Ever since watchdog groups wondered if Jodie Foster was victimized playing a young prostitute in Taxi Driver, the welfare of children acting in Hollywood is closely monitored. However, Gothamist is disturbed by one young rising star's current position as the go-to victim: Little Dakota Fanning, who stars in today's new release, Man on Fire. Not only is she playing yet another preternaturally aware little girl in today's new release whose charming ways soften the reserve of her bodyguard, played by Denzel Washington, but whose parents' wealth get her kidnapped, her character's name is Pita and her movie father is Marc Anthony, the J. Lo-ader! Other examples of her victimization: Having to show that yes, Brittany Murphy is as skinny as an eight year old in Uptown Girls, playing a retarded Sean Penn's daughter in I Am Sam (having a mentally retarded father is not victimization; being the lesson in which Michelle Pffeifer learns about love and family is), and acting in Cat in the Hat. Mr. and Mrs. Fanning, we know that you want to make sure your daughter cashes in on her cherubic yet wise charisma, but please, think of her mental health - hearing that she resorts to having an imaginary friend when movie father Robert DeNiro is morning movie mother Famke Janssen's suicide in Hide and Seek is disturbing enough knowing it's a movie, let alone acting in it!
Gothamist is also looking out for Fanning's costar in Cat, Spencer Breslin, who had the unfortunate luck of being the "kid in the Bruce Willis-with-a-kid-movie that's not The Sixth Sense." While Breslin's pudginess lends him to be a comic victim (playing a young Bruce Willis in The Kid, being Kate Hudson's nephew in Raising Helen), it's still a bad fate to bestow a child.
A.O. Scott calls Man on Fire partly a "moody, foreboding adventure in high-risk baby-sitting" and also a way for director Tony Scott to exhibit a "borderline creepy fondness for filming [little girls] in bathing suits."