We’re at the time of year when I think, “Oh, thank GOD, a potential top Fug Madness seed is IN THE GAME.”
Fugger: Rooney Mara
So, as I type, it’s Sunday night and I just recently burned the ever-living hell out of my hand (kitchen accident). But I have to fill up our post queue because Jess is recovering from wisdom-tooth surgery. So I am using only my left fingers — thank God I play the piano; makes this much easier — and cruising thorough these while I am waiting for my friend to get here to stay with the beans so I can go to the ER. My entire right hand feels like Satan himself is licking it, with a forked tongue studded with acid. I realize the world has way more important problems right now, but in my endeavors to bring you procrastibatort material — my left hand just really didn’t like typing “procrastinatory,” but I left the typo because it made me laugh — I am doing a terrible job a smiling through the owwwww. So just beware of my mindset.
What ruffled hellbag is this? Aptly, this reminds me of my sad fallen paw. Parts of it seem fine and functional but then SO MUCH of the rest is FLAMES OH THE FLAMES IT BURNS.
What… IS that? No, really. What is it? Did she weave a spool of thread into her hair?
Bear with me, but I actually think this is neat.
The tiered shape looks good on her, and the texture and sparkle is really pretty. Okay, it’s also a bit apron-like — there’s a drizzle of sideboob — but you are talking to someone who wouldn’t get mad if a sparkly apron were hanging in her own kitchen (impractical though that may be). And a drizzle of sideboob is at least so much better than a smothering. Of all Rooney’s wacky “directional” explosions of high-fashion experimentation, this to me is effective rather than eek.
There was quite a discussion in the Rooney Mara comment section the other day all about the expectation of people smiling on the red carpet, even if that’s not exactly who they are — should they feel pressured to sell themselves a certain way, what if they’re just nervous, is the world imposing too much of a standard on them, and so forth. There are a lot of good points all around to be made. I’m sure my record of late is not perfect, but I’ve personally tried to back off discussing that unless it’s very CLEARLY the person’s personal peccadillo, like how J.Lo assumes her same Business Face in every red carpet picture, or there’s a riff to be made that ties back to the buzz around a particular movie (feuds, bad reviews, etc) or the outfit (does she hate it). Maybe you could argue that selling the movie and looking excited to do so is, technically, part of the actors being On The Job. Ditto looking excited to be wearing the free clothes. Both are valid things to wonder. But, maybe a person has anxiety (as Rose Byrne admitted to doing), or just didn’t anticipate that part of it being so imposing, or feels like barfing, or had a rough day for personal reasons. That’s ALSO worth considering. Or maybe there’s a person who’s super smiley and personable in interviews and then quickly slips into Stern Face on the red carpet, in a way that makes you wonder if it’s been coached into them (see: Ginnifer Goodwin). I don’t have any answers for the world at large, but in the interest of fairness to Rooney — who took it on the chin in the comments for being sour-faced — here she is on Late Night With Seth Meyers looking delighted to be alive.
The pictures of her doing the interview are similarly charming. She looks relaxed, happy, carefree. So maybe her handlers told her that Serious Actors Make Serious Faces on the red carpet. Maybe someone once gave her an (unnecessary) complex about how she photographs when she’s grinning. Maybe it’s just her Thing with herself, like how I wish I could hide my forehead inside a bag. Or maybe she had a headache. Maybe she snaps into Dragon Tattoo mode because those events are when she first rose to fame, and she felt people expected life to imitate art. Who knows. But she’s clearly not a grim person; she seems quite lovely. In fact, other than the booties — which you sadly can’t really see because they blend in with the floor — I think this whole outfit is a win. And if someone ever DID make her self-conscious about smiling in photographs, that person is CRAZY and should be sat in a corner for a day to think about what they’ve done.
I just keep imagining the conversations between Rooney Mara’s stylist, and that stylist’s assistant, wherein the assistant keeps holding up, say, a green dress with a questioning expression, and the stylist sighs, “No. You know she’ll only wear black or white. I know. I know. But I’ve given up. She’s been utterly monochrome for years now.” So I’ve reached the point where I don’t know if I think something is unsuccessful in general, or just BORING:
I mean, whatever. Yeah, it’s a backwards apron dress too timid to go full mullet on us:
But I think I would have liked it on Emma Watson.
Here is the thing, and this might sound a little radical, but bear with me: Her black-and/or-white only wardrobe is slowly making Rooney feel like a celebrity non-entity to me. She hasn’t done enough big projects (especially recently), nor done enough press, to make a real impression on 80% of the world. We know who she is, but we’re paying attention. For most movie goers, she is — despite an Oscar nomination! — barely even a household name. Which, look, I don’t know her life and maybe what she really wants is to do Chekhov in tiny, obscure places forever and God speed, if so. I doubt it, though; Pan looks like a mess from the ads, but a Peter Pan adaptation always has the potential of being a very commercial project, and obviously so was Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But when you’re consistently presenting yourself in black and white at press events and on red carpets, you start to train the on-looker’s eye to just flicker past you — we respond to color — and there are ten thousand tiny serious brunette actresses in the world. Now is not the time to be subtly, consistently inducing the movie-ticket-buying public to pay you no mind. Look, I’m not arguing that she needs to pop up at the next photocall in a red tube top for attention. But I think these press events are actually very smart ways for actresses to introduce themselves to the audience, or to remind us that we like them, or to catch our attention — take Lily James’s great press tour for Cinderella, for example. There is absolutely a way for her to be true to her personal style — which is a little goth, a little quirky, a bit what Vogue would call “directional” — without it making people subconsciously tune her out. So I guess that what I’m saying is, I’m starting to worry about Rooney Mara’s career, and, in short: maybe try blue next time?
Something about the setting of this photo makes her look as if she’s the hostess at a tiki restaurant, waiting to escort you to your table:
And PRAYING for the day that her manager gets over this bizarre ruffled shower curtain fetish.