Jennifer Lawrence is one of the biggest actresses of our time, and given the phenomenal talent and range she has exhibited in the various roles she’s taken on (and this bearing in mind that she’s only 27 years old), her fame is completely deserved.
Over the years, she has been imperative to the success of hit blockbuster franchises like The Hunger Games and the new X-Men movies, and has produced some incredible work under five-time Oscar-nominated writer-director David O. Russell. However, her most physically and emotionally challenging role to date, in her own words, has been for Darren Aronofsky’s mother!
The film has divided audiences and critics with some lauding the movie and others loathing it. Its content is horrifying and hugely controversial, but to take another perspective on the flick, where does it rank among JLaw’s top performances, and does the film hold merit as an example of her talent as an actress?
6. American Hustle
Jennifer Lawrence’s turn as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, the wife of Christian Bale’s character Irving Rosenfeld, is brilliant. Unstable and impressively stubborn, she bursts onto the screen with pizzazz and energy, making for an unforgettable character even with her relatively short screen time. Watch out for the bathroom scene she shares with fellow impressive actress Amy Adams.
5. The Hunger Games movies
While she would go on to have still better performances, what Lawrence did with the heroine Katniss Everdeen created by Suzanne Collins was really special. Her emotional responses to the injustices of the world around her are heart-wrenching, and she really captured the-silent-but- constantly-thinking aspect of her character, as well as pulling off the action sequences.
People were probably rolling their eyes a bit by the time Jennifer received her fourth Oscar nomination for the titular role of Joy, but looking back at the film, she really does pull it out of the bag. As Joy, she is a divorced mother who is trying to support her father, mother, grandmother, ex-husband, and children under one roof while trying to keep the peace. When she invents a self-wringing mop that she knows has the potential to be big, she ‘wakes up’ and realises she can’t let anyone get in her way if it’s going to be a success.
3. Winter’s Bone
Lawrence’s breakthrough role in Winter’s Bone earned her numerous awards and widespread critical acclaim. As an Ozark Mountain girl named Ree, who is forced to set out to find her drug-dealing father in order to protect her house and family, the actress delivers a subtle and compelling turn as the smart, determined and strong-willed teenager. The only time she shows vulnerability is when she is forced to do something unthinkable in the third act, but with no other choice.
It’s hard to talk about mother! without giving away spoilers but suffice to say there is an otherworldly nature to her character from the very outset of the film (you get that from the first shot of her character so that’s not giving too much away) which Lawrence accomplishes with a stunning fragility. She plays a woman whose house is being invaded by more and more people who appear to be obsessed with her husband. The escalating sense of stress and anxiety she endures because of the uncontrollable nature of events around her add up to an incredibly moving and empathetic performance which is undeniably one of her best.
1. Silver Linings Playbook
To date, Jennifer Lawrence’s Academy Award-winning turn as the catatonic and passionate Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook remains her greatest performance. As a young widow with depression and relationship problems, Tiffany is by far the most complicated character Lawrence has had to bring to life and in spite of her short temper and cutting words, the actress moulds her into a highly admirable character who tells it like it is and who, just like us, doesn’t really know how to deal with complex emotions.