Best Local Girl Made Good (2006)

Catherine Keener

Catherine Keener is associated with her indelible indie film roles as promiscuous, icy, neurotic urbanites settled firmly in New York City (or Los Angeles in the case of her most recent film, Friends with Money). It is shockingly pleasant to realize she not only is a native of Miami but also attended our city's estimable private Catholic school system. Indeed Keener is a graduate of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School, which was named number one in the nation by the National Association of Roman Catholic Archdioceses in "Catholic Identity." Keener, who at age 46 seems just to be becoming a beauty, got her break in films with one line in the 1986 Demi Moore-Rob Lowe vehicle About Last Night .... After fooling around with small roles in big pictures, Keener hit her stride in 1995 at age 35 with prominent roles in art films. Living in Oblivion, directed by Tom DiCillo, and Walking and Talking, by Nicole Holofcener, gave Keener juicy, Manhattan-indie parts in which she inhabited characters who were by turns self-involved, vulnerable, caustic, and ultimately tough. In 1998, as the icy, bisexual, manipulative Terri in Neil LaBute's horrifying tragedy of yuppie manners, Your Friends and Neighbors, she cheats on her husband (played by Ben Stiller) with Nastassja Kinski and verbally emasculates Aaron Eckhart's misogynistic jock character. She does all of this without ever quite wiping the half-dreamy, half-bored look from her light blue eyes. Keener is an unconventional beauty, with uneven features and mousy, usually flat, brown hair. But in 2005 she landed back-to-back glamorous leading-lady-type roles, as the object of Steve Carell's dopey affection in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and as Harper Lee in Capote, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Keener's emergence as a star who twinkled before shining speaks to her patience and discipline, which maybe has something to do with that Catholic school education.


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