10 Best Helena Bonham Carter Movies
She might’ve started out as Tim Burton’s muse, but Helena Bonham Carter single-handedly managed to evolve into an actress in a league of her own. From her first role in one of James Ivory’s most iconic films to her most recent in the reboot-sequel hybrid of the Ocean’s franchise, Carter proves to be one of the most stand-out actresses currently working today. She might not keep up with Burton any longer, but frankly she doesn’t even need him anymore. Carter is a force to be reckoned with almost every time she’s on screen, whether she’s acting in a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster or a small-time arthouse film. She can play creepy and off-kilter just as easily as she can play straight-faced and sympathetic. It’s clear by looking at the best roles she has to offer: There’s just no one else like Helena Bonham Carter.
One of David Fincher’s most beloved films, Fight Club has Helena Bonham Carter playing a different type of weirdo. From the moment Ed Norton’s nameless narrator meets her at one of his needless support group meetings, it’s clear that Carter is about to shake things up. From that point on, Carter ends up giving a more compelling performance than Norton and Brad Pitt combined (no pun intended). Looking at her career as a whole, Fight Club remains Carter’s most dynamic and interesting role to date.
The King’s Speech
Taking home plenty of the year’s biggest Oscar awards and nominations, 2010’s The King’s Speech proved to be a lot more than a great Colin Firth vehicle. Helena Bonham Carter gives a terrific performance as Queen Elizabeth, essentially transforming herself into the royal family member of yesteryear. This movie posits itself as all about the men it focuses on, but Carter’s role is easily as important as theirs.
One of Tim Burton’s lightest films, both in subject matter and in color palette, Big Fish sees Helena Bonham Carter in a supporting role in the fictional life story of the mysterious Edward Bloom. Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney might have the honor of playing Bloom throughout the many stages of his life, but Carter gets to play one of the story’s most important love interests. It’s one of her more pleasant roles in one of Tim Burton’s most pleasant films, and the two no doubt made great work together here.
Based on the 1910 novel of the same name, Howard’s End is one of James Ivory’s masterpieces and one of Carter’s most lauded performances. She’s one part of a splendid ensemble, acting alongside other legends like Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in early 20th century England. Ivory loved adapting E.M. Forster novels, and Carter loved helping Ivory bring those novels to life. Howard’s End is one great example of this…
A Room With a View
…and A Room With a View is another. Released in the mid-80s, James Ivory’s film sees Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith playing two women stuck in hotel rooms without a view of beautiful Florence, Italy. They soon meet a pair of men with much better rooms, and the two find their lives changed forever over something so seemingly innocent. Ivory knows how to examine relationships with a microscope—he always has and probably always will (see his most recent effort, 2017’s Call Me by Your Name). Of course, it seems fair to say that Carter might be one of his secret ingredients for success.
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
In one of her more unique roles, Carter lends her voice to the ridiculous Lady Campanula Tottington in Steve Box and Nick Parks’s utterly delightful Wallace and Gromit film. The two iconic claymation characters have plenty of television specials under their belt, but The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is their first big-screen adventure. Carter plays an important part in the film’s lovably goofy absurdity.
Back in 2012, Helena Bonham Carter attached herself to the big-screen adaptation of one of the most iconic musicals of all time. Director Tom Hooper’s unique take on the film — choosing to have all the characters sing all of their lines at all times, something pretty unheard of in the Broadway musical universe — is helped by some actors and harmed by others (cough-cough, Russell Crowe), but Carter should take pride in the fact that her performance is one of the better ones in the film.
Another claymation performance for the ages, Corpse Bride sees Helena Bonham Carter playing the titular character in Tim Burton’s wondrous stop-motion film. The movie’s a real treat, proving to be one of the most original claymation projects we’ve seen so far. Carter’s so good at what she does, she’s capable of distinguishing herself using only her voice.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
While reactions to Burton’s take on Roald Dahl’s classic book were mixed, one thing remains undoubtable: Helena Bonham Carter is a welcome addition to the film’s eclectic cast of characters. Playing a minor role, that of Charlie’s mom, Carter stands out as a loving and sympathetic mom who just wants the best for her beloved son. She’s opened her home and her heart to plenty of family members, showing a side of Carter not often highlighted (especially when it comes to Tim Burton).
The most recent film on the list, Carter’s casting in this film might seem confusing to some: it’s a big-budget Hollywood remake/reboot hybrid, something that Carter and her frequently gloomy characters might avoid like the plague. Don’t worry, though — writers Gary Ross and Olivia Milch give Carter plenty to do, even in the midst of a cast of stellar female performers. Hopefully, based on the film’s relative success of the box office, Ocean’s Eight isn’t the last we’ve seen of Carter’s character Rose Weil.
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