A breakthrough year for Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain in THE TREE OF LIFE

If any new face has broken through in 2011, it’s the actress Jessica Chastain.  First, she delivered a fine performance as an enabling 1950s mom in the most coherent part of The Tree of Life.  This week, she followed that with an excellent performance as a 1960s Mossad agent (the younger version of Helen Mirren’s character) in the thriller The Debt. She won critical praise for the trashy but aspiring housewife in a film I haven’t seen – The Help.  So we already know that Chastain is versatile enough to play soft and tough, brittle and sexy, action and romance.

Later this fall, she will have three more films in release.  In Take Shelter, she plays the wife of the mentally disintegrating Michael Shannon.  She’s a tough cop in The Texas Killing Fields.  And then she’s in Ralph Fiennes’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.

Six movies in six months – that’s quite a way to start a career.  Here’s a New York Times profile of Chastain.

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