Florence Pugh: The blossoming face of modern cinema
“I’m a bit of a gypsy. I live everywhere; I live out of a bag.”
Watching Florence Pugh try and rate British food items for Vogue on Youtube is the first time I was introduced to the star. Soon enough, I began watching her films one after the other, and I was utterly bowled over by her talent and skills. Anybody who has not watched Midsommar will not be able to comprehend the vividness of the scenes in which Florence Pugh’s emotional turmoil as Dani is sure to induce psychological terror in the viewers. While there are many up and coming actors in Hollywood, personally, I think that Florence Pugh is going to be the face of modern cinema, and shortly will I explain why.
Born in Oxford, the English actress suffered from tracheomalacia which led to frequent hospitalisation. Yet this ailment never deterred the actress, and she displayed her love for acting at a very young age. At the tender age of six, her knack for comedy and acting shone through as she expressed her love for accents. Pugh flaunted her Yorkshire accent while playing Mary in a nativity play but hated how her private schools discouraged her ambitions in acting.
Pugh would later make her acting debut at the age of 17, appearing in Carol Morley’s 2014 mystery film The Falling where her incredible performance as Abigail won her critical acclaim. Pugh portrayed the angst and anxieties of a teenager struggling with body acceptance with effortless ease and, with excitement growing, the actor received nominations at the BFI London Film Festival and London Film Critic’s Circle. Well-known within the English film circuit, Pugh was soon to expand her realm into American television with Studio City and, from there, Pugh has starred in various roles where her innate ability to optimise her limited screentime has attracted the interests of the critics.
Her role as the young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage with an older man in Lady Macbeth, which is quite opposite to her situation in real life where she is in a wonderful relationship with Zach Braff, would lead to yet more critical acclaim. For her complex performance, she won her the BIFA Award, and she enacted in various “thankless” roles where her performance outweighed major ones, cementing her name in the minds of the audience. As she was quoted saying, “Lady Macbeth is a great opportunity for me to prove that maybe the outcome of The Falling was not necessarily a fluke.”
Pugh, with her acting stock continually on the rise, began to grow more influential within Hollywood and her name would appear in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, adding yet another accolade to her name. At the same time, the wide range of roles portrayed by the actor had by then mesmerised critics and audience alike. However, it would be Ari Aster’s 2019 film Midsommar that catapulted Pugh’s career, a project which quickly made her a household name. In the folk horror film, Pugh played a complicated and layered role of Dani whose trauma surrounding her family’s mass demise coupled with her rocky relationship with her boyfriend was portrayed in an eerily terrifying manner. Her blank stares into the ominous Swedish wilderness screamed terror, sending shudders down our spine. Pugh’s transformation from an insecure and emotionally unstable girlfriend to a liberated May Queen seemed to loom large over my mind long after the credits stopped rolling. Dani continued to haunt me for days, her trauma and hounded after me.
Having shocked and impressed viewers, Pugh went on to play the headstrong and ditzy Amy march in Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation Little Women. Amidst a stellar ensemble comprising heavyweight actors such as Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet and more, Pugh made an indelible mark as the youngest March sister who went from being selfish and immature to poised, dignified and witty. Although Pugh was busy with Midsommar productions and would not be able to join the Little Women cast for rehearsals, Gerwig decided to wait out for her. And we are glad she did, as Pugh, with immense grace and glided effortlessly from the former to the latter, winning hearts with her performance. It is for this tole that she won her first Academy Award nomination as well as BAFTA nomination.
Florence Pugh, striking in her appearance, with her slightly husky voice, unkempt eyebrows and vivid green eyes, manages to add charm and accentuate her performances. Having started out at a young age, Pugh has taken over the industry with a storm in a blisteringly short amount of time and, as it looks, appears on an unstoppable ride to the top. With a dry and zany sense of humour, Pugh is a delight at interviews. Active on her social media platforms, she has vehemently lashed out against haters who critique her relationship and has been an active advocate for voting as well as the BLM movement.
While Pugh is set to appear alongside Scarlet Johansson in Black Widow, it seems to be the mere start of something brilliant. Great things await this young star whose humble and bubbly demeanour makes her adorable. Shall Florence Pugh fizzle out quickly as water bubbles, or is she on her way towards Hollywood domination? I vouch for the latter and cannot wait to see my current favourite bring home all the accolades she well deserves.
“We’re learning things every decade we grow through, and ultimately, you do end up with a different way of looking at things.”