Elle just had an InStyle cover, and I imagine it’s quite an undertaking to craft a second profile so soon after someone else did one, for fear of repetition. Luckily for Elle, this is pegged to her movie release All The Bright Places, which helps because otherwise it tells you absolutely nothing you didn’t already know (she loves fashion! She feels more empowered! She wants to direct!). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a breezy, cute read, once you get past the writer being slightly self-congratulatory about deciding to do it as “a conversation” rather than a list of questions (as if that person didn’t mentally have a list to use to STEER said conversation). But Elle Fanning is hella young and so there’s not a lot more to that story to tell right now. However, she did say this:

“I’m told I have a very period face. I don’t know what that means.”

We do, my friend, and I also said it about you during Cannes last year. I am in no way suggesting she got this from me, by the way; there is no way in the world we are the first people to think of Period vs Modern Face, or to think it about Elle Fanning. But anyway, Elle, it means you would slide right into a movie set in Days of Yore and be perfectly at home, unlike Laura Dern, who — this is not her fault at all; she didn’t cast herself — Modern Faced all over Little Women as Marmee. (Almost everyone else in the core cast has Period Face, though, I think; I couldn’t decide about Florence Pugh, but she has such Modern Voice that it might be overshadowing my ability to decide about the face.)(JUSTICE FOR J.LO.) I mean, just look at Super 8, one of the first movies in which I became familiar with Elle Fanning, when she was about half her current age. Period Face! It doesn’t mean she can’t be in modern movies, though. It’s honestly a stroke of luck, I think, because it means you can kind of flow both ways.

Anyhoo, photographically, the InStyle piece was also going to be tough to follow. Marie Claire tried,  but the cover shot itself is such a let-down. She looks bored out of her gourd, as if Ben Stein is up there intoning, “Bueller? Bueller?” while her classmate sleeps in his own drool. The subscriber cover is MUCH better:


Why can’t THAT be on newsstands? We all know what Elle Fanning looks like, but wouldn’t it be nice to see that joy coming at us from the checkout line or the Hudson News?


I don’t even mind this one, either — it’s serious, sure, but it’s connected in a way the main shot is not. Magazines are struggling. I think a useful rule of thumb might be that if your cover subject looks paralyzed by ennui, it’s not a great incentive to look within.

[Photos: Marie Claire]