Dakota Fanning
Credit: Dakota Fanning: Indira Cesarine/Corbis Outline
  • Movie

Summer’s movie-star MVPs: Dakota Fanning

Age 11

Position Tom Cruise’s precocious daughter in War of the Worlds

Season highlights Her performance was so natural and effortless, it made one wonder if those invading aliens weren’t the only ones in this movie from another planet. In fact, not since Jodie Foster — or at least Haley Joel Osment — has a child actor so thoroughly commanded the screen opposite her grown-up costars. Granted, she’s had plenty of experience standing tall beside much bigger actors (playing Sean Penn’s little girl in 2001’s I Am Sam and getting rescued by Denzel Washington in 2004’s Man on Fire), but by more than holding her own with Tom Cruise — in a Steven Spielberg picture, no less — she reached a whole new level. Can’t wait to see what she can do when she’s 12.

War of the Worlds
  • Movie
  • 117 minutes