10 Best Jennifer Lawrence Movies | TheReviewGeek Recommends


X-Men: First Class and The Hunger Games may have catapulted Jennifer Lawrence to stardom but her acting career didn’t begin with these megahits. Her first appearance was in the TV show Monk and she continued to work in television before gaining a small role in the poorly received teen drama Garden Party in 2008.

Thankfully, her Hollywood career didn’t begin and end with that undistinguished movie as she was able to nab more prominent roles, appearing alongside such acting heavyweights as Charlize Theron in The Burning Plain and Mel Gibson in The Beaver. From here, her career went from strength to strength.

We take a look at some of her most notable movies below so keep reading to learn more about the actress whose odds have regularly been in her favour!

Winter’s Bone (2010)

Lawrence’s breakout movie role as Ozark mountain girl Ree is still among her best and it was probably the stepping stone she needed to make it into the casting office for the box office hits she made next. The movie chronicles the desperate attempts by Ree to track down her drug-dealing dad in order to protect her family home and her younger siblings.

As Ree, Lawrence pulled off an emotionally tender performance that belied her young age and she was nominated for an Oscar. She didn’t win (Natalie Portman took that honour) but her powerful portrayal of the teenager who is suddenly forced to take adult responsibility gave her the critical acclaim she needed to climb up the Hollywood ladder.

dont look up

Don’t Look Up (2021)

Not every critic enjoyed Adam McKay’s end-of-the-world satire and as you can see from our review, we didn’t rate it particularly highly either. But it deserves a place on our ‘best list’ for Lawrence’s performance as the astronomy grad student who realises a world-ending comet is plummeting towards our planet.

As Kate, she manages to pull off her character’s exasperation really well as she finds herself up against the opportunistic politicians and inept media folk who don’t take the apocalyptic threat seriously. She gives a fine comedic performance too so that is something to be treasured.

The large ensemble cast also includes Jonah Hill, Leonardo Di Caprio, Meryl Streep, and Timothee Chalamet and they all perform as well as you might expect in this occasionally misfiring movie.

So, while this isn’t quite the satirical comedy it could have been, it’s not a total waste of time thanks to the talented actors who make the end of the world worth living through.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

This movie granted Lawrence her first and currently only Oscar for her role as Tiffany, the former sex addict, who tries to help Pat (Bradley Cooper) put his life back together after his stay at a psychiatric hospital. Both actors have great chemistry – it’s no surprise that they have made 3 movies together – and the movie as a whole is largely entertaining.

The actress even manages to steal scenes away from the legendary Robert DeNiro, which was no mean feat for an actress who was only 21 at the time of filming. The movie was her first collaboration with David O’Russell, and to date, she has worked with the director two more times with American Hustle and Joy.

As good as those movies are, this is still the pinnacle of their achievements together as it’s a heartfelt and sharply funny piece of work that tackles such difficult subjects as mental illness with aplomb.

The Hunger Games (2012)

The first in the four-movie franchise and arguably the best of the bunch, although none of them disappointed critics or the fans of the original Young Adult novels on which they were based. As Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence is the beating heart of this saga and she grew as both a character and as an actress as the sequels rolled on.

At the time, this was Lawrence’s most high-profile movie, despite having starred in an X-Men movie the year before. Not only did it show the world what she could do with a bow and arrow but it showed them what she could do as an actress too. Bizarrely, the actress once joked that she was the worst part of the whole franchise but this self-deprecation was needless, as she was more than able to hold her own against such acting legends as Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Lawrence first took on the role of the shape-shifting Mystique in X-Men: First Class but this follow-up to that origins story is more epic in scope and far more entertaining. The actress manages to bring an emotional depth to the blue-painted mutant and is more effective in the part than Rebecca Romijn who didn’t get as much of an opportunity to shine.

The movie is probably the best in the now moribund X-Men franchise, partly thanks to the time-travelling plot where older and younger X-Men meet, and partly because of the action-packed spectacle. It’s a shame that the subsequent entries failed to capitalise on the success of this but perhaps the X-Men will return to their former fame and glory when they’re rebooted within the MCU.

Joy (2015)

Lawrence received an Oscar nomination for her role as Joy Mangano, the housewife who managed to build a business empire after inventing the self-wringing Miracle Mop. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t clean up at the awards ceremony (they must have left the mop at home) and Lawrence didn’t get the Oscar. But that’s no discredit to the movie as it’s mostly entertaining, despite the occasionally messy narrative (I won’t insert another mop reference here) and traditional underdog traits.

The actress allegedly contracted a stomach bug on set (it’s a good job she had a Miracle Mop handy) but this didn’t stop Lawrence from adding yet another decent performance to her over-flowing resume.

American Hustle (2013)

David O Russell’s movie was nominated for 10 awards at the Oscars! This was quite an achievement especially when you consider the academy’s tendency to focus on movies that are either inspirational true-life stories or lavish historical epics. The movie didn’t go on to win any awards (12 Years a Slave ticked both the Academy’s usual boxes and won Best Picture) but that shouldn’t put you off this zany heist drama.

Lawrence is hilarious as the wife of Irving (Christian Bale), the conman who is forced to work with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to take down some crooked politicians. She manages to steal most of the scenes she is in as the clingy and unpredictable wife but the entire cast deserve credit for their fine performances in this loosely based on fact tale.

Passengers (2016)

Before its release, there was a lot of positive word about this one. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in a big-budget sci-fi romance? Yes please, was the general consensus as critics and audiences looked forward to its eventual arrival. But after its release in the December of 2016, the tide turned. The reviews were not great, partly because of the plot wherein Jim (Pratt) wakes up Aurora (Lawrence) from her planned hibernation just so he can break up the tedium of his isolation. It was the issue of consent that became most people’s bugbear and the fact the movie skimmed over the moral implications of his actions.

Despite the controversy and the poor reviews, the movie isn’t a bad one at all. The visuals are top-notch, the central relationship at the heart of the story is engaging, and the performances are all stellar, with special mention to Michael Sheen who is hilarious as the all-knowing android barman. Lawrence shines in her role and even though she thought the movie could have been better, she was at least able to walk away with a $20 million paycheque.

Mother! (2017)

In terms of box office receipts, Darren Aronofsky’s dark and twisted horror movie under-performed, possibly because audiences were put off by the negative reviews that came out at the time. Not every critic was unkind but there were those who were confused by the abstract nature of the plot and the bonkers twist ending.

Still, most of them agreed that Lawrence, as the woman whose life takes a turn for the bizarre when some strangers show up at her door, was very good. Her mounting anguish matched the escalating madness of the narrative and the movie is worth seeing, if only for her performance alone.

Personally, I enjoyed this disturbing and nightmarish movie and it has since received a critical evaluation. If you’re a fan of bizarre horror movies, you will probably enjoy it too but whether or not you understand it all is another thing altogether.

Red Sparrow (2018)

Lawrence reteamed with Francis Lawrence, her Hunger Games director, for this spy thriller that was based on a book by a former CIA officer. She stars as Dominika Egorova, a former ballerina, who is forced to cut her dance career short after suffering an injury.

As awful as this is for the young dancer, she doesn’t have to consider life on the unemployment line for long as she is soon recruited into the ‘Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence institution that trains women to become spies.

Questionable Russian accent besides, Lawrence is good value here as the woman who is trained to use her body for espionage purposes. The original novel was the first of a trilogy but there hasn’t been any news of a sequel for this brutal spy thriller. This might not be the strongest movie of Lawrence’s career – you can read our review here – but it gave Lawrence the opportunity to stretch her considerable acting muscles.

And there we have it, our picks for our 10 favourite Jennifer Lawrence 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!

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