Film:Lost River (2014). Young Actress: Saoirse Ronan, age 19.
This bizarre, boring directorial debut from Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys) follows a single mom (Christina Hendricks, Ginger & Rosa) struggling to keep her house in a poor, crumbling city. She gets a job doing slasher shows in a seedy nightclub, while her teenage son Bones (Ian DeCaestecker, about six years Saoirse's senior) strips abandoned houses and sells the metal to junkyards, but he earns the enmity of a local gang leader, The Bully (Ben Mendelsohn), when he strips a house on his turf. Saoirse has a large supporting role as their neighbor Rat (so called because she has a pet rat), who serves as something of an exposition piece. She tells Bones a local legend about how a river was dammed and a smaller town flooded to build their city; this cast a curse on the city, making life there perpetually crappy.
Saoirse as Rat
Lost River starts out well enough, interspersing the characters' gritty, real-world problems with slow, dreamlike pans of the city or long shots of things like an abandoned house on fire. But soon, the surreal elements take over to a damaging degree, and too much of the film is just weird for the sake of being weird. There are a lot of unique visuals, but they aren’t enough to make up for the dull pace and complete lack of cohesion.
Lost River was filmed around the same time as The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Saoirse’s roles in both are basically the same: the supportive love interest for the young male lead. She does the best that she can with the material, but even for Saoirse fans, her part isn't enough to make the movie worth watching. As Rat, you can practically see her just treading water, waiting for that ship to Brooklyn.