Lose your way. Find yourself.
Rooney as: Fernanda Rooney
Genre(s): Drama | Romance
Written by: Francesca Gregorini, Tatiana von Furstenberg
Directed by: Francesca Gregorini, Tatiana von Furstenberg
Other Cast: Georgia King, Brie Larson, Amy Ferguson, Tom Everett Scott
Release Date: September 9, 2011 (Limited)
Production Budget: –
Total Worldwide Gross: $5k
Filming Locations: Newport, Rhode Island
As Fernanda (Rooney Mara) enters her senior year at Tanner Hall — a sheltered boarding school in New England — she’s faced with unexpected changes in her group of friends when a childhood acquaintance, the charismatic yet manipulative trouble-maker Victoria (Georgia King), appears. Shy and studious, Fernanda is usually the voice of reason among her friends — adventurous and sexy Kate (Brie Larson) and tomboy Lucasta (Amy Ferguson) — but when she begins a complicated friendship with Gio (Tom Everett Scott), an older family friend, she decides it’s finally time to take some risks. Jealous of Fernanda’s exciting relationship, Victoria begins to sabotage Fernanda’s plans and plots to publicly humiliate her. Meanwhile, Lucasta struggles with her newfound feelings towards another classmate, and mischievous Kate is too preoccupied with making her teachers nervous to pay much attention to her actual classes. However, as each of the girls flirt with adulthood, they realize they still need each other to help get through their first grown-up decisions — and the consequences they bring.
Fernanda: What are you doing to it?
Lucasta: Victoria found these in the lost and found. She said they were too plain, so I’m restyling them for her.
Fernanda: No, these are my shirts. She borrowed them from me.
Kate: Fern, you have a very tough palate. I’m just trying to make you brighten up a little bit.
Fernanda: Thanks, no. It’s blue.
Fernanda: I’ve never heard it before.
Gio: Really? You like music, don’t you?
Fernanda: Yeah. It’s not my life or anything though.
Hank: Oh. I’m sorry. I was actually just leaving.
Fernanda: He’s just delivering a pizza. Mind your own business.
Victoria: Well, I was just returning your jacket.
Fernanda: It’s dirty. You can’t return my things dirty.
Fernanda: No. I’m with my friends. We snuck out.
Gio: I used to sneak out of my parents’ house all the time.
Fernanda: What would happen when you got caught?
Gio: The threat of boarding school.
Fernanda: [Laughing] So basically my life is your worst-case scenario.
Victoria: Who cares how I got it? The point is that I did. Whatever. Don’t turn this into a big deal.
Fernanda: It is a big deal. You’re a liar. None of us would’ve come here tonight.
Victoria: What’s a little white lie amongst friends, hmm?
Fernanda: We’re not friends.
Fernanda: It’s a little late for that, Mom.
Roxanne: What does that mean?
Fernanda: It means that all year you trust me to take care of myself. That’s what I’m doing.
Quoting: Cast and Crew
Co-director Francesca Gregorini: Like all the other girls we auditioned, we brought Rooney in based on her head shot, which did not do her justice, because she was much prettier in the flesh. We were looking for natural ability, a certain essence, a certain genuineness that sometimes is best captured in a young actress that has not been through the Hollywood mill. She is a very interesting mix of sweetness, depth, vulnerability and bravery. Her obvious beauty is really just the tip of the iceberg, what lies beneath is really the magic. She came in and read for Lucasta and landed the role. We continued our search and cast all the other parts but were stuck as to the lead role of Fernanda. It is an important part because she is the narrator, the girl who takes us on this coming-of-age journey. Once we’d been through pretty much every young girl in Hollywood, Tatiana and I circled back to Rooney, as someone we could see in the role, someone whose essence was truly compelling. We knew she was the girl. There is just something to her, something going on at all times in her eyes that draw you in, in such a way that you don’t want to look away, you don’t want to miss anything. And that can’t be taught, that is just something magical that she has and we were fortunate enough to discover and capture on film.
Co-director Tatiana von Furstenberg: Rooney is such a witch, she has a such a wealth of internal life. We cast her as our lead and she had never been in a feature before. She was very nervous about taking the part, she was like ‘Just give me a smaller part, I don’t know if I can carry a whole movie.’ But the thing about Rooney is she’s so strong, and she’s so brave. She did the storyline with Tom Everett Scott the first week. She is not a ‘Look at me’ attention starved actor at all, it really all does come from within. She’s like a conduit… she doesn’t care about whether she gets camera coverage or not–she’s inspired by what she’s doing, and she’s absorbing everything in the world around her and she’s recycling it back.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: See the film, if you must, for Mara, who will be starring in the upcoming Hollywood remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She’s a sharp, vigilant actress whose career bears watching.
Alison Willmore, The A.V. Club: Mara is, at least, promising as a girl in over her head who’s also sophisticated enough to never seem victimized in her ill-advised romance.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Most of the actresses are appealing, but ultimately not even the gifted Mara can keep the film from feeling like a gauzy portrait of privilege.
Awards and Nominations
Below is a list of all accolades Rooney has received for her role in the film.
WON: Gen Art Film Festival – GenArtist Emerging Actress Award
WON: Hamptons International Film Festival – Breakthrough Performer (Rising Star)