Best Natalie Portman Movies

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  20 Feb 2016 

Child actors are notorious for fizzling out once their prepubescent charms disappear during adolescence, or once they discover the various vices of the adult world, and it seems to be the rare case when a young starlet can overcome these hurdles and transition successfully into a career of grownup roles. Natalie Portman is one such success story: after making her debut as a 12-year-old in Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional, Portman gradually took on more adult roles until she was playing everything from Anne Boleyn to an emotionally manipulative stripper. This week, she stars in (and produces) the Western drama Jane Got a Gun, so we felt it was the right time to take a look back at the extensive filmography of this young star to determine Natalie Portman’s Definitive Movies.

actors
8 Black Swan
imdb
rating

8.0

Black Swan (2010)

Drama, Mystery, Thriller

At what price artistic perfection? It’s a question director Darren Aronofsky is uniquely well qualified to pose, given a filmography that includes stories about all-consuming obsession (Pi), commitment (The Wrestler), and addiction (Requiem for a Dream), as well as projects that tested his own professional and creative limits (The Fountain). Those themes form the graceful spine of 2010’s Black Swan, in which Portman (who won a Best Actress Oscar for her work) portrays a dancer whose participation in a production of Swan Lake serves as the backdrop for a harrowing exploration of the thin line between art and madness. “The film picks at our deepest anxieties — injury, disfigurement, loss of a coveted job, loss of identity, loss of sanity,” observed Colin Covert for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “In most fright films, danger lurks in the shadows. Here it’s grinning from a mirror.”

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A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.

actors:
Natalie Portman as Nina   Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy   Barbara Hershey as Erica   Mila Kunis as Lilly   Winona Ryder as Beth MacIntyre   Christopher Gartin as Handsome scott   Ksenia Solo as Veronica   Toby Hemingway as Tom   Janet Montgomery as Madeline   Kristina Anapau as Galina   Marcia Jean Kurtz as Costume Mistress   Deborah Offner as Susie   Adriene Couvillion as Violinist   Shaun O'Hagan as Stage Manager   Sebastian Stan as Andrew   Benjamin Millepied as David   Sergio Torrado as Sergio   Mark Margolis as Mr. Fithian   Tina Sloan as Mrs. Fithian   Abraham Aronofsky as Mr. Stein   Charlotte Aronofsky as Mrs. Stein  

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7 V for Vendetta
imdb
rating

8.2

V for Vendetta (2005)

Action, Fantasy, Thriller

The famously cantankerous Alan Moore disavowed the Hollywood version of his graphic novel, taking issue with the way the Wachowski-produced V for Vendetta used the political subtext of the book — which was written in the 1980s — to frame an argument against neoconservatism. And Moore probably had a point, too — but as hard as it is to begrudge an author his criticism of an adaptation of his work, it’s also easy to understand why the gripping, stylish Vendetta was a critical and commercial hit when it reached theaters in early 2006. James McTeigue’s direction is at its most thrilling here, and the Wachowskis’ script manages to incorporate thought-provoking themes with good old-fashioned action. And then there was Natalie Portman, who had her head shaved on camera for her role as Evey Hammond, the ordinary citizen driven to vigilanteism by a totalitarian political regime (as well as some remarkably persuasive speeches from a masked, yet still utterly charismatic, Hugo Weaving). V for Vendetta was so dark and so unapolagetically political that it’s still a little hard to believe it was a $100 million-plus hit — but it certainly didn’t hurt that it provoked eloquent praise from critics like Jonathan R. Perry of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, who wrote, “V screams loudly and long, with visceral, kinetic fury and with style to burn. It’s so brazen, it’s kind of brilliant.”

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In a world in which Great Britain has become a fascist state, a masked vigilante known only as "V" conducts guerrilla warfare against the oppressive British government. When "V" rescues a young woman from the secret police, he finds in her an ally with whom he can continue his fight to free the people of Britain.

