10 Best Jodie Foster Movies
Acting ever since she was a young teen, Jodie Foster has managed to withstand the test of time and remain an ever-captivating presence on screen and off. Proving herself to be a force not many would reckon with, Foster has played strong and dynamic characters practically her entire career. Her breakthrough came at the age of 12 when she managed to earn herself an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but she still continues to rake in nominations even after all these decades. She might’ve been restricted to a string of Disney movies in the early part of her acting career, but Foster has grown into something much more serious since then. Never without controversy, Foster has withstood crazy fans, obscure art films, and difficult dry spells without major roles, but she nevertheless remains an instantly recognizable name in Hollywood. No matter where her career takes her next, one thing remains certain: it’ll probably be great, which is proven by her best roles.
The Silence of the Lambs
The first film Foster soared in after a string of so-so releases, The Silence of the Lambs is just as much Foster’s film as it is Anthony Hopkins’s. She delivers an award-winning performance as Clarice Starling, a young FBI cadet with a knack for interrogation. While the role has been played by many other actresses in the years since, none come as close to perfection as Foster did back in 1991. It’s the definitive Jodie Foster role.
The movie that started it all for her, Martin Scorsese’s 1976 psychological thriller Taxi Driver features young Jodie Foster as an unfortunate young girl stuck in a horribly unfair position as a runaway and a prostitute. It’s heartbreaking to see, but Foster’s character doesn’t ask for sympathy for even one second. For someone so young, it’s fascinating to see Foster’s natural talent unfold onscreen. She and Robert De Niro deserve every bit of praise they get for Taxi Driver.
A Very Long Engagement
Not only is Foster a great actress, but she’s also fluent in French. As seen in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2004 film A Very Long Engagement, Foster has no problem delivering a superb performance in a role that requires her to speak a language that isn’t her native one. Interestingly enough, Foster often rerecords her own lines in French for the French versions of many of her films.
With Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey at the front-and-center of a film, it seems like there isn’t much that could really keep it from being a successful vehicle for both of them. That’s the case with Contact, Robert Zemeckis’s science fiction drama from 1997. Foster plays an astronomer who receives the first alien broadcast in history, subsequently driving her to whatever lengths necessary to send them a broadcast back.
From director Spike Lee, one of the most vital voices working in film, comes Inside Man — a thriller starring Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster as a detective and a broker, respectively. It’s a standout among Lee’s other films, and it’s a standout for Foster, as well. It’s an important look at Wall Street during one of its most tumultuous periods in history, and Foster is integral to its greatness.
One of Foster’s most significant works to date comes in the form of The Accused — a courtroom drama focusing on the impact of a horrific crime on the victim and the responsibility that bystanders have to say something when they see something. Foster’s perfect for the role, showing a stoicism and determination that comes back into play a few years later in The Silence of the Lambs.
Directed by David Fincher, 2002’s Panic Room is a small-scale thriller for the ages. Foster and Kristen Stewart play a mother and a daughter trapped in their new home’s peculiar panic room after they’re subjected to a break-in. Thinking quickly, Foster and Stewart hide away and hope for the best. It’s an exciting and tense film, but Foster certainly proves she can handle it.
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
While she might be stuck in a supporting role here, Foster is no doubt an unforgettable part of Scorsese’s 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Released two years before her big break in his film Taxi Driver, Foster is seen here as Audrey, the lowest-billed member of the cast but one of the biggest stars to come out of it. It’s an interesting question — is Scorsese partially to thank for Foster’s eventual success, or is Foster partially to thank for Scorsese’s success in the 70s? Probably a little bit of both.
Little Man Tate
What’s interesting about Jodie Foster’s 1991 film Little Man Tate is that she pulls double duty here: co-directing as well as starring in the dramatic film about a mother and her incredibly intelligent son. She’s accompanied by Harry Connick Jr. and Dianne Wiest, but the film’s excellence seems to lie largely with Foster, who took on a lot by deciding to star and direct the film. It’s worth watching simply to admire her seemingly inherent talent as a director.
Taking place in 1929, Bugsy Malone is a musical about the rivalry between Fat Sam and Dandy Dan, two rival gangsters, and the titular Bugsy Malone as he tries to find love amongst the chaos. It’s goofy as can be, but Foster gives a winning performance above all else. It’s a love letter to the mob movies of yesteryear and the musical genre as a whole.
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