One of the most accomplished actresses of her generation, Jennifer Lawrence has quite the resume. At just 28, she is already a four-time Oscar nominee with one win, and she has established a career reminiscent of the new Hollywood movement. The standard seems to be doing big budget superhero movies while doing smaller, indie fare on the side in-between tentpoles. She’s done just that with her work in The Hunger Games, the franchise that made her a star. While balancing those films, Lawrence tackled dramas like Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. Even in her brief filmography, she still has many films that stand out from the pack.
Silver Linings Playbook
Arguably her best performance, and one of the best films of 2012, Lawrence portrays Tiffany opposite Bradley Cooper in this dramedy. At that point, it was Cooper’s dramatic breakout after being mostly known for comedies. As for Lawrence, she took home the Best Actress trophy at the Oscars for her work here. In Silver Linings Playbook, Cooper and Lawrence peel back the curtain on mental health and the struggles in a film that brilliantly portrays their personalities.
The franchise that launched Lawrence into the stratosphere was indeed The Hunger Games. Ultimately, it was the first of two franchises that would announce her to a mainstream audience. The gold standard for the young adult adaptation trend, this franchise offered rich drama, and some thrilling action set pieces to boot. It offered Lawrence a chance to bring real gravitas to an action franchise.
In the best film of the series, Lawrence gives her deepest and most interesting performance in the four-film franchise. With things coming to a head, Lawrence is great in the role finishing out an emotional arc. The series comes to a satisfying conclusion with a steadfast pace and grim look into the future of this world.
Debra Granik has found more success with her 2018 film, Leave No Trace, but she and Lawrence burst onto the scene with this acclaimed 2010 film. The movie earned Lawrence an Oscar nomination, her first. In her role as a young woman struggling to keep her family together, Lawrence gave audiences an early glimpse of the immense talent she has.
Further establishing her roots, Lawrence’s turn in American Hustle is charming and funny. Her chemistry with Bradley Cooper is palpable. Now having worked together twice, Cooper and Lawrence give off an old Hollywood charm. David O. Russell guides the movie with assured direction. One of the best films of 2013, the movie earned her yet another Oscar nomination.
Arguably the most controversial and divisive film of 2017, Darren Aronofsky’s highly contemplative film sees Lawrence at her best. Commanding the screen for all the films runtime and through all the chaos, most agree Lawrence’s performance is superb even if the movie doesn’t grab everyone. It is an intense, psychological thriller with a lot to say. Overall, even if the broader message and style of the film doesn’t connect with you, Lawrence’s work here is enough to keep your attention.
Lawrence’s next big franchise after The Hunger Games proved to work out just fine as well. Stepping into the role of Mystique, Lawrence brought a depth to the character of Mystique and added nicely to the talented cast. X-Men: First Class proved to be an ambitious step for the franchise going back to the young days of the X-Men. Lawrence and James McAvoy have wonderful chemistry and the film gave a fresh look to the franchise.
In her second film as Mystique, Lawrence not only has more to do but she delivers a legitimately great performance. The film’s greatness hinges on Lawrence’s work here. She serves as the films emotional core. Her performance in Days of Future Past, is layered, complex and the movie overall is among the upper echelon of this franchise.
Though not her strongest collaboration with David O. Russell, Joy finds Lawrence committed to the role none the less. Tied up in a rich family drama, she plays Joy Mangano, the creator of the Miracle Mop. Her work in the movie is further testament to her ability to light up the screen even when the material doesn’t necessarily work. It’s hard to blame her for re-teaming with the filmmaker who directed her to two Oscar nominations and one win as she earned her third nomination under Russell here.
In her most recent film, the commitment is once again there for Lawrence. In this stylish and slick spy thriller, she reunites with Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence. Though the film didn’t receive much praise on the critical side of things, she still drew some kudos for her work here as well. Always willing to take challenging projects, Lawrence shines above the rest of the talented cast here. Above all, she further proves her ability to blend into any role she inhabits.