From Marvel blue mutant to dystopian action heroine, we’ve seen all kinds of sides of Jennifer Lawrence over the years. Though there’s only one movie where J. Law danced into our hearts.
The Oscar-winner has built her career in both franchise vehicles and smaller dramatic indie films – and her latest film definitely belongs to the latter. Causeway (streaming Friday on Apple TV+), directed by Lila Neugebauer, casts Lawrence as an injured military engineer who returns home to New Orleans to recover and struggles to figure out the next steps in her life.
Here are Lawrence’s top 10 movies, definitely ranked:
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10. ‘Joy’ (2015)
Not the best of Lawrence’s frequent collaborations with director David O. Russell, but a remarkable achievement from his leading lady. Lawrence plays real-life self-made millionaire Joy Mangano, whose Miracle Mop became a QVC hit in the 1990s, in the story of one woman’s persistent quest to make something of herself.
9. ‘Red Sparrow’ (2018)
In this Cold War spy thread, Lawrence plays a top Russian ballerina in the Bolshoi Ballet who, after her career is derailed by a horrific injury, is recruited into a secret school that trains young men and women to use their sexual tricks for espionage purposes — and discovers a physical power she’s never had before.
8. “The Hunger Games – Catching Fire” (2013)
The best “Games” was the action-packed second part. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) – a symbol of the rising tide of rebellion – and her partner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are on a winning streak after their first win in the deadly tournament, but are thrown back into the fray (with blood rain and poisonous mist). .
7. “American Hustle” (2013)
A fictionalized take on the 1970s Abscam financial fraud case, Russell’s ensemble drama is a high-profile affair starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Bradley Cooper. But Lawrence is the highlight as the fiery, scheming wife of Christian Bale’s pot-bellied con man whose unpredictability threatens the entire criminal operation.
6. “Don’t Look Up” (2021)
Adam McKay’s A-list doomsday satire stars Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as astronomers trying to warn the world about the comet coming our way, though no one is in the mood to listen. Lawrence is a hoot as the increasingly disgruntled scientist becomes irritated when her partner becomes a nerdy pop culture phenomenon.
5. ‘Mother!’ (2017)
In Darren Aronofsky’s bizarre and polarizing horror show, Lawrence is ready for whatever unfolds as a young mother crafting a rural estate with her elderly husband (Javier Bardem). Houseguests from Hell and religious symbolism galore lead to a dizzying array of sex, violence, death, destruction and sacrifice.
4. “X-Men: First Class” (2011)
Lawrence has starred in a string of mediocre X-Men movies. However, Matthew Vaughn’s groovy ’60s superhero adventure was an entertaining and well-crafted franchise starter and an introduction to Lawrence’s Mystique, a shapeshifter who must help fend off WWII but also in her moral beliefs about humanity vs mutant species.
3. Causeway (2022)
As Lynsey, a soldier struggling with a traumatic brain injury she sustained in Afghanistan, Lawrence quietly dazzles in the intimate drama. Back home in New Orleans, Lynsey longs to be medically treated and reinstated, but her friendship with a friendly mechanic (Brian Tyree Henry) gives her important perspective.
2. ‘Winter Bones’ (2010)
Lawrence’s breakthrough role – and her first Oscar nomination – came in this haunting mystery thriller. When her methhead father goes missing, fearless Ozark teen Ree Dolly (Lawrence) tries to keep her family safe and sheltered while confronting a local crime lord and abiding by her community’s code of silence.
1. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Russell’s romantic dramedy – which earned Lawrence an Academy Award for Best Actress – is a fantastic exploration of mental health, football fandom and dance competitions. What drives it up, though, is the winning dynamic between Lawrence’s feisty widow, Tiffany, and Cooper’s bipolar, Eagles-loving Pat, who strike a deal to enter a dance competition and sparks fly as an unlikely bond forms. If you don’t cheer for these two when they hit the ballroom floor, you might be out of soul.
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