Sunday, January 27, 2008

Amber Tamblyn Grows Up in "The Russell Girl"

Amber Tamlyn, who won acclaim and a lot of fans as a high school student in "Joan of Arcadia," returned to TV Sunday night in the Hallmark Channel's TV movie "The Russell Girl." This is perhaps the first grown-up role for Tamblyn, who also played a teen in the movie "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."

The story concerns a young woman is secrets in her past (Tamblyn) who is diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness, and apparently there another tragedy that confronts her as well. Despite having an all-star cast, however, "The Russell Girl" got mostly bad (sometimes scathing) reviews. The Detroit Free Press said, "Hallmark Hall of Fame movies generally are drenched in melancholy. 'The Russell Girl' serves up a double helping." However, the same review says that the movie is "somewhat saved by Amber Tamblyn's stellar performance in the title role and a strong supporting turn by Jennifer Ehle."

That's another star in the movie besides Tamlyn: Jennifer Ehle, who was great as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC miniseries version of "Pride and Prejudice," from about 10 years ago, with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. "The Russell Girl" also features a performance from Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who plays the mother of Tamblyn's character is what is said to be a minor role. (Now I know I'm getting old: I remember when Mastrantonio was playing teenage roles (and when she actually was a teenager, too).)

USA Today also is not impressed with "The Russell Girl," but it also applauds Tamblyn's performance.

For more on Amber Tamlyn and "The Russell Girl," check out the movie's page at the Hallmark Hall of Fame's Web site.

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