Speaking about her character, actress Shawnee Smith said that while she was not able to completely identify Amanda Young with that of herself, she was however, able to perceive several of Amanda's characteristics to be admirable nevertheless. Smith stated that:
"When you first meet, she’s at the bottom, she can’t go any lower and it’s the combination of that and having nothing left to lose and finding someone to love and to sacrifice for. Obviously she’s tragic, but 95% of her was capable of growing the strength to serve and sacrifice for another human being. Now that’s rare and it takes strength, courage, practice, diligence, and a fearlessness to build that."
Smith also stated that she attempted to find the human being in Amanda, and tried not to merely turn her into a "super killer". Smith remarked of Amanda's relationship with Jigsaw that it was not so much an apprentice relationship, but that she perceived it as "a true friendship and a real partnership"., a horror review site, claimed that: "I found Amanda the scariest part of the movie, not because Shawnee Smith can match the creepy gravitas of Tobin Bell... but the sheer notion of her transformation. Jigsaw, while not physically powerful has the ability to reproduce his twisted world view in formerly sane people, including the ones he's 'tested.'"
Don Summer, a writer for Best-Horror-Movies.com, commented that Shawnee Smith did a "fantastic job" in her recurring role as Jigsaw's "trusty sidekick", Amanda.
A film critic for the website Angel Fire concurred that Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith performed very well in their roles. Particularly commenting on the third film, he went on to claim that "while Bell's Jigsaw played a major role in Saw III, most of the film is carried along by Shawnee Smith as Amanda" whom he believed presented an "interesting and intriguing character". He also expressed admiration for the manner in which Amanda began as a minor character in the original movie, only to have her character's prominence surely yet gradually increase in the sequels. He claimed that "You've gotta love the way her character has been expanded in the series from a victim in the first "Saw" movie, to a trojan horse in the second film, and to a major player in the third film."
Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith were nominated for the Spike TV Scream Award in the category of "Most Vile Villain" for their portrayals of Jigsaw and Amanda respectively in Saw III.
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“The wretchedness of being rich is that you live with rich people.... To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and stay sober.”
—Logan Pearsall Smith (18651946)