Odessa Young

Why Do People Hate Odessa Young?

Odessa Young is a 24-year-old Australian actress who has recently gained attention and criticism for her role as Frannie in the 2022 film adaptation of the novel “Women Talking” directed by Sarah Polley.

Early Life and Career

Young was born in 1999 in Mount Macedon, Victoria, Australia. From a young age, she showed an interest in performing and took lessons in singing, dancing and acting. Her first on-screen role came in 2014 when she was cast in the short film “Super Awesome”. This launched her acting career in Australia.

Over the next few years, Young had roles in various Australian TV shows and films like “Beautiful” and “Looking for Grace”. Her breakthrough came in 2017 when she was cast as Elena Richardson in the HBO series “Little Fires Everywhere” opposite Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Acclaim for “Women Talking” Role

In 2022, Young garnered worldwide attention for her portrayal of Frannie in “Women Talking”. The film surrounds the women of an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a series of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.

Young’s performance earned wide acclaim. The New York Times raved that “Young’s sensitive, inward Frannie anchors the film emotionally.” Entertainment Weekly declared that “Young gives a star-making performance.”

However, not all the reactions to her role were positive.

Why Do Some People Dislike Odessa Young?

While many have praised Young’s talent and performance as Frannie in “Women Talking,” she has also faced a strong negative backlash from some viewers. There are a few primary reasons and theories behind why people dislike Odessa Young:

She Doesn’t Match the Book Version of Frannie

For fans of Miriam Toews’ acclaimed novel “Women Talking,” Young’s portrayal of Frannie does not live up to the book version in some key ways.

In the novel, Frannie is timid and anxious about her arranged marriage. Young’s Frannie comes across as more defiant and sure of herself. For readers attached to the novel’s characterization, this change was disappointing.

Acting is Wooden or Overacted

Some critics assert Young’s performance is either too subdued or overly dramatic.

Los Angeles Times said her “whispery delivery quickly grows monotonous and her widened eyes signal only one emotion.” While RogerEbert.com claimed “her choices are jarringly big in pivotal moments.”

Whether seen as too subtle or too forceful, her acting style has rubbed many viewers the wrong way.

She Seems Too Modern/Progressive for the Setting

“Women Talking” is set in an isolated Mennonite religious colony. Some viewers feel Young comes across as a modern feminist rather than an accurate portrait of someone raised in that restrictive patriarchal environment.

This perceived clashing with the time period and setting took some out of the film and made her character less believable.

Too Young/Pretty/Glamorous

Frannie is meant to be a shy, innocent teen in the story. But some argue the 24-year-old Young appears too mature and self-assured in the role.

Additionally, her appearance is seen as too neat and stylish for a Mennonite woman, with fashionable hair and makeup that some dubbed “glam-mennonite.” This glossy look led some to say she was miscast.

Positive Reactions to Odessa Young’s Portrayal

However, alongside the criticism, Young’s performance earned a great deal of enthusiastic praise from fans and reviewers:

Table summarizing the positive reactions to Odessa Young’s portrayal of Frannie:

Positive ReactionDescription
Nuanced, emotional performanceDisplayed complex inner turmoil and change within Frannie
Captured innocence and curiosityConveyed Frannie’s youthful naivete and wonder about outside world
Strong chemistry with co-starsHad genuine, affecting connections especially with Claire Foy
Carried the film with graceBalanced carrying pivotal emotional arcs in the story

Nuanced, Emotional Performance

Many reviews spotlighted the layers and shifts that Young brought to Frannie across the film’s progression.

Slant Magazine applauded her “nuanced turn” showcasing “giddy curiosity yielding to grief and rage.” AwardsWatch said she anchored the film with “a stunning, star-making performance.”

Captured Innocence and Curiosity

In multiple reviews, Young was praised for embodying Frannie’s innocent spirit and wonder towards the outside world she has been sheltered from.

IndieWire said “Young excels at projecting curiosity and an innocence that blooms into outrage.”

Strong Chemistry With Co-Stars

Young shared moving, authentic-feeling connections on-screen, especially with Claire Foy who played one of the other women.

ScreenRant described their relationship as a “beating heart dynamic,” showcasing “stirring mother-daughter chemistry.”

Carried the Film With Grace

While an ensemble piece, Young shoulders much of the emotional weight. Many felt she rose to the task with captivating finesse.

Wall Street Journal hailed her as a “remarkable new talent” who “carries ‘Women Talking’ beautifully.”


In assessing the polarizing responses, it seems much of the backlash stems from Odessa Young defying specific expectations related to how Frannie was depicted in the novel. However, expectations aside, many found her performance compelling in its own right.

Her appearance as overly stylish along with contrasts between her mannerisms and the historical Mennonite setting are fair critiques. However, they seem not to outweigh the emotional depth and grace notes she brought to this difficult role.

The truth likely lies between those who declare her talent completely misused, and those proclaiming a totally revelatory breakout performance. There are reasonable grounds for criticism, but ample evidence of her skills on display nonetheless.

What can be said with more certainty is that in “Women Talking”, Odessa Young announcing herself as a rising talent to watch regardless of whether aspects of this specific role fit her strengths. The film showcases range and on-screen power suggesting she has the gifts to connect with audiences and continue maturing into compelling film roles going forward if given opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are some fans of the novel disappointed with Young’s Frannie?

Many fans pictured Frannie differently based on the book’s depiction of her as more timid and anxious. Young’s bolder, more defiant interpretation clashed with these expectations.

What acting criticisms have people made about Young’s performance?

Some find her acting too subtle and hard to read emotionally. Others feel she overacts in important scenes in a distracting, overly dramatic fashion.

How is Young’s appearance out of step with the historical setting?

To some, her styled hair, makeup, and modern looking wardrobe choices feel inappropriate for the isolated Mennonite environment Frannie was raised in.

What were some of Young’s strongest scenes as Frannie?

Critics highlighted her curiosity about the outside world, emotional confrontation scene with the abuser, and closing sequence making a courageous choice as standout moments.

Does this performance suggest Odessa Young has talent and potential?

Yes, even some critics of her casting and choices in “Women Talking” widely praised her skills and range. It signals promise to develop into a compelling lead actress.

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