Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Nicole Kidman was one of the biggest stars in the world. Then, she sort of slipped off Hollywood’s radar, but she never went away. Whether she was starring in a family-friendly, yet very chilling haunted house thriller or portraying literary legend Virginia Woolf, Kidman never failed to turn critics’ heads when she did make movies throughout the ‘00s. In the ‘10s, she’s been making a comeback with major roles in James Wan’s DCEU entry Aquaman and the psychological thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Here are Nicole Kidman’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 TIE: The Hours (80%)
Stephen Daldry directed this critically adored film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Nicole Kidman stars alongside Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore in the story of three women from different generations who are linked together by the brilliant novel Mrs. Dalloway, which was written by Virginia Woolf. Streep plays a New Yorker named Clarissa Vaughan, who is the embodiment of Mrs. Dalloway as she plans a party in 2001; Moore plays an L.A. housewife who escapes her mundane life by reading the book in 1951; and Kidman plays Virginia Woolf herself, writing the novel in 1923.
9 TIE: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (80%)
Yorgos Lanthimos followed up his curious sci-fi meditation on the future of dating, The Lobster, with a jaw-dropping psychological thriller, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Colin Farrell stars as a heart surgeon who befriends a teenager named Martin, played by Barry Keoghan. It becomes apparent that Martin's dad was killed in a botched surgery performed by Farrell’s character, and he’s hanging out with the kid to make up for it. He introduces the kid to his family — including his wife, played by Nicole Kidman — and before too long, the family members all develop mysterious illnesses and the kid’s sinister intentions become terrifyingly clear.
8 Dead Calm (82%)
Philip Noyce directed this Australian-made psychological thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill as a couple on a boat who come across a mysterious stranger drifting in the ocean, played by Billy Zane, who claims to have abandoned a sinking ship. As the plot develops, it becomes increasingly apparent that the stranger is a psychopath who might not even have been in the ocean for the reason he claims. This movie became the basis of a segment in one of The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, in which Homer and Marge took the place of the couple on the boat.
7 TIE: The Family Fang (83%)
Nicole Kidman acted as a producer on The Family Fang, in which she starred alongside Jason Bateman, who also directed the movie. When this much on-camera talent is working offscreen, there tends to be a strong focus on the cast’s performances in the final film, and for this story, that was key. The script was written by critically acclaimed playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, and it’s a mysterious comedy-drama about a couple of siblings who go in search of their famous missing parents. When all is said and done, The Family Fang is a powerful portrait of a dysfunctional family.
6 TIE: The Others (83%)
There are few horror movies that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The scary ones are hard-R, like Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining, and the family-friendly ones aren’t usually scary, like Scooby-Doo and The House With a Clock in Its Walls. However, The Others is that rare spooky movie with a PG-13 rating that manages to scare the pants off both adults and kids without crossing a trauma-inducing line.
It’s a haunted house movie about a family who move out to the coast during World War II. Nicole Kidman stars as a mother who fears the mysterious things happening in her new home.
5 Lion (85%)
Nicole Kidman received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Lion (and the movie also received Oscar nods for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Dev Patel, and Best Adapted Screenplay). The film was directed by Garth Davis in a triumphant directorial debut. Lion tells the true story of Saroo Brierley, who was separated from his family as a kid in Burhanpur, India, and then, 25 years later, set out to find them. Of the film’s noted fans, Salman Rushdie said he hoped that Lion would win in every Oscar category it was nominated for.
4 Rabbit Hole (86%)
David Lindsay-Abaire adapted his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name into the screenplay for Rabbit Hole. It’s a really harrowing, powerful story about a couple whose lives get turned upside down by the death of their son in an accident. Losing a child is just about the worst thing that can happen to someone, so to begin a story with that is pretty bold.
Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play the grieving couple, who go through a heartbreaking series of emotions. The two actors make the movie work with their troubled portrayals of their characters and uneasy onscreen chemistry.
3 To Die For (88%)
Gus Van Sant made the fascinating decision to direct the crime caper To Die For as a mockumentary. Nicole Kidman stars as an aspiring TV personality who is making a documentary about teenagers to get her name out there. What her subjects are unaware of is her sinister ulterior motive. Kidman’s job was to balance the film’s very disparate styles, cutting from dramatic scenes to darkly humorous monologues to scripted interviews, both comic and tragic. To bring all these very different tones and styles together, Kidman had to really commit to the character of Suzanne Stone Maretto, and she really did.
2 Flirting (96%)
Flirting is a spiritual sequel of sorts to The Year My Voice Broke, as writer-director John Duigan recast actor Noah Taylor in the role of Danny Embling. Danny is a character that Duigan based on himself as the lead of an autobiographical trilogy of films by Duigan that he never completed. After the release of Flirting, he never got around to making the third installment, and he probably never will. Funnily enough, Duigan wrote the script for Flirting before he wrote the script for The Year My Voice Broke, despite the fact that the former is set after the latter.
1 Paddington (97%)
No one expected this live-action movie about a CGI Paddington Bear to be any good, let alone near-perfect. Ben Whishaw provides the lead character’s voice, as he comes to England from Peru and stays with a family. It’s a bit like a family-friendly alternative to Ted, dropping a little computer-generated bear into everyday situations and letting crazy things happen, like a bath overflowing down the stairs. Nicole Kidman played the villain in the movie, who wanted to capture the titular bear for evil reasons. Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins played the nice couple who took Paddington in when he needed a place to stay.