Winona Forever: Our favorite Winona Ryder roles

Categories: Film, Lists

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Winona Ryder is so cool, Johnny Depp tattooed "Winona Forever" on his arm when they were engaged. Her first audition was a monologue from Franny & Zooey. Generation X has a crush on her. And we forgive her for the shoplifting. Actors do way worse things. Inspired by our Winona fever, as well as the Film on the Rocks screening of Edward Scissorhands tonight at Red Rocks, we decided to take a look at our favorite Winona roles over the years. For some reason, she plays a lot of mopey, crazy people.

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Veronica Sawyer in Heathers (1988)
Ryder is spot-on as angsty teen Veronica Sawyer in this dark comedy. Sawyer gets sucked into plots to kill her popular friends and pass them off as suicides by Christian Slater's creepy, Jack Nicholson wannabe J.D., and then says things like "Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count."

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Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice (1988)
Playing another sulky teenager in this Tim Burton flick, Ryder mopes around as Lydia, the little goth girl who befriends the ghost couple living in her dad's new house. One of Winona's best moments comes at the end of the film when she dances in the air with a group of ghosts to Harry Belafonte's "Jump in the Line."

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Kim in Edward Scissorhands (1990)
As Kim in Tim Burton's bizarre love story, Ryder plays the blond beauty who falls in love with Johnny Depp's part man, part science-experiment Edward Scissorhands. Their most epic moment comes when a distressed, wide-eyed Kim says to Edward, "Hold me." And he dramatically responds, "I can't."

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Lelaina Pierce in Reality Bites (1994)
Recent college grad Lelaina is forced to choose between possibly two of the lamest boyfriends in film history: Ben Stiller as the totally square TV executive and Ethan Hawke as the scummy, pretentious philosophy-dropout rock star. Ryder plays the epitome of the '90s babe, complete with floral print dresses and a perpetual lipstick pout.

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Susanna Kaysen in Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Ryder gets to play the insane waif with borderline personality disorder in this based-on-a-true-story tale of women in a mental asylum. Her Susanna is glamorously depressed as she runs around with the totally sociopathic Angelina Jolie, back before Jolie only did dumb action movies.

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Beth MacIntyre in Black Swan (2010)
Winona Ryder is brilliant as aging, batshit ballerina Beth MacIntyre in Darren Aronofsky's psychological melodrama, not only because of her penchant for playing depressive, crazy people, but also because the role gives a nod to her own career. As Beth is pushed out of the ballet to be replaced by the younger, fresher Natalie Portman, Ryder was (we think wrongfully) outcast from Hollywood after her shoplifting incident. It's nice to see her come back in this small but powerful role. And hopefully it will mean more of Winona's dark, bizarre characters turning up in films to come.

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Robert LaFrance
Robert LaFrance

Beetlejuice is my fave.  Lydia was the template for alternative culture!

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