Child actors are difficult to find and direct because of their age. Imagine memorising lines, pretending to be someone else, and having to fake emotions when everyone else is twice your height! But once in a while, you get child stars that wow us so much with their performances that we forget that they should really be going for extra tuition instead of starring in movies.

So here are some kids that gave us such memorable roles that their faces practically define those movies.

1. Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense

Haley Joel Osment is Cole Sear in Midnight Special. Credit: Where's The Jump?

Haley Joel Osment is Cole Sear in Midnight Special. Credit: Where’s The Jump?

Although the movie is ostensibly about the sixth sense, the sense we remember most is the sense of sight, thanks to Haley Joel Osment’s famous line, “I see dead people.” 17 years later, we can still remember Cole’s haunted look when he reveals this awful secret to Malcolm (Bruce Willis). Despite his young age (and absolute terror at the ghosts he sees), he learns to use his gift to help both the living and the dead. And 17 years later, we can finally talk openly about the big twist in the film.

Bruce Willis was dead all along!

2. Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister in the Home Alone series

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) in Home Alone. Credit: Athena Cinema

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) in Home Alone. Credit: Athena Cinema

We’ll always remember Kevin as the mischievous scamp who plagued his household so much that screams of “Kevin!” were commonplace. The funniest part about the Home Alone movies were always the finales, when Kevin would booby trap an entire house and trick the Wet Bandits into running his gauntlet. Kevin’s ingenuity and resourcefulness were remarkable for his age, causing many other naughty boys to look to him for inspiration in tormenting their parents.

Seriously, how did the Wet Bandits survive all those traps?

3. Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Jake Lloyd plays a young Darth Vader in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Credit: Moviepilot

Jake Lloyd plays a young Darth Vader in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Credit: Moviepilot

Jake Lloyd’s appeal was simple – he was Darth Vader as a young boy! The most iconic photo of him (shown above) was so famous that it’s been spoofed countless times, with one particularly memorable one using Jar Jar Binks’ shadow instead of Darth Vader. While Jake Lloyd has fallen on harder times in recent years, we’ll never forget his portrayal as the young pod racing prodigy from a backwater planet where, oddly, the inhabitants were immune to Jedi mind tricks.

Thankfully, they dropped that whole midicholorian subplot in later films. Determining a person’s potential for the Force through a simple blood test? Pfft.

4. Jacob Tremblay as Jack Newsome in Room

Jacob Tremblay plays Jack Newsome in Room. Credit: Popsugar

Jacob Tremblay plays Jack Newsome in Room. Credit: Popsugar

The boy is only nine, and already he has five movies slated for 2016. Five! But his breakout role was in Room, where he played a boy who’s never seen the outside world before, since he’s lived his whole life in a room. How do you even figure out the characterisation of such a person, let alone act as one? He really should have won an Oscar for his performance.

Bet you didn’t know he appeared in 2013’s The Smurfs 2 too!

5. Judah Lewis as Chris Moreno in Demolition

Chris Moreno (Judah Lewis) in Demolition. Credit: Hollywood Elsewhere

Chris Moreno (Judah Lewis) in Demolition. Credit: Hollywood Elsewhere

Judah Lewis plays a foul-mouthed brat that could give any rapper a run for his money in the profanities spewed. But the young boy’s vulgar exterior hid a lost soul who was desperately in need of a friend, just like his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal. Fortunately, he eventually came to terms with his own personal demons. Yes, you read that right, he was an adolescent with personal demons, and Judah Lewis managed to portray such complex character convincingly.

He’ll grow up to a fine actor, this Judah Lewis.

6. Jaeden Lieberher as Alton in Midnight Special

Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) and Sarah (Kirsten Dunst)  in Midnight Special. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) and Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) in Midnight Special. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

What’s more difficult than portraying a boy with personal demons? Portraying a wise young boy who has incredibly destructive powers. Alton could very well be an alien for all we know, yet he’s never inaccessible to the audience. Jaeden Lieberher manages to infuse him with such empathy and wisdom, while still retaining the innocent, playful qualities of a real child. Imagine trying to display all those different aspects of your character while still memorising long and difficult words in your script.

His parents, played by Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst, put up a pretty good performance too.

Poster for Midnight Special. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Poster for Midnight Special. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

So what exactly is Alton, and why does he have those powers? That’s what Midnight Special is all about. Alton has a mysterious mission to fulfill, and he must complete it while evading capture from the authorities. It’s a unique science fiction film that’s grounded in character. But most importantly, it tells a great story of a young boy with special powers.

Catch it Midnight Special in cinemas today!

 

Credits: Where’s The Jump?, Athena Cinema, Moviepilot, Popsugar, Hollywood Elsewhere, Golden Village Cinemas