actors:
Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond   Hugo Weaving as V / William Rookwood   Stephen Rea as Chief Inspector Eric Finch   Stephen Fry as Gordon Deitrich   John Hurt as Chancellor Adam Sutler   Tim Pigott-Smith as Creedy   Natasha Wightman as Valerie   Rupert Graves as Dominic   Roger Allam as Lewis Prothero   Ben Miles as Dascomb   Sinéad Cusack as Delia Surridge   Eddie Marsan as Etheridge   John Standing as Bishop Lilliman   Clive Ashborn as Guy Fawkes   Emma Field-Rayner as Guy Fawkes Lover   Ian Burfield as Tweed Coat Fingerman   Mark Phoenix as Willy Fingerman   Alister Mazzotti as Baldy Fingerman   Guy Henry as Heyer   Cosima Shaw as Patricia   Megan Gay as BTN News Poppet   Roderic Culver as BTN News Poppet   Tara Hacking as Vicky   Andy Rashleigh as Fred   Chad Stahelski as Storm Saxon   Antje Rau as Laser Lass   Amelda Brown as Wardrobe Mistress   Patricia Gannon as Little Glasses Girl Mum   Mark Longhurst as Little Glasses Girl Dad   Simon Holmes as Barman   Charles Cork as Barfly   John Ringham as Old Man   Oliver Bradshaw as Old Man   Jack Schouten as Middle Class Boy   Caoimhe Murdock as Middle Class Sister   Juliet Howland as Middle Class Mum   Brin Rosser as TV Executive   Raife Patrick Burchell as Studio Technician   Joseph Rye as Jones   Adrian Finighan as News Anchor   Malcolm Sinclair as Major Wilson   Bradley Steve Ford as Evey's Brother   Madeleine Rakic-Platt as Young Evey   Selina Giles as Evey's Mother   Carsten Hayes as Evey's Father   Derek Hutchinson as Bureaucrat   Martin Savage as Denis   Grant Burgin as Operator   Greg Donaldson as Operator   Imogen Poots as Young Valerie   Jason Griffiths as Biology Teacher   Kyra Meyer as Christina   Laura Greenwood as Sarah   Paul Antony-Barber as Valerie's Father   Anna Farnworth as Valerie's Mother   Mary Stockley as Ruth   Simon Newby as Tube Station News Poppet   David Merheb as Young Man   Daniel Donaldson as Young Black Detainee   Dulcie Smart as Civil War News Poppet   Ben Posener as Water Shortage News Poppet   Ian T. Dickinson as Avian Flu News Poppet   Sophia New as Quarantine News Poppet   Julie Brown as Three Waters News Poppet   Gerard Gilroy as Surveillance Man   Eamon Geoghegan as Surveillance Man   Matthew Bates as Finch's Fedco Man   Matt Wilkinson as Little Glasses Girl Fingerman   Martin McGlade as Victoria Station Fingerman   Richard Laing as Parliament Lieutenant   Michael Simkins as Parliament General   William Tapley as Radio Man   David Leitch as Convenience Store V  

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6 Closer
imdb
rating

7.3

Closer (2004)

Drama, Romance

Unlike a lot of child actresses, Natalie Portman didn’t grow up playing characters that necessarily reflected her age; when you make your big-screen debut as a 12-year-old hitman’s apprentice, no one’s going to send you the script for, say, The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Still, Portman caused something of a tizzy when word got out that she’d be playing a stripper in Mike Nichols’ Closer. The part, like the movie, ultimately ended up being far less titillating than some might have hoped; as he’d done with Carnal Knowledge nearly 25 years previous, Nichols took a potentially lurid premise and read between the lines, focusing instead on the human drama at its core. And while some lookie-loos might have been disappointed that Closer turned out to be a sexual drama devoid of sex, many critics were too busy appreciating Patrick Marber’s script — and a quartet of stellar performances from Portman, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, and Jude Law — to notice. “Portman steals the show with an astonishingly layered performance as the spiky but vulnerable Alice,” wrote Rich Cline of Shadows on the Wall. “Even without the rest of the film’s genius, she’s worth the price of a ticket.”

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Set in contemporary London, a story of passion, drama, love, and abandonment involving four strangers--their chance meetings, instant attractions and casual betrayals.

actors:
Natalie Portman as Alice   Jude Law as Dan   Julia Roberts as Anna   Clive Owen as Larry   Colin Stinton as Customs Officer   Nick Hobbs as Taxi Driver  

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5 Garden State
imdb
rating

7.6

Garden State (2004)

Comedy, Drama, Romance

In the years since it turned into an indie phenomenon, it’s become fashionable to mock Garden State for the slew of scripts about morose middle-class dudes it triggered — not to mention the many sensitive singer/songwriters who found inspiration in its soundtrack — but Zach Braff’s writing/directing debut struck an undeniable chord when it was released in 2004, and even if you were annoyed by the trends State sparked, it isn’t hard to see what audiences were responding to. Nor is it difficult to determine why Braff’s character, a disaffected Hollywood actor who’s returned to his New Jersey stomping grounds for his mother’s funeral, would find himself shaken out of his ennui by the joie de vivre of Natalie Portman‘s character, a hoodie-wearing, Shins-loving compulsive liar named Sam. Sound too quirky by half? Perhaps it is. But it’s also, in the words of Tom Long of the Detroit News, “The kind of movie that reminds you why you love movies so much, a film so filled with unexpected energy and ambition and sly intelligence it gives you hope for the future.”

