Angelina Jolie gets a lot of flack but, honestly, I will acknowledge she has chosen a few weird, shitty roles in nonsense like “Salt”, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”, “The Tourist”, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”, and “Beowulf”…also “Alexander”…uhm… I swear I have a point. She is actually a very talented actress who is also jaw-droppingly beautiful, and that kind of thing can be super annoying. When someone is so gorgeous, talented, successful, and cares enough about the plights of the world by acting as an Ambassador for the U.N., you have to try and maybe bring her down somehow. But every actor has shit-tastic roles in their repertoire (note: “Gangster Squad” for every actor who was involved). She is an Oscar nominated actress for a reason y’all. So here are her top 5 roles according to me.
5. Jane Smith in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (Doug Liman, 2005)
Here (as seen in that suavely badass clip) Jolie plays the wife Jane Smith to Brad Pitt’s husband John Smith, and they’re assassins who are hired by their separate agencies to kill one another. This is where Jolie shone as a badass action hero while also being able to hold her own against Pitt’s juggernaut on-screen presence. She can be quite funny and while this movie isn’t the greatest thing ever it is very entertaining. She does a stand up job at pushing herself to do many of her own stunts while looking flawlessly wonderful. Her presence on-screen is never boring and always fun to watch, it’s a bonafide star quality. And while, yes, this is the movie where she allegedly “broke up” Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage, remember that Brad Pitt was there too and went along with it all. So any Jolie hate from that is aimed at only one person out of the two it took to cheat.
4. Gia Carangi in “Gia” (Michael Cristofer, 1998)
This was her breakout role. It’s a TV movie that’s based on the crazy, self-destructive party life of Gia Carangi, a model in the 1970’s. Apparently there are parallels in Jolie’s own life and her abuse of heroin with Gia’s and so that seems to only add an extra raw layer of truth, heart breaking beauty, and commitment to the role to show Gia as more than a crazy party girl. Jolie even won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Made for TV. This is when the world took notice of her and was able to see she is more than just another pretty face.
3. Mariane Pearl in “A Mighty Heart” (Michael Winterbottom, 2007)
Jolie plays Mariane Pearl, a wife that goes on a search for her husband Daniel Pearl, a journalist, when he goes missing in Pakistan. This movie was unbelievably heartbreaking and was also based on true events and people. Mariane Pearl was a woman who received a lot of negative press for not showing enough emotion on screen when begging for her husband to be found/released by whoever took him. But there are layers to this character that Jolie understood, Mariane had to remain hopeful he would be found to remain strong. When everything falls to hell Jolie bursts out in the most heart wrenching emotional breakdown in one long take where she walks into a room by herself, and doesn’t know what else to do but scream and cry. It is a powerful scene that still resonates. She was also nominated for like, all the awards (minus an Oscar) for this role.
2. Christine Collins in “Changeling” (Clint Eastwood, 2008)
Another role that garnered many nominations (including Oscar), was her role as a mom trying to find her missing son after the LAPD try to pass off another boy they found as her son. This is a real story. The story told is taken for newspapers, interviews, transcripts, and other sources that make this role ever the more important for Jolie to get right, and right she did. Her performance with her big doe eyes and grief-marked, but constantly hopeful, face is subtle but so moving. She owns this role and she owns the 1920’s style like it’s her job (well, it kind of is, so great work Jolie!)
1. Lisa Rowe in “Girl, Interrupted” (James Mangold, 1999)
Jolie is not the star here, Winona Ryder is. She plays a character based off of writer Susanna Kaysen’s story of her stay in a mental hospital for a year and a half. Jolie plays hospital patient Lisa Rowe who is deeply disturbed, sociopath who embraces her status as such. She’s constantly refusing to take medications and has this overall air of superiority over everyone in the hospital, including the doctors. But the character’s arc throughout the story shows how multi-faceted Lisa really is. Jolie gives this character sympathy where it would be very difficult to. She is able to show Lisa’s vulnerability and lack of control over her own life (because she is still hospitalized and has no end date to return to society). Love this role, and just love this movie in general.