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Anna Paquin with Jake as Jessica and Warren in the play "This is our youth" (2002).
"Just the sight of Warren's awkward dancing and over-eager snogging reduced me to tears of laughter and poignant recognition of my own distant youth. Gyllenhaal seizes all his chances as Warren, a beautiful and befuddled loser. But he also movingly suggests a lovable, vulnerable character just beginning to grow into maturity" -Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph
"...It is Jake Gyllenhaal as the sensitive Warren and Anna Paquin as the talkative Jessica that truly retrieves something from this mire! In fact, it is only when these two are together on the stage that the play has any real bite or interest in that we see real emotion being expressed." -Darren Dalglish, audience member
"There's an astute, funny sex scene in which Jake Gyllenhaal, a lumbering, puppyish and poignant Warren ends up bedding Anna Paquin's argumentative, nervy Jessica and emerges a new man. By so doing, he inexplicably breaks the sadistic hold that manipulative Dennis has over him and inexplicably shifts the dynamics of their friendship."
-Nicholas de Jong, Evening Standard
"As Warren in the American playwright Kenneth Lonergan's new play This Is Our Youth, Jake Gyllenhaal creates one of the great late-adolescent characters of recent drama. He's gauche, accident-prone, sweet. [...] This Is Our Youth is set in Manhattan in 1982; it's a kind of theatre cousin to Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, set in the era of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. As its two acts take Jake through one evening and the morning after, we begin to see him just starting to grow up, just starting to get a life of his own. It's extraordinary from how many sides we start to see him during the play, and the peaks and troughs to which his experience takes him. Gyllenhaal's performance is perfect - and so rounded that it takes a very long time till you even begin to like this Warren, let alone to realise that he's the central character in the play. I love his body-language: stiff, gawky, artless. [...]
And Anna Paquin catches brilliantly Jessica's assured/confused contradictions, taking her to the cusp of vivid caricature without ever sacrificing credibility".
-Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times
Anna Paquin with Jake Gyllenhaal attending the Evening Standard British Film Awards (2002).
Previously, Anna had played a supporting role as one of the band-aids, Polexia Aphrodisia, in "Almost Famous" (2000), directed by Cameron Crowe.
Here is a little video featuring stills of "Almost Famous", with Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), William Miller (Patrick Fugit) and Anna Paquin: