This movie was equally an injustice to Elizabeth Kendall and to Lily’s portrayal of her.

Lily as… a woman who is far more important and interesting then the serial killer she was unfortunately captivated by.

Now Lily did do some TV which I won’t touch on since this blog is primarily about movies. But I haven’t seen Les Miserables yet but I have plans on watching it soon. I’ve heard great things about Lily as Fantine and my only excuse for not watching it is laziness.

Her upcoming projects are Glided Rage with Bill Skarsgård and Christoph Waltz, an ensemble movie Halo Of Stars, The Cradle, Inheritance, Titan and concluding with the one I’m most excited about: Mank directed by David Fincher. She also has TV series Emily In Paris that I’ll be avidly watching.

I hope to have peak your interest in Lily Collins and to give her a chance. Her career is only beginning to blossom it feels like. I only wish for once day for her to truly bloom into the actress I know she can be. (How many flower references can I make…) She just needs to be given the proper chance to shine fully. I have so much riding on Mank. David Fincher is that director and people will go out to see it. What I want is for her not to be seen as someone’s daughter, someone’s ex or possible girlfriend, only a pretty face or a set of perfect eyebrows but rather the great talent I know she has lurking inside her.