Natalie Portman's top 5 movie roles
Powerhouse performance moves ‘Jackie’ to the top of our rankings.
Natalie Portman already has an Oscar for “Black Swan,” but her latest performance in “Jackie” may make it a pair. The Israel-born actress, now pregnant with her second child, is winning raves for her heartbreaking portrayal of the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy in the film, opening Dec. 2. In our opinion, it’s her best work yet.
Portman studied video, audio recordings and books to research the iconic First Lady’s mannerisms and breathy voice, and impeccably designed makeup, hair and wardrobe completed her uncanny physical transformation. But it’s her fearless, visceral portrait of a woman both devastated by her husband’s horrific death and staunchly determined to define and his defend his legacy that makes the movie a must-see. Taking place in the days after JFK’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, the story is told in graphic flashbacks to the tragedy and its aftermath, as well as to happier times in the White House as Jackie gives an interview to a reporter. Director Pablo Lorrain has assembled a stellar cast that includes Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup, but it’s Portman’s movie, and she’s spectacular.
2. 'Black Swan'
Set in the cutthroat world of professional ballet, Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 psychological thriller starred Portman as a sheltered young dancer whose life spins out of control as she deals with an obsessive, overprotective mother, a twisted rivalry with another dancer, and the demands of a dual role that she’s unprepared to handle. Her descent into madness is shocking but beautifully acted, earning Portman an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and numerous other honors.
3. 'The Professional'
Portman was 13 when she made her film debut in Luc Besson’s 1994 crime drama about a hit man who reluctantly takes in an orphaned young neighbor after her family is murdered and teaches her to become his protégé so she can take revenge on the killers. As the precocious Mathilda, Portman showed surprisingly mature range and a talent that would only build with age.
4. 'V for Vendetta'
A dozen years later, Portman once again played the protégé of a dangerous man, the masked anarchist vigilante who plots to bring down the totalitarian British government in this dystopian thriller from director James McTeigue. Portman famously shaved her head to play Evey, a role that won her a Saturn Award for Best Actress from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
Portman left no doubt that she could handle a mature role in Mike Nichols’ intimate drama about a complicated love quadrangle and all the secrets, lies and betrayals that come with it. As Alice, a stripper living in London, she sported a variety of wigs and provocative outfits to arouse the interest of two men (actors Jude Law and Clive Owen) in the 2004 film. For this role, she was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
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