Steinfall proves Hailee Steinfeld is the real deal

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 22: Hailee Steinfeld attends the Hawkeye New York Special Fan Screening at AMC Lincoln Square on November 22, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Disney)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 22: Hailee Steinfeld attends the Hawkeye New York Special Fan Screening at AMC Lincoln Square on November 22, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Disney) /

I was 15 when I was first introduced to Hailee Steinfeld, sitting in a theater watching Pitch Perfect 2 for the first time. Having been a bit too young to have seen True Grit when it first dropped, Steinfeld’s Emily Junk was my first exposure to her work, and to say I was enthralled would be an understatement.

All these years later, I’m still a devout Hailee Steinfeld fan, and it’s nice to finally see that the world has caught up.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Steinfeld has had a very busy month. In November alone, she’s had three different shows premiere on three different streaming platforms, all of which have had incredible success. The success of Steinfall, coined by Decider to describe this unprecedented Hailee Steinfeld takeover, proves that she’s here to stay, and maybe one of the most inspired artists of our generation.

Dickinson, the first of Steinfeld’s shows to drop this month on AppleTV+, has been a relatively undiscovered gem for going on two years now, but the third and final season has been met with across-the-board praise. On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season sits Certified Fresh at 100%. The show is not only a critical success but, obvious to anyone who has watched the series, is also groundbreaking in the television medium.

It’s funny, bold, and poignant, with no reservations about taking risks. While it comes from the brilliant mind of Alena Smith, Steinfeld herself is a producer on the project, and her passion for this show highlights her ability to choose works that are both challenging and entertaining to put her name on.

The next title released during November for Steinfeld was an animated Netflix series titled Arcane, from the lore of popular video game League of Legends. The series, which was released in three acts throughout November, featured Steinfeld as the voice actor behind Vi, one of the main characters of the show.

The animation for the series is stunning and has even been compared to Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (coincidentally another Hailee Steinfeld project) for how much it will change and influence animation in the future. The series has been a massive hit for Netflix, remaining in the Top 10 for all three act releases, and has already been renewed for a season 2. Arcane also boasts a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, marking the second of Steinfeld’s November projects to score that rare achievement.

In an era where big-name celebrities are being cast in animated roles over actual voice actors, often to the detriment of the project, Steinfeld feels like one of the only actors who can truly crossover successfully. Her voice work is just as compelling as the work she does in front of the camera, and the animated projects she chooses to take part in showcase both her voice-over talent as well as her knack for finding these incredible shows and films to be a part of.

Finally, Hawkeye has just dropped its first two episodes on Disney+, marking the third and final hit for Steinfeld this month. The series currently sits at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a majority of critical consensus determining that Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop carries the series, at least so far. Her commitment to the comedy of the character as well as her ability to find balance within crazy fight sequences and emotional beats make it undeniable that Steinfeld is going to be one of the people carrying the torch for the future of the MCU.

Her first foray into the superhero genre feels like another incredible choice for Steinfeld, who has an eye for projects that either push the envelope or at the very least, have something real and human to say. Hawkeye’s focus on family and loss ground it amongst the more unreal elements of the MCU, and its street-level threats make it a much more palatable journey than a multiverse-ridden timey-wimey mess.

At what feels like a crossroads for the MCU, where the cinematic universe is moving more towards sprawling stories of time travel, parallel universes, and galactic threats, Hawkeye brings the franchise back down to Earth.

Steinfall, as a concept, felt at first just like a fun way to celebrate these shows that all happened to release around the same time and feature Hailee Steinfeld, but it’s become so much more than that.

After watching each of these shows, it’s clear that Steinfeld is not only incredibly talented but also has an eye for incredible content. In this streaming age, no one is safe from having a project flop every once in a while, but her avoidance of anything less-than-stellar is impressive. The thing each of these stories has in common, across Dickinson, Arcane, and Hawkeye, is the real, human emotion at the center of them all, and how Steinfeld can tap into that in each series.

As Emily Dickinson, Steinfeld shines as the poet still finding her place in a world that isn’t quite ready for her. As Vi, Steinfeld captures the heartbreaking loss and systemic suffering using just her voice. As Kate Bishop, Steinfeld balances her brilliant comedic timing with the early-20’s angst bubbling under the surface. And through each of these roles, Steinfeld brings humanity and levity to each, making each show better through her presence.

It’s clear that Hailee Steinfeld is one of a kind, and has become one of the biggest stars of our generation already. At just 24 years old, the sky’s the limit for Steinfeld as she enters into the next phase of her career, and I’m incredibly excited to see what projects she’ll put into the world next.

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