At the age of twelve, Dunst gained widespread recognition as Claudia in Interview with the Vampire (1994), a role for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.She appeared in Little Women the same year and in Jumanji the following year.
When asked if she had any regrets about the way she spent her childhood, Dunst said: "Well, it's not a natural way to grow up, but it's the way I grew up and I wouldn't change it. I don't think anybody can sit around and say, 'My life is more screwed up than yours.' Everybody has their issues." At the age of six, she made her feature film debut in a minor role in Woody Allen's short film Oedipus Wrecks that was released as one-third of the anthology film New York Stories (1989).
Soon after, she co-starred with Tom Hanks in the comedy-drama The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), based on Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name, where she played the daughter of Hanks' character.
In 2011, Dunst co-starred opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Rampling in Lars von Trier's drama film Melancholia as a woman suffering depression as the world ends.
The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and received positive reviews and Dunst was singled out for praise.
Roger Ebert commented that Dunst's creation of the child vampire Claudia was one of the "creepier" aspects of the film, and mentioned her ability to convey the impression of great age inside apparent youth.
In an interview with Interview magazine, she revealed, while questioned about her kissing scene with Pitt, that kissing him had made her feel uncomfortable: "I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties.
The film is a parody retelling the events of the Watergate scandal which led to the resignation of U. When interviewed by MTV, Darren Hayes of Savage Garden stated that "She's wonderful. Dunst co-starred opposite James Woods in Sofia Coppola's drama film The Virgin Suicides (1999), based on Jeffrey Eugenides' novel of the same name.
She played Lux Lisbon, one of the troubled teenage daughters of Ronald Lisbon (Woods). Scott called her "a terrific comic actress, largely because of her great expressive range, and the nimbleness with which she can shift from anxiety to aggression to genuine hurt." Charles Taylor of Salon noted that "among contemporary teenage actresses, Dunst has become the sunniest imaginable parodist", even though he thought the film had failed to provide her with as good a role as she had either in Dick or in The Virgin Suicides.
with many critics reserving praise for her performance. Jessica Winter from The Village Voice complimented Dunst, stating that her performance was "as sprightly and knowingly daft as her turn in Dick" and commenting that "[Dunst] provides the only major element of Bring It On that plays as tweaking parody rather than slick, strident, body-slam churlishness." Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle, despite giving the film an unfavorable review, commended Dunst for her willingness "to be as silly and cloyingly agreeable as it takes to get through a slapdash film." Also in 2001, she starred in the historical drama The Cat's Meow, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, as the American actress Marion Davies.