I don’t know about Alice Fisher‘s Guardian sell-job about Scarlett Johansson being the ultimate class-act screen goddess of our time, and her having “more in common with Katharine Hepburn or Lauren Bacall than brattish contemporaries such as Lindsay Lohan.” And what’s wrong with being Lohan-esque, apart from the offscreen behavior issue? A lot of what Johansson has to offer is quite similar to what Lohan has, and that’s nothing to carp about.
I don’t get the Bacall-Hepburn thing at all. Johansson isn’t thin or poised or gifted enough in the realm of sexual suggestiveness to warrant comparison with Bacall in her mid 40s heyday, and she has none of the upper-class attitude airs that Hepburn had in spades. She doesn’t have 20th Century ruling-class features — she looks like a Brooklyn, Queens or low-rent Jersey or Long Island girl who’s made good. She’s a bit too carnal and booby, too full-lipped and open-mouthed (her lips are always slightly parted) to exude the vibe of genuine class.
Johansson is a very smart and peceptive actress who can really deliver the soul when the elements are right, but I’ve cooled on her a tiny bit since Match Point, which was probably her high point sofar. I’m starting to see her as just another in-and-outer, dependant — like everyone else — on good material and not being all that wildly extraordinary in her own skin. A good, feisty actress, yes, but not necessarily bursting with the genes of legend.
Johansson floundered embarassingly in Scoop and I didn’t believe her for a split second as a 1940s glamour-puss in Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia. I didn’t believe her in The Girl with the Pearl Earring either. There’s something about her that screams non-period. That means I’m going to have trouble with her playing a friend of Napoleon Bonaparte’s in Napoleon And Betsy and The Other Boleyn Girl, in which she’ll “play Mary to Natalie Portman‘s Anne in the tale of sisters vying for Henry VIII’s affections.”
Rachel McAdams has it — Johansson doesn’t.