Dave of Victim of the Time here again; I asked this question of Christina Ricci a couple of weeks ago, and mused on the possibility of doing the same for poor Winona Ryder. (Sidenote: they were apparently in this together. I have not seen that.) So imagine my surprise to see Nat mention her popping up in something over there in Nashville. Noni on the brain; surely a good thing.
I think we all know what became of her really, though: she got busted. But, looking back, her career didn't look in the finest shape anyway; Girl, Interrupted got stolen by a manic Angelina Jolie, Autumn in New York went down like a balloon filled with air instead of helium (terminal illness and an older man lusting after a young woman- where did all go so wrong?), and I'm not sure anyone should ever mention Mr. Deeds again (unless of course it's followed by the words "Goes To Town"). In fact, after an obviously necessary period of staying out of the spotlight, Noni's slowly been rebuilding respectability in her career, albeit out of the A-List limelight she once inhabited. Her films in the last few years may not have been of the finest quality, or had the widest releases (indeed, most of them haven't swum their way over to these shores), but with things like Star Trek and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee on the horizon, perhaps Noni's career is finally getting back on track.
She seems to have suffered from a similar problem to Christina Ricci; the public perception of her never really seemed to change. Like Ricci, Noni's a small lady, but rather than the child Ricci inescapably plays, Noni was, from the day she appeared in Beetle Juice (which, shoot me, I still haven't seen) and Heathers, forever a teenager. Parts like those in The Age of Innocence and The Crucible never really seemed to fit her, and she didn't seem particularly comfortable in them; Jo in Little Women, on the other hand, fit her almost too well for her own good. Trying to play 'adult' roles- throw Girl, Interrupted (although the 'girl' of the title tells you something) and possibly Alien: Resurrection into that hat as well- made our beloved Noni come across slightly bland, stripped of the sardonic, cutting humour the teenager parts let her express.
Post-you-know-what back in 2002- and note that, A Scanner Darkly aside, I'm going solely on plot descriptions here, so feel free to contradict me- she seems to have, whether willingly or not (they may be the only parts she was offered!), used her damaged image to appropriate a new persona (often involving drugs), and it may be working out, after a few years hard slog. From wiseacre teen to... wiseacre, battered adult. I see her conviction as the division between teenage Noni and adult Noni- it might have been the best thing for her personally, but it looked like her A-list status was dwindling anyway; taking an enforced break, and coming back with an unavoidably altered public image, meant she could finally grow up. (And, yes, she may be in a movie with Hilary Duff, but... Nope. I got nothin'.)