May 7, 2013

Reese Witherspoon’s Arrest is the Best Thing to Happen to Reese Witherspoon Since Reese Witherspoon Won That Oscar


Reese Witherspoon's Arrest: Meditations on an Emergency

Reese Witherspoon is a gem. She is an American marvel. She’s got a Southern brassiness and an adorably large chin, and she’s won us over with her film roles that highlight her warmth, determination, and spirit. But sometime between Sweet Home Alabama and last week, our love of Reese Witherspoon has faded. Maybe it was her roles in Four Christmases or War Games This Means War. Actually, it was definitely those things. Much like a child outgrowing their cuteness and trying desperately to reclaim it by unrealistically turning ‘r’s into ‘w’s and adopting a very fake-looking ‘aren’t I precious’ face, Reese Witherspoon has been trying her darnedest to reclaim her rom-com stronghold and force herself back into the spotlight as America’s Sweetheart. The only problem is that, in doing so, she fundamentally
didn’t understand why we fell in love with her in the first place. We love her, not because she’s a cookie-cutter love interest but because she has a badass charm.

But then her husband got pulled over and charged with a DUI, and Reese jetted out of the car to her husband’s defense and jetted back into our hearts. For the purpose of explaining why we love her, and how she reclaimed those elements in her arrest videos, I’m going to break down what I feel to be her four greatest roles and how they relate to her recent brush with the law. I’m leaving off a lot of her stellar performances (Pleasantville, Cruel Intentions), for sure, but I think I got the best ones.

Film: Election
Role: Tracy Flick
Tracy Flick, with her indomitable spirit and can-do attitude, is a perfect type A personality. She's intense. Her tiny ferocity is fueled by the heat of righteousness as she battles her way to class presidency. Now watch Reese in the video below. She's not going to let the man (aka Matthew Broderick AKA the police) get in the way of her goals. And she's not above trickery to achieve those goals, either. Tracy Flick rips up campaign posters. Reese Witherspoon fakes a pregnancy.

Film: Sweet Home Alabama
Role: Melanie Carmichael Smooter Perry
Melanie Carmichael *ahem* Smooter is a great character, not because of her palpable chemistry with two (TWO) male leads, but because of her ballsy, all-in approach to living. In the movie, Melanie does a lot of great things, but her greatest scenes involve her being either very drunk (like when she outs poor Ethan Embry) or very Southern (pretty much any scene from the film's halfway-point on). As you can see in these videos, Reese's twang is as evident as her slurred speech. Lady has a point to make, and she's not going to use some non-regional accent to do it. Our drunken southern belle is back! Do you know her name? This is beyond.

Film: Walk The Line
Role: June Carter Cash
June Carter Cash, the role that landed Reese her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award, is defined by sweetness, strength, and a steadfast faith in her man. She's also the prototypical brunette: understanding and sassy. And in this arrest video, we watch Reese as she stands by HER man, the slightly-less-deep-voiced-than-Johnny-Cash Jim Toth. If she can help battle inner demons and drug addiction, she can certainly battle a cop and a DUI charge. Plus, as evidenced by her mugshot, she's a brunette again!

Film: Legally Blonde
Role: Elle Woods
Officer Chutney
Of course, the role that will forever define Reese's career is Elle Woods. A ditzy blonde who learns to stand on her own two feet, she asserts her dominance in the courtroom and in her love life. She's every woman; it's all in her. In the videos above, she defiantly fights back against this cop for justice. She's honestly about 1 minute from shouting "Police State!" and barreling down the officer where he stands. She's litigious to boot. You do not tell Reese Witherspoon to sit on her butt like a good little lady. It’s a good thing Officer Chutney had Reese's husband (who is alarmingly Luke Wilson-esque with his laid back charm) to help calm her down.

Now, I'm obviously not defending driving under the influence (buzzed driving is drunk driving, after all), but I am defending Ms. Witherspoon's return to form. With Mud in theaters, a film which allows her to be all the above things but in a more mature way, it’s safe to say that Reese is back in action.

Reese, it's good to see you again.
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