I had gotten my hopes up about Miley Cyrus’s acting skills from 2009’s Hannah Montana: The Movie, a sensitive, profound portrayal of one girl’s existential struggle. So I was surprised and bewildered when critics panned her recent performance in The Last Song. I’d like to say it’s only a fluke, but when The New York Times says “acting… seems almost entirely beyond her,” and The Village Voice writes that Cyrus is “upstaged by sea turtles” (The Last Song is a beach movie) it’s hard to be hopeful for the future.

Of course, it’s also reasonable to say that Cyrus was just riding a bit too high on her success in other projects – apart from her fine work in television, the young actress has produced such musical hits as “The Climb,” and everybody’s favorite sing-along, “Party in the USA.” Having witnessed Cyrus’s talents in action, I can forgive her apparent slippage in The Last Song, the production of which may have been doubly hard to focus on because Cyrus’s co-star is her real-life boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth.

If my love interest were tall, gorgeous, Australian, and following me around at work all day without a shirt on, I would also have a hard time concentrating on the task at hand.
Again in Cyrus’s defense, it seems she was already aware of the problems that may arise in transitioning from G-rated children’s television to PG feature films. Eager to develop her acting career properly and “do a little bit of everything,” Cyrus said that she would probably “book an acting coach” after seeing The Last Song in theaters.

That was a good call, because the New York Post calls the film “the most dubious ‘dramatic’ debut of any singer since Britney Spears.” The Village Voice also compares Cyrus to “an Andy Hardy-era Mickey Rooney in a wig,” but physical flaws are somewhat harder to fix. Let’s hope Cyrus doesn’t take that particular jab to heart and go the route of Heidi Montag.


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The screenplay for The Last Song, incidentally, was written by Nicholas Sparks specifically for Cyrus at the request of Disney executives. Perhaps they should have taken to heart the moral they preach in Hannah Montana: The Movie – it is important to make your own decisions, even if you are a superstar. Cyrus may have gotten off to a rocky start as far as film-acting goes, but she’s got potential, and it’s a learning experience. After all, it “Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side / it’s the climb.”



  • Julia Alkon
    Julia Alkon on

    I really wanted to see this! And despite the criticism from these very credible sources…….I think i still will.

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