Hollywood is increasingly moving away from the traditional idea of the movie star, as actors are being replaced by superheroes and franchises and remakes as the main draw that gets audiences in theaters. However, there are a small handful of actors out there who are ensuring that movie stars don’t fade away.
One of them is Amy Adams, who is such a renowned actor that even when she’s making out with Superman in a bathtub, we don’t see her as Lois Lane – we still see her as Amy Adams. Here are Amy Adams’ 10 best movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Charlie Wilson’s War (82%)
Mike Nichols’ final film before his death, Charlie Wilson’s War was mainly anticipated among the moviegoing community for its well-matched trio of stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s a biopic of the Congressman who got involved in the Afghan-Soviet War when he saw the terrible things that were going on there.
Despite the A-list trio at its center, Charlie Wilson’s War has some big names in small supporting roles, too, from Emily Blunt to John Slattery to, yes, Amy Adams. Aaron Sorkin’s script takes the dry material and makes it digestible with humor and pathos.
9 The Master (85%)
Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed this epic drama about a religious cult that tries to recruit an ex-soldier who’s feeling lost in post-war America. It was Anderson’s cinematic take on the Church of Scientology, and while the movie didn’t make a big splash at the box office, it will hopefully go on to be remembered as one of the finest and most insightful movies of this generation, because that’s exactly what it is.
Amy Adams played the wife of the cult leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, while Joaquin Phoenix took the lead role as the war veteran targeted by them.
8 Junebug (87%)
Most movies set in quaint small towns are planned and outlined by studio executives who live in gold-plated mansions on the outskirts of big cities. But the occasional indie delight comes along that really understands these little tightknit communities. Phil Morrison’s Junebug is a prime example of that, following a snobbish Chicago art dealer who travels to a tiny North Carolina town to meet her new in-laws.
The movie presents the culture clash between the upper-class Chicagoan and the lower-middle-class North Carolinians. Amy Adams was the breakout star of the movie, and received an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
7 The Fighter (91%)
David O. Russell directed this biopic of boxing champion Micky Ward, which starred Mark Wahlberg as Ward and an emaciated Christian Bale (who went on to win an Academy Award for his performance) as his half-brother and trainer Dicky Eklund. Amy Adams gave an Oscar-nominated turn as Ward’s girlfriend, and later wife.
What drew Russell to Adams was her desire to play against type, which he correctly predicted would lead to a fantastic performance. What sets The Fighter apart from other boxing biopics like Ali and Raging Bull is that, rather than tell a rise-and-fall story, The Fighter tells a fall-and-rise story.
6 TIE: American Hustle (93%)
Influenced by the stylish crime epics of Martin Scorsese, David O. Russell directed this darkly comic dramatization of the FBI’s Abscam operation. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were planning a movie based on the investigation back in the ‘80s, which probably would’ve placed more emphasis on the comedic side of things than Russell ended up doing.
The problem with American Hustle is that it defines the term “style over substance,” but at least its style is engaging. Plus, its ensemble cast featuring Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and of course, Amy Adams, give terrific performances in their true-to-life roles.
5 TIE: Enchanted (93%)
This satirical take on a typical Disney princess saw an animated princess escape from the movie world and enter into modern-day New York, where she was played in live-action by Amy Adams. The movie's premise is sort of a mix of Cinderella and Elf, and it’s just as fun and earnest and sweet as that would suggest. It’s certainly a lot better than anyone expected it to be.
We’ve been waiting to see a sequel to this movie for over a decade now, with the studio continually promising to deliver one and failing to meet the slated release date. Fans still have their fingers crossed.
4 TIE: Arrival (94%)
Usually, when a Hollywood movie gets made about alien spaceships coming to Earth, there’s a scene where the White House gets blown up or London gets decimated. However, Denis Villeneuve’s take on this sci-fi subgenre was a lot subtler and more cerebral than that.
Instead, the alien ships arrived at different spots around the planet and simply wanted to communicate with us. So, lingual expert Amy Adams was recruited to figure out their language. The movie is quite slow-paced, which might put off certain moviegoers, but its final twist that ties everything together makes the whole thing more than worth it.
3 TIE: Her (94%)
With technology becoming an increasing presence in our lives, movies like Her are important documents of our times. It’s a romantic drama about an introvert played by Joaquin Phoenix who falls in love with a Siri-like virtual assistant on his smartphone, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
In an episode of South Park or a Judd Apatow, this premise would probably be wrung for laughs at the characters' expense. But in the hands of Jonze, it’s actually an honest critique of modern relationships, and these characters develop into real people before our eyes. It’s no wonder that Her was a hit with Academy voters.
2 TIE: Catch Me If You Can (95%)
Steven Spielberg’s hilarious caper Catch Me If You Can tells the life story of infamous con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. The movie glorifies Abagnale’s crimes, but since he scammed airlines and banks out of money and not regular joes, the moviegoing public was on board with it.
As a cat-and-mouse thriller, the film focuses on Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent hopelessly searching for him. Amy Adams plays the girl who eventually ensnared Abagnale’s heart when he started working as a doctor and fell for her. It’s one of the early-career turns that made her a star.
1 TIE: The Muppets (95%)
Amy Adams played the female lead role alongside Jason Segel in the 2011 reboot of The Muppets franchise. It was a self-aware movie, with a plot concerning Segel and Adams’ efforts to get the cast of The Muppet Show back together. Thematically, this is a movie about identity and figuring out who you are.
Walter, the new Muppet introduced in this movie (which was directed by Flight of the Conchords mainstay James Bobin) has a show-stopping musical number where he questions whether he’s a human or a Muppet. The movie that should’ve failed miserably ended up succeeding admirably.