I have been anxiously awaiting the new Netflix show Stranger Things for weeks, intrigued instantly by the trailers and the promise of Winona Ryder's return to acting. Her movies are staples to have in anyone's film library, including Heathers (1988), Beetlejuice (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Girl, Interrupted (1999), and Little Women (1994). Fortunately, Stranger Things ended up exceeding my expectations and Winona Ryder was fantastic. Here are 3 reasons why this awesome show marks her triumphant return to acting!
1. Winona's Roles Have Always Been the Strangest (Which is a Good Thing!)
I thought that Winona Ryder was awesome on her return to acting. Thank you for coming back and giving it your all! I always liked her choices of characters. Winona's best roles are those in films that have strange characters and storylines. My favorite is still probably Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice (1988), who of course confesses herself to be both strange and unusual.
Stranger Things is no exception. Her character isn't very strange, but the show is called Stranger Things for a reason. What I enjoyed most about this show is its 80s vibe. It reminded me a mix of Stand By Me (1986), E.T. (1982), and an 80s sci-fi film all together. It also had hints of the video game Beyond: Two Souls and the telekinesis powers of the main character. I guess this also a bit of homage to Stephen King's Carrie (1976), as well. I prefer Eleven to Carrie though. She might be weird, but she's not Carrie weird. She's the good type of strange and unusual.
2. Winona Reminds Us That She's a Great Actress With Emotional New Scenes
Despite Winona's long overdo return to acting, she is still an amazing actress. I think the last film I had seen her in was Black Swan back in 2010. She was amazing in that film too. However, her role in Stranger Things is much different than any other role we have seen her in before and it is a more prominent one than she's had in years. The biggest difference? She plays a mother.
Winona's character is Joyce Byers. Single-mother with two sons and a deadbeat for an ex. When her son Will goes missing, this woman does everything in her power to find him, despite how insane she might look to others when she searches for answers.
Winona's portrayal of Joyce is a very true one. She becomes her and makes her believable. My favorite scene is where she tears up her home and puts Christmas lights all over, in an attempt to speak with her missing son. Of course, this would look crazy to other people because they're convinced that her son is dead and not missing. He could be dead, but something or someone is definitely communicating with her.
The acting was so well done overall. What an honest display of acting. The kids really blew me away, too. It seriously reminded me of the level of acting that was exhibited in Stand By Me (1986). That film will forever be one of the best coming of age films I have ever seen. So relatable, the friendships that we experience as children are something that we will never experience again in life.
3. Winona is at her Absolute Best With Dark Storylines
Ok, so, my favorite films that Winona has been in are the darkest ones. I like to watch anything that makes me feel a bit freaked out or disturbed. It relaxes me. That's why I love Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1988), Girl, Interrupted (1999), and Edward Scissorhands (1990). These films are dark, whether it be in humor or the overall subject matter.
This show has some elements similar to those displayed in Girl, Interrupted (1999). There are a lot of moments that show the characters being psychologically profiled and judged. Actually, Beetlejuice, Heathers, and Edward Scissorhands all display characters that are being psychologically profiled and judged, too. Lydia is considered a freak for her love of weird things. Her stepmother is considered a weirdo because she's obsessed with shitty art sculptures and pops valium like it's candy. Beetlejuice is just plain insane. Most the characters in Heathers are psychologically disturbed. Edward Scissorhands is viewed as a monster and a freak, when really he is nothing but sweet.
If you are easily frightened of things, or don't like your mind to be psychologically blown, then Stranger Things most likely is not for you. For all of you who are psychological horror fanatics, you are in for a treat. The monster alien things in this show are creepy AF. There's a reason to still be afraid of the dark and it's because you can't see what's lurking around in the darkness. Nothing like watching an alien-like creature come out of no where and snatch a kid.
I loved this show so much that I binge watched it right away. First season is only 8 episodes long, so it's easy to watch all the episodes quickly. The season ends on a note that leaves you wanting to find out what happens next. I have no idea when second season will return, but this show is definitely a hit. Give me more of the horror and more of the 80s throwback!