Although she rose to fame in the ‘00s with a string of affable high school comedies, Emma Stone’s career has taken her far beyond tales of teen angst. In the last couple of years, she has consistently starred in movies that were adored by the Academy’s voters, whether it be a single-take dark comedy about a has-been movie star or a historical love triangle about three women in Queen Anne’s Britain.
Stone has always brought the same degree of commitment to her performances, no matter who she was playing. So, here are Emma Stone’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 The Amazing Spider-Man (72%)
It’s surprising to see what a high Rotten Tomatoes score this movie has, given the reputation it’s gone on to earn in the fanboy community. For starters, a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise just half a decade after Tobey Maguire ended his tenure in epic fashion felt entirely unnecessary.
Marc Webb’s movie promised to be the darker, grittier origin of Spidey that would give audiences the untold story, but every change it made to Sam Raimi’s original made it worse. Emma Stone played Gwen Stacy, the love interest who replaced Mary Jane from Raimi’s trilogy, and she was one of the best parts of the movie.
9 The Help (76%)
Although it was criticized for its “white savior” narrative, The Help was still a huge box office hit and got showered with Academy Award nominations. Emma Stone stars as an aspiring journalist during the Civil Rights Movement era who attempts to crack into the world of news reporting by writing about the racism faced by black maids working for white families in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963.
Stone might technically be billed as the star of the film, but there’s no denying that supporting players Viola Davis and particularly Octavia Spencer, who gave an Oscar-winning turn, stole the movie from her.
8 Crazy, Stupid, Love (78%)
This star-studded romantic drama was a heck of a lot better than its premise would suggest. On the surface, it seemed like it would just be yet another Hollywood love story. However, it actually begins with two people falling out of love. Julianne Moore confesses to her husband Steve Carell that she cheated on him with her co-worker Kevin Bacon.
So, a newly single Carell becomes attracted to Marisa Tomei and gets trained in the art of picking up women by a slick, single Ryan Gosling, who is slowly falling for Emma Stone. It should be no surprise that it’s a great movie, really – the script by This is Us creator Dan Fogelman had to be good enough to attract all those big stars. Every plotline is juggled masterfully and the movie ends with a delightful twist.
7 TIE: Easy A (85%)
Classic literature has been mined for a number of teen comedies. The old-timey parlor and social structure makes interesting fodder for high school-based stories. Clueless is based on Jane Austen’s Emma, She’s All That is based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, 10 Things I Hate About You is based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew etc.
Easy A, Emma Stone’s first major starring vehicle, is a great example of this. It’s a loose adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s timeless novel The Scarlet Letter, and with a strong grasp of its source material, it’s just as great as any of those other high school-set classics.
6 TIE: Battle of the Sexes (85%)
This dramatization of the legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs may have bombed at the box office, but it was praised by critics. Emma Stone and Steve Carell reteamed, having previously starred together in Crazy, Stupid, Love, as the lead duo.
Stone, in particular, received praise from critics, with some reviewers calling her performance the best of her career. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who had previously collaborated with Carell on Little Miss Sunshine, helmed the movie. Battle of the Sexes received no Oscar nominations, but the leads did each receive a nod for a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award.
5 Superbad (87%)
This was the movie that made Emma Stone’s career. It was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg when they were 13 years old, based on their own lives growing up in Canada, but it wouldn’t get made for over a decade. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera star as Seth and Evan, respectively, and they made a lovable duo in the lead roles.
Stone’s character Jules was a love interest for Seth, and the one who was throwing the party that the guys spent the movie trying to attend. What makes the movie so endearing is the sweetness underneath its crassness.
4 Zombieland (90%)
Emma Stone will reprise her role as the post-apocalyptic trickster Wichita in a sequel to Zombieland, which will be release later this year, a full decade after the original was released. The fact that the sequel is so highly anticipated, despite arriving so long after the first one, is a testament to the first one’s appeal.
It really struck a chord with audiences, being both a terrifying story about a world overrun with hordes of the undead and a hilarious comedy about a mismatched quartet of lovable characters. Hopefully, the sequel will be able to live up to the original, but those chances are slim.
3 TIE: La La Land (91%)
Whiplash director Damien Chazelle went back behind the camera to prove that he wasn’t a one-trick pony with his passion project La La Land. It’s a throwback to the glitzy, flashy musicals that flooded the multiplex during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play a pair of star-crossed lovers in the movie.
Their romance is not as convenient or happy as the romantic storylines of other musicals, as Chazelle drew a couple of complex characters who each want different things and then set the phenomenally talented Gosling and Stone in front of the camera to bring them to life. It’s a beautiful movie in every sense of the word.
2 TIE: Birdman (91%)
Shot and edited to look like one continuous take, Birdman is a dark comedy with an emphasis on “dark.” It’s the story of Riggan Thomson, a has-been actor who used to play a superhero and is now haunted by his most famous role.
Michael Keaton plays Riggan, while Emma Stone co-stars as his daughter, who is working with him on a stage adaptation of a Raymond Chandler story on Broadway. Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, and Zach Galifianakis also appear in the movie in supporting roles, but it’s Keaton’s movie, and the character who’s closest to his is his daughter, played by Stone.
1 The Favourite (93%)
It’s fair to say that Emma Stone hit the peak of her career late last year when she starred alongside Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz in Yorgos Lanthimos’ historical drama The Favourite. The movie is a darkly comic romantic tragedy about Queen Anne’s love triangle with a Duchess and a servant.
Given the fact that the historical records of this period are sparse and inconsistent, a lot of guesswork was involved in Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara’s screenplay. Still, the personalities of these characters come through very clearly, and this is mostly thanks to how the three leads play them.