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Performers Of The Month - August Winner: Outstanding Actress - Millie Bobby Brown



There is a generalized statement that has circled the entertainment industry since its beginning: Children and animals are the worst to work with. Child actors automatically come with a stigma attached to them that they can’t be professional or that they lack the skill necessary to bring any sort of depth to their character. Thankfully, over the past decade or so, that stigma has started to lessen. More shows employ child actors than ever before and more often than not they are proving to be just as good, if not better, than their adult counterparts. Stranger Things is a phenomenal example of young actors and adult actors coming together as a unified team to create something magical. In this show, the child actors are right on par with their seasoned and extremely talented adult co-stars. While the entire group of young actors stands out, one in particular, shines the brightest, and that’s Millie Bobby Brown, who plays the mysterious Eleven. This young actress is a standout on this show, which, given the caliber of actors she’s surrounded by, is impressive in and of itself. It’s not like she’s on a show where she’s the only talented one. From the oldest to the youngest every performer in Stranger Things brings it every single scene. Yet, despite being surrounded by so much talent, she has somehow managed to burst out of the crowd. When she is on screen, you can’t help but watch what she is doing. There is a depth to her acting that goes well beyond her age. For these reasons and many more, it is no surprise that she was gifted the title of the most outstanding actress of August by her fans. Her win was for the final episode of the season entitled The Upside Down, but in reality, she could have easily won for the entire season.

Brown didn’t deliver a single poor performance at all in any episode. The show threw larger than life scenarios at her and she never once faltered under the pressure being placed on her. In fact, the more intense and stressful the scene, the stronger her performance was. When Eleven was at her strongest, this intense energy would radiate off of Brown and consume the screen. This young actress has a gift that I have rarely, if ever, seen in a young performer. She has more talent in her than some performers that have gone on to win prestigious awards do. When someone this young has this much talent, it’s impossible to not be in complete and utter awe of them.

Her incredible gift for the art of acting has skyrocketed her to stardom practically overnight. Stranger Things wasn’t her first foray into acting, but it is the one that, at least for now, she is best known for. I’m sure that as her career grows and evolves, her performance as Eleven will only be remembered as the moment the career of this talented actress began. While no one will ever be able to forget her intense and heartfelt performance as Eleven, some moments will certain standout above others. Many of those moments reside in The Upside Down where Brown turned up the intensity of her acting to an unprecedented level. One of the most intense moments of the entire season was when Eleven stood in that school hallway and took down everyone in the hall except for her friends. The level of intensity that consumed Brown is something I rarely even see adult actors able to master. Being able to bring that moment to life required an immense amount of concentration and skill. That scene could have so easily become some kid staring off into space. I’ve even seen adult actors fail to convey similar moments, causing scenes to fall flat. It’s a hard scenario to pull off because the performer has to make the audience believe their character is doing this intense action while doing nothing but standing still. The intensity of the moment has to come strictly from the performer’s body. To pull off a scene like this, and had it hit on point, the performer has to know how to tense up their body and how to express without overplaying the moment. It is an extremely fine line to walk for even seasoned veterans of the profession, yet she did it and made it look effortless. She held her body stiff and kept her eyes intently focused, yet as Eleven was being drained, she was smart enough to know at exactly what moment to start to show the strain of the situation. The shift from fierce willpower of strength to drained weakness was accomplished with subtle little shifts occurring in rapid succession that Brown executed flawlessly.

When Eleven’s friends were out of imminent danger she allowed her body to give into the exhaustion plaguing it. She’s incredibly strong and fierce, but she doesn’t have an endless supply of energy. When Eleven gave into the darkness of unconsciousness, Brown had this brief second between taking down the police and passing out where she allowed her body to relax. In that quick second, she made Eleven look like any other kid. There was this brief flash of vulnerability that happened that was heart wrenching to see. For all Eleven has been through and all she has had to endure, she’s still essentially just a kid who loves Eggos and wants to do normal kid things. Brown beautifully captures all the complicated facets of this interestingly unique character.

