Actress Natalie Portman rose to fame after starring in her first major role at the tender age of 13. Here is a list of her best work.
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Natalie Portman has appeared in more than 60 films and television shows since she was just thirteen years old. Along the way, she earned a degree from Harvard, won a slew of accolades, and cemented her place as one of Hollywood’s most famous and renowned actors. Even for someone who hasn’t turned 40 yet, this is a remarkable list of accomplishments.
Since her debut, Natalie Portman’s performances have grown in magnitude steadily and consistently. Only a few of her performances have failed to satisfy both reviewers and fans. She’s not only skilled but also extremely consistent. While she has a long way to go, she already has a long list of remarkable and fantastic movies in her history.
1. Leon: The Professional (1994) – 64
Leon: The Professional, Portman’s debut film on the big screen, has not aged very well. It’s been extensively attacked in recent years for its overt sexualization of Portman’s 12-year-old character, and after its theatrical premiere, the actress revealed that she’d received hateful fan mail.
It is based on the story of Mathilda, who is taken in by a compassionate hitman after her family is murdered by a bunch of corrupt DEA officers. It’s an uneasy relationship, but he’s willing to teach her the techniques of the trade. Even though she is powerless to retaliate against the individuals who killed her family on her own, they eventually receive the justice they deserve, albeit at a high price.
2. Closer (2004) – 65
Following two doomed relationships over the course of a few years, this film adaptation of the Patrick Marber play gives a unique perspective on love and passion. As interesting as it is irritating, the four central characters’ self-gratifying acts eloquently capture the complexity of love and human connection.
Portman and her three other co-stars really sell the story with their believable and relatable performances, even though the script is excellent. Both Portman and Clive Owen were nominated for many awards for their supporting performances, with Portman taking home a win and the actor taking home two.
3. Garden State (2004) – 67
Expectations were sky-high for Zach Braff’s directorial debut, Garden State, after his breakout appearance as Scrubs’ JD in Scrubs. In addition to its 102-minute running time, this film’s screenplay is both insightful and sharp, and its characters have just enough depth to keep audiences engaged and entertained.
Portman portrays a serial liar with whom the film’s central character develops an immediate and intimate relationship.
She helps him face some of the demons from his past and begin a path of self-discovery. Perhaps that journey lacks substance, but there can be no arguing that it at least offers a new twist on the classic coming of age story.
4. Vox Lux (2018) – 67
After surviving a terrible school massacre, a young vocalist goes on to become one of the world’s most promising music artists in Vox Lux. It’s hard for her to deal with the pressures of popularity, which lead to some questionable decisions and life-changing repercussions.
Celeste’s narrative is similar to that of Natalie Portman’s, in that both were famous at an early age and had to deal with the traps and hardships that come with fame. It’s possible that this is why so many reviews praised her performance, citing it as the film’s finest asset.
5. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005) – 68
Despite the fact that many Star Wars fans still hold the prequel trilogy in contempt and disgust, the mainstream consensus has changed over time. Despite the convoluted story aspects, these films are filled with exciting action sequences and some of the finest compositions by John Williams. The more we don’t talk about Jar Jar Binks, the better off we’ll all be.
When Anakin Skywalker is a young boy, he falls in love with Padme Amidala (played by Natalie Portman), a member of Galactic Senate. Although she dies after childbirth in Episode III, she appears in all three films. Anakin’s descent into the dark side and eventual transformation into the deliciously perverse Darth Vader is directly linked to her death.
6. Cold Mountain (2003) – 73
The likes of Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger signed up for Cold Mountain, putting Natalie Portman in a lesser role and moving her down the list of stars. But the young actress does well when called upon and doesn’t feel out of place in the movie’s all-star cast at all.
Sara, a sorrowful widow with a little son, is kidnapped by three Union soldiers and held hostage. She and one of the other characters are compelled to kill them in a powerful sequence that drips with suspense and horror. In spite of how brief it was, it’s one of the most unforgettable scenes in the film.
7. Heat (1995) – 76
Michael Mann’s ambitious and spectacular criminal drama Heat stars a who’s who of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. Natalie Portman, who was just 14 years old at the time, starred with these seasoned actors in her first full-length feature film.
Although she portrays the stepdaughter of an LAPD Lieutenant, she serves more as a vehicle for the film’s narrative than a character. Portman’s acting is fine, but she doesn’t appear frequently enough to leave a lasting impression on the spectator or on the film’s plot.
8. Black Swan (2010) – 79
Black Swan, Darren Aranofsky’s 2010 psychological thriller, may be his greatest work to date, according to critics.
For the first time in a long time, it throws a bright spotlight on the enormous amount of pressure that young ballerinas are put under.
Portman won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Nina, while Aranofsky was nominated for Best Director.
As Lily, Mila Kunis gave an amazing performance, while Clint Mansell provided yet another hauntingly beautiful score that perfectly complements the film’s beautifully chaotic tone.
9. Annihilation (2018) – 79
As long as you’re patient, Annihilation is an exhilarating ride that’s full of exciting moments and thought-provoking concepts.
Lena, a biologist and ex-soldier, goes up for a top-secret operation in order to find out what happened to her husband, who was killed in action.
Before his hospitalization, Lena’s connection with him was shattered, and the remorse she felt for cheating on him drove her activities. It’s what makes them so realistic in the long run. The rest of the ensemble also does a great job, resulting in a sci-fi classic that defies expectations at every turn.
10. Jackie (2016) – 81
It’s easy to forget that Portman is just in her thirties because of her early rise to fame. That she acted with such maturity in the 2016 movie Jackie does not help either. It’s an extraordinarily sensitive film, full of emotionally intense scenes and beautifully shot.
While portraying the former first lady, Portman truly becomes her, shedding light on her post-JFK assassination problems. For all that she can do with her mouth and vocal abilities as an actress, Natalie Portman is unmatched in her ability to convey emotion with her body language.