There’s been a lot of talk in Hollywood about who might eventually dethrone Meryl Streep as the queen of acting, and it’s fair to say that Jennifer Lawrence is a strong candidate. Lawrence got her start on a TBS sitcom starring Bill Engvall, but she’s gone on to become the second-youngest recipient of the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Her roles in blockbuster franchises like The Hunger Games and X-Men have helped to make her the highest grossing female action star of all time, while she’s found plenty of time for smaller arthouse movies. So, here are Jennifer Lawrence’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 mother! (69%)
The mixed Rotten Tomatoes score assigned to Darren Aronofsky’s mother! is what inspired Martin Scorsese’s crusade against the review aggregator site. In Scorsese’s view, mother! was a masterpiece that deserved to have a higher score (although that’s how percentages work – 69% of critics agree with Scorsese, 31% don’t).
Mainstream audiences weren’t ready for mother!, which was marketed by the studio as a straightforward horror movie, but turned out to be an allegory for the Bible as well as the consumption of women in a modern society and the destruction of the environment at the hands of humanity. Javier Bardem’s husband character was supposed to be God, while Jennifer Lawrence’s wife character was supposed to be Mother Earth. A broken sink represented climate change.
9 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (70%)
The final movie in The Hunger Games saga didn’t have much to do with the titular ceremony at all. It was all about a gargantuan uprising in Panem, and Katniss’ attempts to un-brainwash Peeta. Some fans have suggested that Mockingjay shouldn’t have been split into two films.
It led to subplots being embellished and some scenes that didn’t necessarily even need to be in a film adaptation getting dragged out or altered. The studio was just following the trend of splitting the final book into two parts set by Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn. Having said that, as the series’ big, action-packed finale, Mockingjay – Part 2 is pretty good, if a little anticlimactic.
8 Like Crazy (71%)
In this geopolitical romantic drama, Felicity Jones stars as a British exchange student in the U.S. who falls in love with an American student, played by Anton Yelchin, but is later denied re-entry into the U.S. when she stays there for longer than her student visa will legally allow.
A pre-fame Jennifer Lawrence appears in a supporting role as Samantha, a colleague of Yelchin’s character who he begins dating when his distance from Jones’ character becomes too much. While the cast’s performances were praised, the film’s plot was deemed far-fetched and unrealistic. Despite this, the critical reception was mostly positive, as reflected by this “fresh” Rotten Tomatoes score.
7 The Hunger Games (84%)
The first film in The Hunger Games trilogy (or rather, quadrilogy, since the studio insisted on cutting Mockingjay in half to make twice as much money) came as a breath of fresh air. The filmgoing market had been flooded with YA adaptations in the wake of Twilight’s success, and this was the first one that wasn’t just a pale imitation.
Sure, it was about teenage heroes caught in a love triangle in a bleak genre environment, but with its brutal violence and premise of children being forced to murder other children for rich people’s entertainment, this was more Battle Royale meets Black Mirror than Twilight.
6 X-Men: First Class (86%)
After Brett Ratner’s abysmal X-Men: The Last Stand all but killed the franchise, Fox decided to reboot it with a prequel set in the 1960s. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were out as an older Professor X and Magneto, while James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were in as their younger selves.
Jennifer Lawrence was cast to play the younger version of Mystique. In retrospect, X-Men: First Class was the first nail in the franchise’s coffin, sending it on an eight-year ski slope into the clutches of Walt Disney, but as a comic book-y take on the Cuban Missile Crisis, it’s pretty compelling.
5 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (89%)
Like most sequels, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire can be read as a rehash of the original. After taking part in one competitive televised fight to the death in the woods, Katniss and Peeta were made to compete in another one, because the winners from a bunch of previous Hunger Games tournaments have to compete against each other in another Hunger Games tournament.
However, with its new characters of varying ages and combat experience, Catching Fire managed to both differentiate itself from the original and even improve on it. Jennifer Lawrence’s grasp of her character was stronger in the sequel, too.
4 X-Men: Days of Future Past (90%)
As proven by Men in Black 3, the 2009 Star Trek reboot, and most recently, Avengers: Endgame, when a franchise has written itself into a corner, the solution is obvious: time travel. After the release of X-Men: First Class, Fox found a way to bring back the old cast that fans missed, while keeping the new cast that critics had taken to.
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in the near future, with mutants enslaved by robots. Wolverine is their last hope, so Kitty Pryde sends his consciousness back in time into his ‘70s-era self. Considering it was the desperate last resort of a struggling franchise, Days of Future Past is a surprisingly brilliant movie.
3 Silver Linings Playbook (92%)
A romantic movie without the schmaltzy, conventional trappings of Hollywood tradition, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper as a bipolar man reeling from a breakup who is released from a stint at a mental institution. He finds a creative outlet – and, in due time, love – when he meets a dancer played by Jennifer Lawrence. Robert De Niro provides fantastic support as Cooper’s father, who like any dad, is superstitious about football games.
Lawrence reportedly auditioned for the movie over Skype from her parents’ house, which is a fun, humble behind-the-scenes story about how she went on to win her first Oscar.
2 American Hustle (93%)
David O. Russell’s darkly comic retelling of the FBI’s Abscam scandal American Hustle is an unfortunate example of style over substance. The movie has all the flash and energy and production design of a Martin Scorsese-helmed crime epic, but its plot isn’t anywhere near as exciting as those of the films that influenced it, like Goodfellas.
Still, the ensemble cast of A-listers – including Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale (in one of his many roles that have required a drastic weight gain), and of course, Jennifer Lawrence – provide terrific performances, and it may be a movie that favors style over substance, but it has an impeccable style.
1 Winter’s Bone (94%)
This chilly thriller stars a young Jennifer Lawrence in her first major film starring role. She plays a teenager who lives in the Ozarks and searches for her missing father in an attempt to save her family from being evicted and left homeless.
For such a young actor (at the time), she gives a stellar performance. The movie was adored by critics, being nominated for four Academy Awards and taking the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and it’s easy to see why – the movie has a rawness and an honesty that is often lacking in movies that claim to be grounded and gritty.