Why Beth Dutton From Yellowstone Looks So Familiar
On the outside, she’s a high-powered banker making waves in the wearisome financial world of the Midwest. On the inside, she’s a hard-drinking, hard-hearted cowgirl who came of age as the lone woman in a Montana ranching dynasty. Her name is Beth Dutton, and over the first two seasons of Paramount Network’s hit neo-Western drama Yellowstone, she’s become one of the more unheralded badasses on television.
Beth Dutton has frequently proven herself as one of the toughest and shrewdest members of the Dutton clan. Like the rest of her kin, she’s frequently found her wits tested, her emotional state fractured, and her physical state encroached upon by folks who call themselves the enemies of the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch.
Even as that list is seemingly set to grow on Yellowstone‘s upcoming third season, Beth Dutton remains the most inwardly intricate and outwardly unflappable presences on Team Dutton. And while she continues to be one of the better scripted characters among the Yellowstone players, the actress who portrays her constantly brings unscripted levels of depth to the role. She’s Kelly Reilly, and if you’re certain you’ve seen her face before, we can all but guarantee you have.
Here’s why Beth Dutton from Yellowstone looks so familiar.
Kelly Reilly played a sharp-tongued socialite in Pride & Prejudice
Like so many other members of Yellowstone‘s esteemed cast, Kelly Reilly has been kicking around Hollywood for quite some time now. The British-born actress began her career over 20 years ago with a series of appearances on several U.K. television series, then tried her hand at film. Though she had a small-time breakthrough in Cédric Klapisch’s lauded 2002 indie flick L’auberge Espagnole — alongside Audrey Tautou (Amélie) — Reilly didn’t really get international attention until 2005, when she turned up opposite Keira Knightley in a key supporting role in Joe Wright’s immaculate adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.
No, Reilly wasn’t one of the Bennett sisters in the film. But like the actresses who portrayed the Bennett girls — Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Jena Malone (The Neon Demon), Carrie Mulligan (Drive), and Tallulah Riley (Westworld) — Reilly’s brilliant turn as Mr. Bingley’s venomous sister Caroline in Pride & Prejudice instantly landed her on the list of up-and-coming actors to watch. While Reilly hasn’t yet found quite the same level of success as some of her Pride & Prejudice co-stars, she’s continued to carve out quite an impressive resume the 15 years since the film was released. And if nothing else, her turn about the room with Knightley’s Lizzie discussing what makes "an accomplished woman" remains one of the most memorable moments in a movie full of them.
Kelly Reilly stole Watson’s heart in Sherlock Holmes
While many of Kelly Reilly’s post-Pride & Prejudice roles have been decidedly of the supporting nature and largely in smaller-scaled fare, she got a legit taste of the big time when she landed the role of the future Mrs. Watson in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes.
Directed with kinetic energy by Guy Ritchie and featuring stellar performances from MCU star Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes somehow brought the stories of literature’s greatest detective into the blockbuster era while still retaining its period-specific charms. Reilly’s impassioned work as Mary Morstan in the film is the very definition of charming, with the actress bringing a vital sense of warmth and humanity to the mix that helps balance the scales of an otherwise testosterone-driven (if also endlessly entertaining) action flick. Frankly, Reilly’s work in Sherlock Holmes is the sort that makes you wish she had a more substantial role in the flick.
As it happens, Reilly managed the same feat in the blockbuster’s 2011 followup Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, though it seems like she had even less to do in that film. Though a new Sherlock Holmes movie is in the works with RDJ and Law reprising their roles, Reilly’s return has yet to be confirmed. Here’s hoping that if producers bring Reilly back for the new mystery, they actually let her develop the character a bit more.
Kelly Reilly shared the screen with Denzel in Flight
Kelly Reilly has mostly been relegated to "supporting player" territory throughout her career, but she’s also developed a reputation for being able to hold her own opposite some of the heaviest hitters in the world of film and television. That ability is frequently exhibited on Yellowstone, where she’s trading lines with the likes of Kevin Costner, but it’s never been more on display than in the 2012 drama Flight. If you’re wondering who the heavy-hitter was in that little film, it was none other than Denzel Washington.
Flight follows the travails of a drug-addicted, alcoholic pilot (Washington) who manages to bravely save the lives of a plane full of passengers after an unexpected mid-air calamity. The only problem is that the pilot was intoxicated at the time. Further complications arise as the National Transportation Safety Board opens an investigation into the event, with obvious (and not-so-obvious) drama ensuing.
If you’re having trouble placing Reilly’s face in Flight, she played Nicole, the recovering heroin addict whom Washington’s spiraling pilot meets in the hospital while recovering from injuries sustained during his daring landing. While the pair share a palpable chemistry throughout the film, they’re also frequently at odds, with the pilot’s addictions infringing on Nicole’s desperate attempts to stay clean. Somewhere in the mix, Reilly delivers a beautifully nuanced performance full of fragile sincerity and stoic determination that had "star-making performance" written all over it.
While Flight did better than average at the box office, pulling in $161.7 million worldwide, it still feels like not enough folks saw the film. Thus, Kelly Reilly remained stuck on the fringes of the A-list.
Kelly Reilly played a modern day Lady Macbeth on True Detective
Season 1 of HBO’s breakout drama True Detective continues to be hailed as one of the true high points in television’s current golden age. Season 3 of the detective series was generally seen as a welcome return to form, thanks in large part to a powerhouse performance from the great Mahershala Ali. In a perfect world, a gifted performer like Kelly Reilly would’ve appeared in either the widely praised first or well-respected third seasons of True Detective. Unfortunately, she turned up on season 2 of the series, the weakest of the bunch.
The real tragedy of season 2 of True Detective is that Reilly is quite good on it. Some might say she delivers the best work of the anthology series as Jordan Semyon, the wife and would-be Lady Macbeth of Vince Vaughan’s wanna-be kingpin Frank Semyon — even though her character was perhaps the least-developed one in all of True Detective history.
In spite of the obvious narrative shackles imposed on Reilly’s character throughout season 2 of True Detective, she still manages to pull a fully-formed human being from the scruff — one who possesses all the fire, intellect, and tragically human duality we’ve come to expect from a Kelly Reilly performance. With any luck, the actress will continue to contribute such stalwart work in future projects.