Utterly Winona

The late 1980s and the 1990s would have been a lot less interesting at the cinema without Winona Ryder. Surfacing onscreen while still in her teens, with a shy presence that came with a strong magnetic undertow, she didn’t have the air of a conventional movie star. Yet her very uniqueness drew attention and won hearts, while her seemingly boundless capacity for empathy placed her in direct communion with young viewers. Several of her movies caught the zeitgeist; she proved equally adept at period tales and up-to-the-minute youthquakes, excelling whether with bruising dramatic intensity or voluble comedic chops. Participating in top studio projects, she earned back-to-back Academy Award nominations and began to use her clout to support projects directed by women and featuring female-driven ensembles. Ryder was a standard-bearer for individuality and self-authenticity; if she is to be forever tagged with a Generation X label, then it is only fair to acknowledge that the generations of actors since owe her a debt. On the occasion of this month’s release of Ryder’s new comedy Destination Wedding—and building on the success of Stranger Things—the Quad revisits the roots of her brilliant career. How very.

Past Screenings