Friday, July 13, 2012

The Great Debate: Rebecca De Mornay vs. Jennifer Jason Leigh

Welcome to the Great Debate, a new feature that asks you to argue for or against one of two opposing film-related elements.  You will make your case for why you think one element is better than the other.  Let the inaugural debate begin!

Best crazy chick:

Rebecca De Mornay – The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Peyton (Rebecca De Mornay) lies, sabotages, threatens kids, terrorizes a mentally challenged adult, breastfeeds a baby who isn’t her son, insinuates damaging things, attempts to seduce a married man, manipulates and murders and does so all while masquerading as the perfect kind and loving caretaker with the end goal of trying to replace the wife and mother of a happy, picture-perfect family.

Jennifer Jason Leigh – Single White Female
Hedra (Jennifer Jason Leigh) poses as a sweet, innocent and friendly young woman who answers a roommate wanted ad and quickly becomes obsessed with her new roommate.  They become friends and share moments of laughter and good times together, but then their friendship turns to deadly obsession when Hedra tries to assume her roommate’s life.  She befriends her roommate’s friends, tries to seduce her boyfriend, begins wearing her clothes and cuts and dyes her hair to look just like her.  Apparently Hedra was once a twin and wants to become one once more.  Her obsession drives her to murder, and in one particular kill, she uses a stiletto heel to take out her victim.  Ouch!

I argue FOR Rebecca De Mornay: Impressive stiletto heel kill aside, I think Rebecca De Mornay bests Jennifer Jason Leigh in this head-to-head battle of the crazy film chicks.  She is so good as the murderous destroyer hell bent on revenge.  Literally no one is immune to her calculating fury (kids and mentally challenged adults included) and the way that she dons that ever-so-sweet smile to dazzle those around her with her contrived, fake warmth is cunning at its best.  One thing that gives her the crazy chick edge for me in this face-off is the way that she confronts Ernie Hudson’s mentally challenged character by threatening him and slapping him in the face, then framing him for sexual abuse.  It’s an infuriating and frightening move and it’s crazy and evil at its best.  Plus, De Mornay does creepy and intimidating really, really well.  Watching her slice and aggressively chomp on an apple while she gazes out the window at the woman she wants to replace is chillingly good.


  1. I am going to go with Rebecca all the way. She certainly is one of the most "crazy chicks" to ever appear on the screen. I find myself watching "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" and in every scene I think "What does she think she's doing?" This is an interesting debate, and I look forward to seeing where the votes go.

    1. Rebecca De Mornay is really effective as the crazy chick in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle."

      I hope more people weigh in on this one.

  2. I'm for Leigh - her and Fonda were really gorgeous in Single White Female and movie just screams 90's to me and I love 90's. Leigh was really creepy and one of those movie psychos that actually scared not only the heroine but also the audiance.

    1. Jennifer Jason Leigh played Hedra really well. She found the balance between seemingly sweet and innocent and cunning, unbalanced and insane. I still give the edge to Rebecca De Mornay, though, since she terrorized literally anybody who got in her way.

      Leigh was definitely scary, though.


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