In the year 1994, 13-year-old Natalie Portman made her film debut in the French action thriller titled Léon: The Professional, wherein she played the character of a vengeful child assassin named Mathilda Lando. With such a demanding role as her first acting project, it was lucid to everyone that she would go a long way in the acting industry. For more than 2 decades since her first role, Natalie has lived up to expectations in every ramification as far as acting goes. The actress has recorded an appreciable number of works in both film and television and hopefully more to come. While you can be easily overwhelmed looking at the number of films she has starred in and not knowing which to watch, here are 10 Natalie Portman movies you must see at least once.
Best Natalie Portman Movies
1. Léon: The Professional (1994)
When we inferred that Natalie Portman was an instant stand out in her very first acting role, it was no bluff. The movie has an 8.6 rating on IMDb and looking at the storyline and ensemble that worked on the film, it couldn’t have been better in any way imaginable. In the Box office, Léon: The Professional was also a remarkable success having made $46.1 million from a budget of $16 million.
The film which starred Jean Reno as Léon Montana (hitman), Natalie Portman as Mathilda Lando, Gary Oldman as Norman Stansfield, and Danny Aiello as Tony, saw Mathilda get trained by Léon in his line of profession. This came as a result of her decision to revenge the death of her family members killed by corrupt DEA agent (Norman Stansfield) during a raid of their home after he had a fall out with Mathilda’s father who all the while was helping him stash cocaine in his home but secretly taking out some cuts for himself. Several intriguing scenes played out as the story developed and in the end, Mathilda achieved her purpose and went back to having a normal life with the money Léon gave Tony to keep for her.
2. V for Vendetta (2005)
With scenes of intense action, a compelling storyline and overall inspiring theme, V for Vendetta stands out as one of the best Natalie Portman movies everyone should see. When you do, you are bound to see it a second time and even more. To tell you why this is a masterpiece, a lot of work was put into it starting from the scriptwriting to forming the crew and ultimately, the filming of the project itself. Natalie went the extra length of working with dialectologist Barbara Berker to master the English accent which the role demanded of her. Also, she studied the autobiography of Menachem Begin, the film The Weather Underground, and even had her hair shaved in a scene of the movie.
The 2005 dystopian political thriller film was set in 2032, where an anarchist and freedom fighter who goes by the alias V (played by Hugo Weaving) plots an overthrow of the existing tyrannical British government with the help of a woman, Evey Hammond, played by Natalie Portman. The duo later achieves their aim though at the expense of V’s life.
V for Vendetta was a big success in the Box office, with a budget of $54 million, it returned about $132.5 million. On IMDb, the film has a commendable rating of 8.2.
3. Black Swan (2010)
Natalie Portman starred in Black Swan as the lead character Nina Sayers (The Swan Queen) and was able to record a pitch-perfect performance. Her character was a 28-year-old dancer in a New York City ballet company who is an embodiment of the typical things that makes a human. She is in a constant battle with herself which prevents her from doing what she wishes to do. She gets preyed on, abused, and manipulated to the gains of others.
Other stars in the American psychological horror film are Mila Kunis as Lily (The Black Swan), Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy (The Gentleman), Barbara Hershey as Erica Sayers (The Queen), and Winona Ryder as Elizabeth “Beth” MacIntyre (The Dying Swan).
With a budget of $13 million, this film was able to return a whopping $329.4 million in the Box office. It also did well in ratings as it pulled-off 8/10 on IMDb. In addition to that, it won Natalie a slew of awards in 2010 like:
- Academy Awards (Black Swan)
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (Best Film Actress in a Leading Role )
- Screen Actors Guild Awards (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture)
- Independent Spirit Awards (Best Female Lead)
- Golden Globe Awards (Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama)
- Teen Choice Awards
- Austin Film Critics Association Awards
- Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
- Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
- Critics’ Choice Awards
- Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards
- Saturn Awards.
Looking at the long list of these awards, Black Swan is certainly one of the best Natalie Portman movies everyone should see.
4. Closer (2004)
This American romantic drama film is another fine work that has Natalie Portman as a member of its cast. In the film, our cynosure plays the role of Alice Ayres (Jane Jones) who meets a stranger, Jude Law as Dan Woolf on the street after she was knockdown by a taxi while staring at him across the other end of the street. The two at that instant became friends and later, lovers. A series of events that happened, however, saw Dan having interest in other women which of course left Alice heartbroken. Their relationship ultimately crumbles and both parties part ways.
