What’s your favourite Angelina Jolie movie? Chances are, it’s probably not the uninspired Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow, the second movie she starred in at the beginning of her career. And we’re betting against tiresome romantic drama By the Sea and the underwhelming thriller The Tourist too. These were undoubtedly career low points for the extremely talented actress but she has thankfully risen above them to star in movies that are far more enjoyable and satisfying.
We have compiled a list of our favourite Angelina Jolie movies below. Do you agree with our picks? Or have we missed out on a gem that you think is deserving of a place on this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
As Lisa, the sociopath who forms a bond with Winona Ryder’s troubled young woman at a mental hospital, Jolie gives an electrifying turn and she won her first (and to-date only) Academy Award for her performance. Deservedly so, as while the movie is primarily about Ryder’s character, Jolie makes a tremendous impact whenever she appears on the screen.
James Mangold’s powerful movie cemented Jolie’s status as a talented actress and it did much to elevate Ryder’s career too. It’s not an easy watch, as you might expect from a coming-of-age movie about girls in psychiatric care, but it’s still worth your time if you can handle the difficult themes that the movie presents throughout its run-time.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Can Simon West’s videogame adaptation really be among Angelina Jolie’s ‘best’ movies? Well, that’s debatable. Story-wise, the movie is all over the place and there is far less puzzle solving and tomb raiding than there should be in this take on the popular game franchise. However, Jolie is simply stunning as intrepid adventurer Lara Croft and she elevates the movie to greater heights with her tough and stoic performance. It’s for this reason that this movie deserves a place on this list, even though it’s simple escapist fare that deserved a much better script and a more talented director.
In terms of plot, the movie is about Lara’s attempt to get to an ancient artefact before it falls into the wrong hands. If you have ever picked up a joypad and played one of the Tomb Raider games, this will be a premise that will be very familiar to you. Several set-pieces stand out, including one where Lara beats up a load of bad guys while attached to bungee cords, and the movie runs at a brisk pace, so it’s easy to forget how silly it all is.
James McAvoy stars in this entertaining action movie as a frustrated office worker who discovers that he is the son of a professional assassin. This is surprising enough for the man who considers himself a loser but when he discovers he shares his dad’s superhuman killing abilities, his life takes on a whole new turn!
McAvoy might be an unlikely assassin in this hyperkinetic thrill ride of a movie but Jolie is every inch the badass that she is supposed to be as the woman who mentors the beleaguered accounts manager in the art of killing.
We already know that she can deliver on the action stakes after seeing her in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the Tomb Raider movies and she more than proves her worth as a kick-ass (and gun-toting) star in this one. There was talk of a sequel after this movie’s release but despite the potential for a new action franchise, it sadly never came to be.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
Doug Liman’s super-cool action movie brings together Jolie and former husband Brad Pitt as two halves of a married couple who are hired by their competing government agencies to kill one another. The scene is then set for all kinds of mayhem as the two try to take one another out via shootouts, poisoned dinners, and a series of explosive attacks.
This was apparently the movie that brought Brangelina together and it’s evident that they have great chemistry, despite the many scenes of them trying to kill one another. Sadly, their real-life relationship ended several years later and that’s possibly the reason why there has never been a sequel. It’s a shame but at least they didn’t end their marriage in the same way that John and Jane Smith attempted to in this gloriously fun popcorn movie.
Before Jolie became a big Hollywood star, she proved her considerable talents as an actress in this biographical TV movie. She stars as Gia Carangi, a young woman who became a top model during the late-70s but who later succumbed to heroin addiction and an untimely death due to AIDS-related complications. Gia’s downfall is laid bare in this powerful biopic with Jolie excelling as the model who was eaten up by the trappings of fame.
It’s little wonder that Jolie hit the big time soon after this movie’s release as it proved that she could be far more than just a pretty face. A number of high-profile movies immediately followed, including The Bone Collector and Gone in 60 Seconds, but despite its lower budget and TV origins, Gia is still one of the best movies she starred in during the early part of her career.
Kung Fu Panda (1998)
Many big-name stars lend their voices to animated movies but very few of them convince as their cartoon counterparts. This isn’t the case for Jolie, who is the perfect fit for Tigress, the toughest warrior in the band of expert fighters that Jack Black’s overweight panda becomes involved with.
Jolie is a good fit because she has played many tough-as-nails characters throughout her career. Tigress is as ferocious as any of these but she also has a sensitive side, another reason why Jolie is perfect for the part as she has shown vulnerability in many of her movie roles. Dreamworks Animation recently closed down after a number of box office disappointments but Kung Fu Panda will always be remembered as one of the studio’s best movies.
This will likely be a divisive choice. Chloé Zhao’s epic superhero drama about the Eternals, a race of immortal beings that once shaped the Earth’s history, is something of an anomaly within the MCU. It’s more focused on character than it is about spectacle and it’s not as action-packed as some of the comic book movies we have become used to. As such, the movie divided critics and audiences, many of whom hated on the movie because of Zhao’s cerebral approach in her telling of the Eternal’s story.
However, the movie does improve on multiple viewings, mainly because we get to spend more time understanding the characters at the heart of the movie, including elite warrior Thena (Jolie), who can somehow manifest weapons out of thin air. The actress gives a sensitive and grounded performance as the cosmic fighter and she is ably matched by the other actors, including Richard Madden and Gemma Chan, who lend gravitas to what could have been a comically silly movie.
If we’re being honest, we are rather tired of Disney’s habit of making live-action versions of their animated movies. It’s not that they don’t look good – they often do – but as they follow the same plotlines, often beat-for-beat, as the animated originals, it begs the question – what’s the point?
Thankfully, Maleficent doesn’t fall into this category as it’s not a straightforward retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story. Instead of focusing on the fairytale princess, the movie (as can be guessed from the title) tells the classic tale from the villain’s perspective. Jolie gives an impressive performance as the vengeful fairy that curses the infant Aurora but while she is suitably sinister, she manages to make the villain sympathetic too, so the character is never quite as evil as the wicked fairy that is often booed and hissed at in pantomime retellings.
Angelina Jolie as a monstrous swamp hag? Surely not! Yet here she is as Grendel’s mother, the monstrous matriarch that played a prominent role in the Old English poem that told the story of the Scandinavian hero Beowulf who gained fame after killing the monster Grendel and his hideous mom.
In this motion-captured telling of the legendary tale, Jolie looks more like herself than the fearsome beast as she rises out of the swamp waters to seduce hero warrior Beowulf. She convinces in her performance as the surprisingly attractive monster, but less convincing is the animation style which gives the characters the dead-eyed look that was common in many motion capture movies before the technique was perfected. Beowulf is still a good movie though and if you can get past the occasional missteps within the animation, you will find a faithful adaptation of the classic poem.
Clint Eastwood directs this emotionally powerful tale about a grief-stricken mother (Jolie) who is convinced that the boy the LAPD pass off as her son isn’t the child that went missing from her several months earlier. From there, this 1920s-set movie which is based on real events takes on a number of twists and turns, not all of them happy ones.
Changeling stands as one of Eastwood’s best movies as a director and it allowed for one of Jolie’s best acting performances too. The actress was nominated for an Academy Award for this one but she lost out to Kate Winslet who won the Oscar for The Reader. But despite the lack of Academy commendation, Jolie is still magnificent as the woman living every mother’s nightmare, and she perfectly captures every emotional strain experienced by her grieving character.
And there we have it, our picks for our 10 favourite Angelina Jolie movies!
What do you think of our list? Have we included your favourites? Or have we missed any must-watch movies? We love to hear from you so do feel free to let us know in the comments below!