Monday, June 9, is Mae Whitman's 26th birthday, which is pretty hard to believe since the Parenthood actress has been playing teenagers for the past 10 years and will probably continue to do so for the rest of time. To many, she's known best as Ann (her?), the bland, religious girlfriend of both George Michael and Gob on Arrested Development; to others, she's Amber, Parenthood's wisest, most rebellious Braverman grandchild. Soon, she'll be known to indie movie audiences as a high school misfit, the "designated ugly fat friend" at the center of the upcoming high school comedy, The DUFF . Whatever you know her from, there's no question that Whitman, despite her typecasting, is a talented, versatile actress. Oh, and she's also one of the best on-screen criers you'll ever see.
Whether sobbing to Sarah in Parenthood or bursting into hysterics over her dad's affair in Hope Floats, Whitman has spent the last twenty years proving that when it comes to fake crying, she's a pro. She's so good, in fact, that it's nearly impossible not to tear up yourself when you're watching her melt down on-screen, because when Mae Whitman feels, she feels. In honor of her birthday, let's take a look back at six of her all-time best crying scenes (warning: you might need tissues).
1. Thinking She Was Leaving Her Cats in One Fine Day
We first learned Whitman was a talent to watch back in 1996, when her 8-year-old self cried upon learning she might have to be separated from her beloved cats. The fact that she managed to stay in character while being comforted by George Clooney is a feat of acting.
2. Begging Her Dad to Stay in Hope Floats
Oh man, that hurts to watch. In the 1998 Sandra Bullock film, Whitman's character, an only child, loses it upon finding out that her dad is moving out. Just look at those tears; how many actors, let alone 10-year-olds, can wail as convincingly as Whitman did while watching her father leave her behind?
3. Choking Up in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
There may not have been crying, but the scene in which Whitman's character, Mary Elizabeth, hears her boyfriend (Logan Lerman) totally reject her in front of a group of their friends, is still very emotional, thanks to Whitman's expressions. The hurt Mary Elizabeth feels is obvious, and you can bet some major off-screen sobbing occurred the moment she left the room.
4. All Those Times on Parenthood
And then there was Parenthood. What would the show be without Amber and her tears? Over the course of the show's six seasons, viewers have watched the Braverman grandchild morph from a rebellious, angry teenager into a mature, thoughtful adult, and thanks to all that crying, we've felt each bump in the road right alongside her. Remember back in season two, when an injured Amber sobbed to Zeek in the junkyard after finally understanding the weight of her actions?
Or when she learned Ryan was going back to Afghanistan, and leaving her behind?
Or how about all those times that she cried into Sarah's arms, over Ryan, or Haddie, or her dad?
Or the time when she cried about losing a friend, or not getting into college, or nearly sleeping with her boss. Basically, Amber is a master at feeling things, and Whitman is a master at making viewers feel them, too. Happy birthday, Mae Whitman, and keep those tears coming; no one does fake emotion better than you.