Scarlett Johansson is an American actress who has earned her place in Hollywood. She is not only known for her appearances on the big and small screens but also for the overall impact she has made in the industry. She is one of the actresses who has become a big part of Hollywood and she was able to achieve this through talent and hard work; for this reason, Scarlett Johansson movies tend to do well at the box office. Her performance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Natasha Romanoff – who is also known as Black Widow – is one that introduced her to a different type of audience, where the sex appeal she has always been identified with was not out front and center.
The iconic actress was born to an architect father and an art historian mother on the 22nd of November 1984. The dream of going into acting is one that she nursed from childhood and did everything to bring it to fruition. One of the first steps she took was attending Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained to act in commercials but her true love was for proper acting so she decided to commit fully to acting in film and on the stage.
Johansson has been able to maintain a certain level of success in her career where she has been ranked among the highest paid actors and actresses for more than three years. She owes this success to the versatility of the roles she has taken on. Regardless of this, her performances have ranged between great, fair and terrible. This list is a ranking that shows Scarlett Johansson movies – from the best to the worst.
Scarlett Johansson Movies and TV Shows – Best to Worst
Lost in Translation (2003)
This Scarlett Johansson movie sees the actress take on the role of a woman in an unhappy marriage, who is on a trip to Tokyo with her husband – played by Giovanni Ribisi. While in Tokyo, she meets an older man (Bill Murray) who is also having issues in his marriage. Johansson was nineteen when the film was released in 2003, regardless of this she was able to hold her own opposite Bill Murray, who at the time, was already a seasoned actor.
As an otherwise simple movie with no groundbreaking special effects, this movie had an interesting plot and received acclaim for the subject matter it handled and way the movie was able to relay its message. Scarlett Johansson’s performance was praised when the film was released and she still receives applause for how well she interpreted the restlessness and dissatisfaction of the character she was playing. For her performance, Johansson won a number of awards including the BAFTA for Best Actress.
For an actress to effectively convey the emotions their character is supposed to be feeling at different points in time, she not only needs verbal communication but communicating with her body is also important; this is why voice acting can be a difficult thing to pull off. Scarlett Johansson, in this movie, is able to convey the feelings of desire, longing, and companionship – simply with her voice. She plays Samantha, an artificial intelligence (AI) operating system that provides virtual assistance to Theodore Twombly, who is played by Joaquin Phoenix. In the course of their interactions, Phoenix’s character falls in love with Samantha.
The brilliance of the movie exudes from the relationship that exists between Samantha and Twombly. Their performance received high praise and in the manner of all movies that appeal to critics and fans alike, it was not a stranger to the award ceremonies. Johansson won five awards for this movie and one of them was an honorary award from the Austin Film Critics Association.
Ghost World (2001)
It is often the case that when a movie is a hit with critics, it goes on to make it big at the Box office but this was not the case with the coming of age movie, Ghost World. Johansson plays the supporting role of Rebecca, alongside, Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi, and for her performance, she bagged the award for Best Supporting Actress from the Toronto Film Critics Association.
This Scarlett Johansson movie was released in 2001 and the actress, who was just seventeen, at the time delivered a performance that helped solidify the film’s iconic status as a cult classic. It currently holds a whopping 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which is a testament to how well received the movie is by critics. Ironically and to the surprise of all interested, the movie performed abysmally at the box office, raking in only $8 million from its production budget of $7 million.
Under the Skin (2013)
This is a movie that draws its story from a novel of the same name. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who from what is depicted ambiguously in the film feasts on people, mostly men and creates her human form by eating up more people. Five other actresses were considered for the role but Johansson got the part. This was mostly owing to her growing fame as the next big thing in Hollywood at the time. The actress worked with the writers for four years before the film came to fruition.
The film’s ambiguity was the primary reason for its poor sales at the box office where it recorded a loss, making $7.2 million on a budget of $13.3 million. Nonetheless, critics loved it and some of them were able to extract subliminal messages from the film, messages which were otherwise not clear to the average viewer. Scarlett Johansson’s ability to portray an alien who suffers from an identity crisis while finding a way to detach herself from the character was applauded. The film is considered as one of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century by the BBC.
Hail, Caesar (2016)
The film is loosely based on the life of Eddie Mannix, who was a real-life fixer that worked in the movie industry between the late twenties and early sixties. The film chronicles the attempt of Mannix to find an actor, played by George Clooney, who had been kidnapped. He is also in a bid to save the reputations of the other characters in the film who are movie stars, including Scarlett Johansson’s character who has become pregnant out of wedlock, which in 1950 – the temporal setting of the movie – is harmful to a woman’s reputation.
Each actor played a role that was crafted after a real-life person. Johansson’s character is crafted after Esther Williams, the actress who was a competitive swimmer before she transitioned to a career in acting.
The Prestige (2006)
In the world of magic and illusion, dishonesty and a lack of trust thrive. The Prestige is a 2006 film directed by Christopher Nolan which features the talents of Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Andy Serkis, and Scarlett Johansson. In the film, Johansson plays the character of Olivia Wenscombe.
It is safe to say that Nolan wrote the role of Olivia Wenscombe specifically for Scarlett Johansson, who is said to have been excited by the news of playing the character after Nolan contacted her. It is not one of her greater roles but she was able to deliver a noteworthy performance.
The Nanny Diaries (2007)
In one of her lesser appealing roles, Scarlett Johansson who is cast alongside her Marvel Cinematic co-star, Chris Evans plays the role of Annie, a young woman who upon graduation from university is faced with the dilemma of what to do next with her life. One day at the park, she sees a child who is about to be hit by a car and rescues him. In a case of misunderstood identity, the mother of the boy who she saved hears ‘Nanny’ in place of ‘Annie’, and offers her a job as a nanny. In the time she spends with the family, she grows and helps the family grow as well.
The Spirit (2008)
This is one of the worst of all Scarlett Johansson movies as it has an approval rating of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes and an accompanying loss of $21 million at the box office. Adapted from a comic strip and featuring a cast of A-list actors, this movie falls short of delivering a performance worthy of acclaim.
Critics mostly bashed its plot and the dialogue, although it had great visuals, the stilted dialogue and poorly developed characters were major failings of the film. It was so terrible that it made the list of Empire’s 50 worst films of all time.
The Perfect Score (2004)
Tailored after high school movies of the late 80s and early 2000s, this 2004 Scarlett Johansson movie sees six teenagers take on the SATs by planning to steal the test and learn the answers. Each person does this for reasons peculiar to them but in the end, they come to an understanding of how the world actually works and decide not to use the answers they stole.
Critics and moviegoers both criticized the film; it has a rating of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes and also recorded a loss at the box office. Its similarity to The Breakfast Club was there for all to see but its inability to create a similar masterpiece was a source of most of the problems that critics had with the film.
Home Alone 3 (1997)
The Home Alone franchise remains a fan favorite for the Christmas holidays. This third installment is the only part that has no appearance from Macaulay Culkin, who was the lead in the earlier installments. He and other members of the cast from the first two films had no roles in Home Alone 3.
Although it was a hit at the box office, the film was unable to deliver the same level of artistry as its prequels which accounted for the subpar rating it received. In Home Alone 3, Johansson plays the teenage elder sister of the lead character, Alex. As a result of how subpar it is, the movie was nominated for the Golden Raspberry for the Worst Remake/Sequel in 1997.