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Film

Six Definitive Films: The ultimate beginner's guide to Amanda Seyfried

American actress Amanda Seyfried has enjoyed a diverse career over the course of which she has starred in popular comedies such as Mean Girls as well as recent gems like First Reformed. Although she had joined the university for higher education, Seyfried decided to take a gamble and dropped out after nabbing her role in Mean Girls which did end up working out perfectly.

Before acting, she started her career as a model on a whim. “I’d heard about modelling on the radio,” Seyfried revealed. “I’d listen to the radio at night to go to bed, especially on Sundays with Casey Kasem, and they had these commercials about open calls to come be a model. I thought, ‘How glamorous.’ I had a cousin who was a local model with a local agency, so I went.”

She was also drawn towards musical productions from an early age, even though she suffered from stage fright. “I never, ever stepped foot on a stage when I was in high school because that high school theatre program was so intense,” the actress said, while talking about her early years. “I was already doing television in New York and I was too busy to really focus on that, and I was intimidated by the theatre students.”

Check out a list of six definitive films that everyone should watch as an introduction to the acting works of Amanda Seyfried.

Amanda Seyfried’s six definitive films:

Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)

Undoubtedly the most popular addition to Seyfried’s filmography which launched her career, Mean Girls is one of the most iconic teen comedies of the mid-2000s. Featuring other stars of that era like Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams, the film introduces the world of high school bullying and social elitism through extremely funny vignettes.

Seyfried said: “I felt so lucky just to get that job, at that age. I was 17. I was living alone and my mom had to come live with me in Toronto to shoot Mean Girls because I was not emancipated yet. That was bizarre. I had the most fun I could have possibly imagined having and I was doing what I love. And then, this movie became a huge hit. That was not expected and not even an idea in my mind, that that could be possible.”

Nine Lives (Rodrigo García, 2005)

An example of what many call hyperlink cinema, Nine Lives is a collection of interwoven stories about nine women and their respective lives. Focusing on the universal problems of life like parenthood, mortality and love, Nine Lives is a brilliant and innovative work by Rodrigo García.

The segment featuring Seyfried was shot in a single take which made it hard for the actress: “It was a little bit complicated at first…The choreography of it and stuff like that. But I’m completely open to the idea. I really wish that was the way things are made more [often]. It’s like theatre.”

The End of Love (Mark Webber, 2012)

Starring Michael Cera alongside Seyfried as themselves, Webber’s 2012 drama is an unusually tender interpretation of modern realism. Webber plays himself, a struggling artist who is forced to confront his own infantile personality when he suddenly becomes a single father.

Like many great American independent films, Webber constructs a sombre exploration of the human condition and what it means to be living under a social contract. Although it was virtually forgotten after its Sundance Festival premiere, The End of Love is definitely worth a watch.

While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach, 2014)

Baumbach’s 2014 film features Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a happily married couple who want to break out of the infamous middle-age rut. In order to do that, they hang out with a younger, free-spirited couple (Adam Driver and Seyfried) which pushes their old friends away.

“I was thinking of more mainstream comedies like those screwball comedies, but also the more mainstream comedies from my childhood that studios used to make,” Baumbach explained. “They were more character-based and about adults and adult concerns, but they also could be broadly funny and maybe sort of pleasurable in a more mainstream way. I felt like I was kind of working within that template, so in that way I understand it.”

First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017)

Inspired by pioneers of cinema like Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman and Carl Theodor Dreyer, First Reformed is one of the crowning achievements of Paul Schrader’s directorial career. The film revolves around Ethan Hawke, a pastor of a fading church that has historical significance but is rendered obsolete by modernity.

While talking about her character, Seyfried commented: “She’s pregnant, and I was pregnant. I was 33 weeks when I stopped filming that. She had just found out that her husband has shot his head off, and Ethan Hawke’s character found him in the woods because he asked him to meet him there. That was hard. I don’t have that many regrets, but the actor in me is like, ‘I wish I could go back and do that again.’ We didn’t have a lot of time.”

Mank (David Fincher, 2020)

The most critically acclaimed role of Seyfried’s career, David Fincher‘s latest film Mank stars Seyfried as actress Marion Davies for which she earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Fincher’s project explores the making of Citizen Kane through the life of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman).

“With Mank, getting to play a real person was the best thing, ever,” the actress gushed. “My weaknesses are that I can get lazy. I can learn my lines in the makeup chair, on the day, and sometimes that gets in the way. Sometimes it doesn’t, but sometimes it does. I also don’t want to do certain physical roles, but I can’t just say no to things that mean I have to work harder, in a physical way.”