At long last, I finally saw the extraordinary Leon (The Professional) the other day. As wonderful as the movie was, Natalie Portman was truly remarkable. Her performance was stunning - exhibiting a range and depth totally beyond her youth (I understand that at the time it was filmed, she was eleven years old!). I can’t recall a better performance, ever, from a child actor.
Until two days ago, that is, before I saw Leon, I would have answered River Phoenix in Stand By Me if asked what was the best performance by a child (he was either 14 or 15 when the movie was filmed). That was an opinion I’d held since the seeing it at the time of its initial release - years before Phoenix OD’d.
So, pray tell, what do you think has been the best performance by a child actor/actress (let’s define ‘child’ as under age 16).