Although she’s most famous for singing acapella in the Pitch Perfect franchise, and probably always will be, Anna Kendrick has made a huge variety of movies. She’s starred in live-action movies and animated movies; comedies for adults and comedies for kids; action thrillers and contemplative dramas; urban romantic fantasies and Broadway musical adaptations – she’s done it all.
Kendrick has only been around for a few years – she’s one of the most recent movie stars to hit the silver screen – but she’s already done plenty of brilliant work. So, here are Anna Kendrick’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Trolls (76%)
There’s a new trend in Hollywood where big studios will adapt toy lines into movie franchises. We’ve seen movies based on Transformers, LEGO, Bratz dolls, Battleship, G.I. Joe, and there’s seemingly no end in sight. Against all odds, DreamWorks Animation’s film adaptation of Troll dolls – starring Justin Timberlake (this is the movie that he wrote “Can’t Stop the Feeling” for) and Anna Kendrick – turned out to be a really good movie. The characters are sweet and lovable, and the plot is engaging. The message at the end is predictable and overused, but at least it’s positive: go your own way, and always be yourself.
9 Pitch Perfect (80%)
The movie that made Anna Kendrick – and also Rebel Wilson – a star, Pitch Perfect is a delightful musical comedy about a bunch of college students who compete in an acapella tournament. Kay Cannon’s screenplay was technically adapted from the nonfiction book Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory.
But it’s not the inner workings of the a cappella industry that got audiences interested; it was the lovable cast of characters. Pitch Perfect was such a hit with audiences – grossing over $115 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of just $17 million – that it spawned a trilogy.
8 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (81%)
It’s a shame that Edgar Wright’s movie adaptation of the comic book Scott Pilgrim vs. the World didn’t do better at the box office, because it was just as inventive as Wright’s other movies, including the Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy. Michael Cera stars as a dorky teenager who has to fight his new girlfriend’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes. Anna Kendrick only has a supporting role, but she steals every scene. Wright would eventually get his due in the American market with his jukebox musical action comedy Baby Driver, which was such a huge hit that Sony has greenlit a sequel.
7 Drinking Buddies (83%)
Joe Swanberg is one of the leading figures in the mumblecore movement. He makes indie movies on a tiny budget with a lot of improvised dialogue. He helped to launch the careers of Greta Gerwig, Lena Dunham, and the Duplass brothers. Drinking Buddies is perhaps his biggest movie, with such stars in the cast as Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, and – you guessed it – Anna Kendrick. Drinking Buddies is about a bunch of friends who work at a craft brewery; a masterfully crafted story about complicated adult relationships in the grand tradition of Paul Mazursky’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
6 Rocket Science (84%)
This coming-of-age comedy-drama was directed by Jeffrey Blitz, who conceived the story when he was working on his spelling bee documentary Spellbound, and it tells the story of a 15-year-old kid with a stutter who decides to join the debate team when he develops a crush on his school’s star debater. An executive at HBO Films convinced Blitz to focus on the stuttering aspect, drawn from his own personal experiences as a stutterer in high school, and the finished movie is brilliant. Impressively, Anna Kendrick studied real debate strategies with a college debate coach while she was preparing for the role.
5 TIE: A Simple Favor (85%)
Based on the twisty thriller novel of the same name, A Simple Favor was director Paul Feig’s first non-comedy movie. With its story of a mysterious woman (Blake Lively) who goes missing after unexpectedly leaving her child with a fellow mom (Anna Kendrick), critics immediately drew parallels between A Simple Favor and similar female-led thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. While Feig’s background in comedy left him unprepared to helm a thriller that’s as captivating as David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, A Simple Favor is much better than the predictable The Girl on the Train.
4 TIE: End of Watch (85%)
The found footage genre is usually reserved for horror movies, but with End of Watch, David Ayer brought it to the buddy cop movie. The format is stretched a little bit, as drug dealers carry around camcorders just to give the narrative a reason to have footage of certain scenes, but it’s mostly stitched together using footage from bodycams and dashcams, so it feels realistic. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as a pair of cops on the trail of an underworld criminal organization. It’s not a typical action movie – the violence is shocking and brutal, and it works really well.
3 ParaNorman (88%)
Laika has been quietly establishing itself as one of the greatest animation houses in the world, consistently turning out Pixar-level masterworks with their own distinctive style of stop-motion animation. ParaNorman is a horror comedy for kids about a zombie uprising in a small Massachusetts town. The town has been cursed by a witch, and only Norman can break the curse using his ability to speak to ghosts.
The only problem is that he’s grounded. ParaNorman is actually really spooky, despite being a family film, and it’s also hilarious. Anna Kendrick and Kodi Smit-McPhee star alongside such revered voice talent as Jeff Garlin, Leslie Mann, John Goodman, and Alex Borstein.
2 Up in the Air (91%)
Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air stars George Clooney as a man who flies from city to city, just to fire employees. He collects frequent flyer miles, and begins to wonder if he needs something more meaningful in his life as he engages in a romance with Vera Farmiga and connects with his new co-worker Anna Kendrick (who has a tougher time firing people than he does). Just like in his other movies, such as Juno and Young Adult, Reitman deftly balances Up in the Air’s two disparate tones, moving from a funny moment to a sad moment, then back to a funny moment.
1 50/50 (93%)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this comedy-drama as a young man who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and has to face the possibility that it might kill him. It was based on the personal experiences of its screenwriter, Will Reiser, who was similarly diagnosed with cancer and faced the same crisis. Seth Rogen co-stars as Gordon-Levitt’s best friend, who helps him through the experience, and Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard also appear. The comedy-drama genre is saturated with movies that fail on both counts – they’re not funny or sad, let alone both – but 50/50 balances the two as well as its title would suggest (the title is actually based on the protagonist’s odds of survival).