Some of my favorite interactions were between Eleven and Mike (Finn Wolfhard), especially in The Upside Down. Throughout most of the season, it was extremely obvious that Mike was crushing on Eleven, but at the same time he knew the responsibility he had to help her learn about the world. They taught each other so much and went through a lot of terrifying situations, but what is most beautiful about their bond is how organically it was forged. Wolfhard is a fantastic young actor in his own right, but when paired up with Brown, his talent seemed to amplify. Brown and Wolfhard have such a natural ease together that they perfectly captured that awkward stage of attraction that everyone experiences at that age. Probably one of the most normal and serene scenes in the season finale was the brief moment of calm where Mike and Eleven were talking at the school. The awkwardness is what made the scene so memorable. Mike was trying so hard to convey his feelings, but just couldn’t find the right words to fully express himself. Brown perfectly handled Eleven’s side of the interaction as she expertly captured her naivety to these kinds of moments. She has such an incredible grasp on her character that she can easily slip between the varying facets of Eleven with such ease that, at times, you can’t even see the shift happen. How someone this young becomes this talented is beyond me. Her performance is always consistent and on par but, when she shared scenes with Wolfhard, there was something so special about their connection that translated perfectly into their performances. The kiss was awkward, but that’s how it was meant to be. These are two young characters who are exploring new feelings. Not to mention the fact that these are young actors who probably, and hopefully, don’t have much experience kissing others. Their natural awkwardness that just comes with their ages gave this scene a feel of realness. Given the fantastical nature of the show it was really nice to see these real moments interweaved.

Unfortunately, the quiet moment came and went faster than anyone would have liked, only to be replaced by high stakes and intense scenarios, including the hallway scene that was mentioned earlier. The big swan song for Eleven was when she took down the monster by sacrificing herself. Brown’s ability to capture this moment was indescribably perfect. Proper words don’t exist to fully explain the magnitude of Brown’s performance in this scene. Eleven was on a mission to stop the monster once and for all. She even threw Mike backwards to try and protect him. Brown’s face was set and determined as Eleven approached the monster; while all of that was amazing, it was the glance back over her shoulder at her friends that gave pause. There was an emotional depth to Brown’s acting in that moment that exceeded even her own prior bests. The look of determination never left her face, but when she spoke Eleven’s goodbye, her voice was rich with emotion. These people, Mike in particular, gave so much to Eleven, just as Brown’s co-stars gave to her, and in the end this was a beautiful moment for both the performers and the characters. When she took Eleven down that final explosive power surge, it was hard to watch. She was giving up everything to save the people she had come to care about and the anguish of having to leave them so soon helped amplify her final showdown with the monster. The scream was intense as the surge of power overwhelmed her and Brown displayed this expression of anger and fear all rolled up together for an intense final bow for her character. Eleven went out with a bang, literally, but the impression she made on the show, the characters, and the audience will not soon be forgotten.

Brown took a character that could have easily been one-dimensional and made her into something uniquely special. There is no other character like Eleven currently on television and Brown really stepped up to embody this wholly unique character. She took ownership of Eleven and poured herself into the character. She gave Eleven heart and soul beyond her years and gave the audience no choice but to root for her. I don’t know where this young actress has been hiding but, exposed to the masses, her time in the spotlight is only just beginning. This is not the last time we will hear her name, and should she choose to stay in the industry when she is an adult, I fully expect to see her gracing Emmy and Golden Globe stages to accept a myriad of awards. To be honest, if the academies are smart, they won’t make this talented young actress wait until she’s older to bestow much-deserved awards upon her. She is deserving of accolades and recognition for the incredible work she did in this season of Stranger Things. Whether Eleven has a place in next season or not, this is not the last we’ll see of Millie Bobby Brown.

This entire season was one great big tour de force for Brown, so it was impossible to highlight much beyond this one episode. To try and highlight every moment would have made this article much longer than anyone would care to read. Every episode she shined and delivered performances so emotionally rich that she left the audience floored that so much talent could come out of someone so young. Because of her incredible talent, there are a lot of incredible moments that didn’t make this article, so please feel free to hit the comments section and discuss all the other moments this article didn’t have time to cover.

Millie Bobby Brown was your fan pick as the most Outstanding Actress of August 2016. Hit the comments below to tell others why you think she earned this title and what you most enjoyed about her August performances.

PLEASE READ: This is an article to recognize Millie's work and to honor her performance in August on Stranger Things. Shipper-related bashing will not be tolerated in the comments, even from Millie's fans. Honor the performer and her performance. Have fun and be kind to one another.

Note: This is a generic warning to avoid any issues in the comments section and to help keep this a fun and safe place to gush about the winners. This does not apply to every show or every performer, but is on all POTM articles to ensure maximum enjoyment of all the winner’s fans.


Very special thanks to Bradley Adams for helping to edit this article.

About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a newspaper in North Carolina and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was and has a passion for analyzing performances and theorizing what may happen on her favorite shows. Her interest in television covers just about every genre, but her first love is the sci-fi/fantasy genre. For the 2016/2017 season she will be reviewing Chesapeake Shores, Dark Matter, Frequency, Gilmore Girls, Jessica Jones, Lucifer, and Orphan Black. She will also be handling the Best Scene Polls for Supergirl and previewing several new and returning shows. She also oversees the popular SpoilerTV feature, Performers of the Month (#POTM) which highlights the most outstanding actor and actress from each month. You can email her at aimee@spoilertv.com.
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