’90s goth girl Christina Ricci returns in Monstrous

“Dark.” “Precocious.” “Whimsical.” “Outspoken.”

Chances are, those are the things you heard or thought about Christina Ricci in the ’90s. The now 42-year-old actress has starred in a string of films during that decade that cemented her image as the antithesis of the stereotypical smiley-faced movie genius, and her off-screen persona — in which she was prone to edgy remarks — added to the rep.

Like so many icons of ’90s culture, Ricci has made a huge comeback in recent years. Her latest role is in the thriller ‘Monstrous’, out Friday May 13th. In it, she plays a young mother fleeing dark circumstances in a deceptively picturesque 1950s setting.

Her character, Laura, appears trying to escape from an abusive husband; She and her young son arrive at a house in a dusty desert landscape, where the son (Santino Barnard) begins to see an otherworldly apparition in the lake near the house, and Laura keeps hanging up on persistent phone calls.

Juliette Lewis as Natalie and Christina Ricci as Misty in "Yellow jackets."
Juliette Lewis as Natalie and Christina Ricci as Misty in the Showtime series Yellowjackets.
Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME
Christina Ricci in a still from her new film, "Outrageous."
Christina Ricci in a still from her new film Monstrous.
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

The twisted supernatural drama follows Ricci’s role as the menacing Misty Quigley in the Showtime series Yellowjackets, in which Ricci was reunited with fellow ’90s actresses Juliette Lewis and Melanie Lynskey as adult survivors of a plane crash whose aftermath became quasi-Lord of the Flies “ were “, except in teenage girls. The show was universally acclaimed for its unique blend of horror, nostalgia and glimpses into female friendships – with a riot-grrrl-tinged reversal of tropes about men in survival situations. And Ricci, the show’s most intriguing and possibly most villainous character, stole the show—even in a star cast.

She will also appear on Tim Burton’s Addams Family Netflix show Wednesday, this time in an as yet unnamed role, while actress Jenna Ortega will take on the title role, which Ricci played in the early ’90s.

It’s a triumphant return for the actress in an era that embraces the complexity and darkness of female roles in a way most mainstream films and shows didn’t in her youth.

“There was definitely a time when I didn’t fit into anything that was being done. I was constantly being asked or having to audition for rom-coms and the things that were available for actresses in my age group, and I didn’t fit into any of them because, I don’t know, I’m just a different type of actress,” she said she of the LA Times.

Christina Ricci, Cher and Winona Ryder in the 1990s "mermaids."
Christina Ricci (from left), Cher and Winona Ryder in ‘Mermaids’ from the 1990s.
©Orion Pictures Corp/courtesy of the Everett Collection
Christina Ricci in the 1991s "The Addams family."
Christina Ricci in 1991’s The Addams Family. She reprized her role as Wednesday Addams in the 1993 sequel Addams Family Values.
©Paramount/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Young Ricci used to be appreciated for her gorgeous looks and wit that lasted through the years. After her first film role opposite Cher and Winona Ryder in The Mermaids (1990), she broke out as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel Addams Family Values ​​(1993). Ricci embodied the Addams daughter’s pitch black humor so well that her off-screen image seemed inextricably linked to her performance in the role.

She grew up in noir roles in some notable ’90s indies, most notably the scathing 1998 comedy The Opposite of Sex starring Lisa Kudrow and Vincent Gallo’s controversial Buffalo 66, and then 2001’s Prozac Nation and Monster ‘ from 2003, in which she played the girlfriend of Charlize Theron’s serial killer.

She also made a name for herself by saying outrageous things in interviews and was reportedly dealing with an eating disorder. She has said it all came down to making her feel like a bug under a magnifying glass. “At that age I had no idea who I was, so it was very strange that people decided who I was,” she told the Guardian. “I felt very criticized and analyzed. The only thing I can think of was like someone just spinning in the wind. It was incredibly awkward being a teenager, being so public and then having to answer questions about how other people felt about you.”

Christina Ricci and Ivan Sergei in the 1998s "The opposite of sex."
Christina Ricci and Ivan Sergei in 1998’s The Opposite of Sex.
©Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci in 2001 "Prozac nation."
Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci in 2001’s Prozac Nation.
© Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection
Christina Ricci and Charlize Theron in 2003 "Monster."
Christina Ricci and Charlize Theron in 2003’s Monsters.
©Newmarket Releasing/Courtesy of E

These days, however, she’s more confident when it comes to standing in the public eye — and the film landscape for female performers seems to have caught up with the kind of no-BS vibe she served up decades ago.

Ricci has said that the role of the old-fashioned but devilish Misty in particular felt resonant for her – as well as a deliciously dark revelation. “I’m a small woman who seems adorable to people who like to touch me and don’t take me seriously and like to assume I’m stupid before I open my mouth. And I’m an actress who didn’t go to college, so I must be really dumb. But I can’t be directly hostile or directly confrontational. . . So I’m very involved with that and I love the idea of ​​showing that because I feel like I’ve never played anything where I’ve been able to show that manifestation of anger.”

How her character arc develops in “Monstrous”. . . Well, we won’t spoil it for you. But suffice it to say that it’s another satisfying hit at the glorious return of Ricci, who now has two children of her own. Everyone hails the goth queen mother.

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