Closer received a lot of positive reviews from critics after it was released and can be rightfully described as a success. Thus, it is also one of the best Natalie Portman’s movies any fan of romantic drama films must watch. Moneywise, Closer returned $115 million from a budget of $27 million.
5. Brothers (2009)
In 2009, Natalie Portman starred in Brothers as Grace Cahill alongside Tobey Maguire as Capt. Sam Cahill, Jake Gyllenhaal as Tommy Cahill, Sam Shepard as Hank Cahill, Mare Winningham as Elsie Cahill and others. The film tells the story of Sam Cahill, a U.S Marine captain who gets deployed in his 4th mission to Afghanistan. While performing his duties there, he gets involved in a helicopter crash which was believed to have killed all of his crew but in reality, he survived the crash with another soldier in his team. They were thereafter taken captive by the Taliban who subject them to severe torture but after some time, he gets rescued and returns home.
While he was away, his brother Tommy almost had a dalliance with his wife Grace. Cahil who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder begins to suspect that his brother Tommy slept with his wife and even pulled a gun at him and also contemplated suicide. However, for the intervention of the police and pleas from his wife and brother, he surrenders and gets admitted to a mental hospital. There, he opened up to his wife and tell her the source of his troubles.
6. Thor (2011)
When the powerful but arrogant prince of Asgard played by Chris Hemsworth as Thor gets cast out of Asgard down to Midgard (Earth), he not only becomes one of the finest defenders of humans both also pick a love interest in a woman; a scientist played by Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. This Marvel American superhero film also starred other casts like Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hiddleston, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings, and others.
With an IMDb rating of 7 and an audience rating of 76% on Rotten tomatoes, Thor definitely stands out as one of the best Natalie Portman movies. Finance-wise, the film was also a commercial success as it made $449.3 million from a budget of $150 million.
7. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
After you must have seen Thor, you can’t resist seeing Thor: The Dark World as the story continued in the 2013 sequel of the Marvel American superhero film. Natalie Portman still as Jane Foster is brought to Asgard by her lover Thor after she got infected with a mysterious energy. In Asgard, Jane is obviously a fish out of the water just like Thor was on earth. The scenes that played out as the storyline developed are better watched than explained as every scene of the film is intriguing and will leave you agog to see what happens next. Much of the casts from the previous installment were retained with a couple of additions like Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Tadanobu Asano, Rene Russo, and more.
Thor: The Dark World was made with a slightly more expensive budget of $152.7 million, but it was a huge success as it made even more profit in the Box office, returning $644.6 million. As per its rating, it has 6.9/10 on IMDb while on Rotten Tomatoes, the 2013 American superhero film has an audience score of 76%.
8. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Next on our list of best Natalie Portman movies is this Justin Chadwick (director) 2008 historical romantic drama film, The Other Boleyn Girl. The film had an ensemble of talents like Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Eric Bana as Henry VIII of England, Jim Sturgess as George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn the lead character, and others. The historical film tells the story of two sisters (Mary Boleyn and Anne Boleyn) who fight for the affection of King Henry VIII.
With an IMDb rating of 6.7, The Other Boleyn Girl which was produced by Alison Owen will be a worthwhile film to watch if you are a fan of historical romantic drama films. Looking at the ensemble and the history the film tells its story, it stands out as one of the best Natalie Portman’s works.
9. Jackie (2016)
This film tells the story of the assassination of John F. Kennedy the 35th President of the United States from the perspective of his wife Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy played by Natalie Portman. A week after the assassination, Jackie had an interview with a journalist who came to inquire about the assassination and how she and her family have been coping. She made revelations about the events prior to the assassination and how she felt she could have done something to protect her husband. The film went on to show scenes of the late president’s funeral and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald on live television.
Jackie like other Natalie Portman movies was a success in the Box office. It made $25.1 million from a budget of $9 million. On IMDb, it is rated 6.7 and considering its historical nature, it won’t amount to a waste of time if you see the film. The cast did a very good job with Natalie in the lead role.
10. No Strings Attached (2011)
Last but not the least on our compilation of the best Natalie Portman movies is No Strings Attached, an American romantic comedy film which starred Natalie Portman as Dr. Emma K. Kurtzman and Ashton Kutcher as Adam Franklin in lead roles. In the film, the duo first met as teenagers in a summer camp and a few times as an adult but never kept in touch with each other. However, an unfortunate event which devastated Adam finds him sleeping over at Emma’s place after he got drunk and called her on phone the previous night. From that instant, they began a friendship but ends up wanting more from each other. In the end, you will find out what became of their hard to resist love for each other.
The film was a Box office success like others listed here, seeing that it made $149.2 million from a budget of $25 million.