Up late last night and watched Midnight Run - hadn’t seen it since it was out in 198(8? 9?). But I was struck again with a reaction I remember having sixteen or so years ago… the great, albeit extremely brief, performance given by the girl who played DeNiro’s daughter. Skip tracer DeNiro has captured embezzling accountant Charles Grodin, and is trying to return him to LA to collect the bounty. Their journey is derailed by all sorts of problems, and DeNiro runs out of money near Chicago, where his ex-wife and daughter live; he hasn’t seen them in several years. But he’s forced into the embarrassing position of having to show up on his ex-wife’s doorstep and ask her to borrow money. They quickly end up yelling at each other, re-hashing old wounds. In the middle of this, they freeze as they realize the daughter, now an eighth-grader, is there.
The ex gives DeNiro a little cash and lets him take her car. As he’s leaving, the daughter comes out and offers her dad another hundred, her babysitting money. DeNiro says he can’t take it. The girl tries to insist; he keeps refusing. And painted almost perfectly on her face is the aching desire to do something, make some connection with the father she hasn’t seen in years. But she doesn’t know how, and DeNiro’s character doesn’t know how either.
That was it. Total screen time less then three minutes, I think. But DAMN. I don’t know who the little girl was, but she nailed that role.