Eighteen-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz played a young vampire in Let Me In, a would-be superhero in Kick Ass and cinema’s most famous telekinetic, Carrie. It’s a diverse group of roles, but Moretz says she can draw a straight line from character to character.
“They’re linear,” she says, “in the sense that they’re all strong characters. A lot of them are like me, the basis of them. They all have a big mountain in front of them but they are going to climb it and fight as hard as they can.”
This weekend she stars in The 5th Wave, a world-under-attack sci-fi flick based on Rick Yancey’s young adult novel of the same name. Moretz plays Cassie and her “big mountain” is an alien invasion that devastates the planet, separating her from her younger brother. Can she find her sibling before the deadly 5th wave hits?
You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that it is another spunky performance from the actress.
Over the course of a short but eventful career spirited characters have become her stock in trade. She has made a habit of playing people with rich lives swirling around them. For instance, she’s a sparkplug teenage prostitute in The Equalizer, a confused best friend to Keira Knightley in Laggies and a movie star with a scandalous life in Clouds of Sils Maria.
Here are her top three career defining roles:
Spunky: In If I Stay Moretz plays Mia, a gifted teenage cellist from a family of musicians. When a catastrophic accident throws her into a coma she has an out-of-body experience. The rest of the story is told from the perspective of her memories before the accident and in the present, as she observes, ghostlike, the aftermath of the car crash.
Here she delivers what may be her best performance yet. As Mia she is a talented teen just discovering a life beyond the cello that has been her constant companion since she was young. It’s a simple and uncluttered performance with a lot going on behind the eyes.
Spunkier: In the 2013 remake of Carrie she put her own spin on Stephen King’s most famous character, originally played by Sissy Spacek in 1976. Where Spacek was a true outsider, an abused, naïve girl, Moretz plays her with a bit more pluck. Both are Ugly Ducklings transformed into swans and then monsters, unwitting and undeserving victims of horrible abuse, but Moretz gives Carrie more backbone than her predecessor.
Spunkiest: Undoubtedly her signature spunky performance came in 2010’s Kick-Ass. If Quentin Tarantino made a kid’s coming-of-age movie it might look something like Kick-Ass. It has most of his trademarks — clever dialogue, good soundtrack and some high octane violence — but there’s a twist. The bloodiest, most cutthroat purveyor of ultra violence in the film is an 11-year-old girl.
The action scenes are plentiful and frenetic and once you get past the question, “Why would Chloë Moretz’s parents allow her to do this?” they’re really fun. It’s a little unsettling to see a young girl wielding a switchblade, gunning down dozens of bad guys and going hand-to-hand with a full grown man, but not since Natalie Portman in Léon has the screen seen such a sweet-faced assassin.