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Andrew returns to his hometown for the funeral of his mother, a journey that reconnects him with past friends. The trip coincides with his decision to stop taking his powerful antidepressants. A chance meeting with Sam - a girl also suffering from various maladies - opens up the possibility of rekindling emotional attachments, confronting his psychologist father, and perhaps beginning a new life.

actors:
Zach Braff as Andrew Largeman   Natalie Portman as Sam   Ian Holm as Gideon Largeman   Peter Sarsgaard as Mark   Kenneth Graymez as Busboy   Jean Smart as Carol   Armando Riesco as Jesse   Jackie Hoffman as Aunt Sylvia Largeman   Method Man as Diego   Alex Burns as Dave   Ron Leibman as Dr. Cohen   Jim Parsons as Tim   Michael Weston as Kenny   Ann Dowd as Olivia   Ato Essandoh as Titembay   Denis O'Hare as Albert   Trisha LaFache as Kelly   Geoffrey Arend as Karl Benson   George C. Wolfe as Restaurant Manager   Austin Lysy as Waiter   Gary Gilbert as Young Hollywood Guy  

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4 Anywhere But Here
imdb
rating

6.1

Anywhere But Here (1999)

Drama, Comedy, Romance

The Phantom Menace might have taken Portman into a galaxy far, far away in 1999, but she quickly returned to Earth with Wayne Wang’s Anywhere but Here, an adaptation of the Mona Simpson novel about the struggles faced by a single mother (Susan Sarandon) and her teenage daughter (Portman, natch). Even this early in her career, Portman had a clear idea of what she was willing to do for a role; she famously turned down Anywhere after discovering the script contained a sex scene for her character, forcing Wang and screenwriter Alvin Sargent to conduct a rewrite. (Fortunately for everyone, the rewritten sequence was repeatedly singled out as one of the film’s finest.) Portman had already acted with some of Hollywood’s finest at this point, but Anywhere placed her squarely toe to toe with Sarandon for pretty much the entirety of the film, and she emerged none the worse for wear. In the words of John R. McEwen of Film Quips Online, “Natalie Portman is my new hero.”

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In this adaptation of the Mona Simpson novel, single mother Adele August is bad with money, and even worse when it comes to making decisions. Her straight-laced daughter, Ann, is a successful high school student with Ivy League aspirations. When Adele decides to pack up and move the two of them from the Midwest to Beverly Hills, Calif., to pursue her dreams of Hollywood success, Ann grows frustrated with her mother's irresponsible and impulsive ways.

actors:
Susan Sarandon as Adele August   Natalie Portman as Ann August   Hart Bochner as Josh Spritzer   Eileen Ryan as Lillian   Ray Baker as Ted   John Diehl as Jimmy   Shawn Hatosy as Benny   Bonnie Bedelia as Carol   Faran Tahir as Hisham Badir   Shishir Kurup as Hisham Badir (voice)  

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3 Beautiful Girls
imdb
rating

7.2

Beautiful Girls (1996)

Comedy, Drama, Romance

Natalie Portman‘s first major role called for her to awkwardly try to seduce Jean Reno; a mere two years later, she brought an inestimable spark to Ted Demme’s Beautiful Girls by playing a self-proclaimed “old soul” who’s nevertheless far too young to catch the eye of Timothy Hutton. Considering that Girls‘ cast also included such famous names as Uma Thurman, Mira Sorvino, and Matt Dillon, the raves that 15-year-old Portman received for her work as the precocious (and, it must be said, utterly adorable) Marty were even more impressive. Not a lot goes on in this look at the commitment-shy shufflings of thirtysomething men in northern New England, and Beautiful Girls didn’t attract much attention at the box office, but there’s no arguing with raves from critics like Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed, who wrote, “Portman steals all the scenes with Timothy Hutton and lights up the movie in each and every one of her scenes with her beauty, charm and utter exuberance.”

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A piano player (played by Timothy Hutton), at a crossroads in his life, returns to his hometown for a high school reunion, where he finds that his classmates are not very successful in life either, especially not in love. His heart, however, is captured by a young girl who is only thirteen but an "old soul" (played by Natalie Portman).

actors:
Matt Dillon as Tommy 'Birdman' Rowland   Noah Emmerich as Michael 'Mo' Morris   Annabeth Gish as Tracy Stover   Lauren Holly as Darian Smalls   Timothy Hutton as Willie Conway   Uma Thurman as Andera   Mira Sorvino as Sharon Cassidy   Natalie Portman as Marty   Michael Rapaport as Paul Kirkwood  

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2 Heat
imdb
rating

8.2

Heat (1995)

Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

It wouldn’t be right to say that Natalie Portman truly “stars” in Heat — Michael Mann’s 1995 crime epic boasts a rather incredible cast, and far more seasoned actors than the teenaged prodigy were relegated to supporting roles. Still, few of those parts had more to do with the character development of Al Pacino’s Vincent Hanna, a driven LAPD detective whose troubled marriage to Justine Hanna (Diane Venora) helps drive his stepdaughter (played by Portman) to the brink of suicide. Hanna is the mirror image of Robert De Niro’s character, career thief Neil McCauley, and the scene where a horrified Hanna sets aside professional obligations to rush his dying stepdaughter to the hospital reflects McCauley’s decision to break a lifelong rule by starting a new, honest life with his girlfriend (Amy Brenneman), and even if audiences knew neither man would ultimately stick to his decision, that didn’t undermine the power of those performances — or Portman‘s part in raves like the one from the Washington Post’s Desson Thomson, who applauded, “As with his other works, [Mann] binds sound, music and pictures into one hypnotic triaxial cable and plugs it right into your brain. He makes this almost-three-hour experience practically glide by.”

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Obsessive master thief Neil McCauley leads a top-notch crew on various daring heists throughout Los Angeles while determined detective Vincent Hanna pursues him without rest. Each man recognizes and respects the ability and the dedication of the other even though they are aware their cat-and-mouse game may end in violence.

actors:
Al Pacino as Lt. Vincent Hanna   Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley   Val Kilmer as Chris Shiherlis   Jon Voight as Nate   Tom Sizemore as Michael Cheritto   Diane Venora as Justine Hanna   Amy Brenneman as Eady   Ashley Judd as Charlene Shiherlis   Mykelti Williamson as Sergeant Drucker   Wes Studi as Detective Casals   Ted Levine as Bosko   Dennis Haysbert as Donald Breedan   William Fichtner as Roger Van Zant   Natalie Portman as Lauren Gustafson   Tom Noonan as Kelso   Tone Loc as Richard Torena   Hank Azaria as Alan Marciano   Kevin Gage as Waingro   Susan Traylor as Elaine Cheritto   Kim Staunton as Lillian   Danny Trejo as Trejo   Henry Rollins as Hugh Benny   Jerry Trimble as Schwartz   Martin Ferrero as Construction Clerk   Ricky Harris as Albert Torena   Begonya Plaza as Anna Trejo   Hazelle Goodman as Hooker's Mother   Ray Buktenica as Timmons   Jeremy Piven as Dr. Bob   Xander Berkeley as Ralph   Rick Avery as Armoured Guard   Brad Baldridge as Children's Hospital Doctor   Andrew Camuccio as Dominick   Max Daniels as Shooter at Drive-in   Vince Deadrick Jr. as Driver at Drive-in  

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1 Leon: The Professional
imdb
rating

8.6

Leon: The Professional (1994)

Crime, Drama, Thriller

It would be hard for any actress to ask for a more attention-getting opening scene than one that calls for strolling onto the screen with a black eye and a cigarette dangling out of your mouth — and that goes more than double for Natalie Portman, who scored the role of The Professional‘s vengeful Mathilda when she was all of 12 years old. Few actors, let alone those Portman‘s age at the time, would have been able to summon the world-weary cynicism necessary to portray a young girl who’s seen her crack-dealing family mowed down by vengeful DEA agents — and who then goes on to pursue a terribly inappropriate relationship with the hitman down the hall. Add a borderline insane performance from Gary Oldman into the mix, and The Professional could easily have skidded into B-movie territory; in fact, a few critics felt that’s exactly where it belonged. The majority, however, were too entranced by the sweetly deadly chemistry between Portman and Jean Reno to notice the film’s flaws. As Time’s Richard Schickel wrote, “The bonding of Mathilda and Leon may be among the strangest in the long, tiresome history of odd-couple movies.”

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Leon, the top hit man in New York, has earned a rep as an effective "cleaner". But when his next-door neighbors are wiped out by a loose-cannon DEA agent, he becomes the unwilling custodian of 12-year-old Mathilda. Before long, Mathilda's thoughts turn to revenge, and she considers following in Leon's footsteps.

actors:
Jean Reno as Léon   Natalie Portman as Mathilda   Danny Aiello as Tony   Gary Oldman as Stansfield   Peter Appel as Malky   Willi One Blood as 1St Stansfield Man   Don Creech as 2nd Stansfield man   Keith A. Glascoe as 3rd Stansfield man (Benny)   Michael Badalucco as Mathilda's Father   Ellen Greene as Mathilda's Mother   Elizabeth Regen as Mathilda's Sister   Carl J. Matusovich as Mathilda's Brother   Frank Senger as Fatman   Lucius Wyatt Cherokee as Tonto (as Lucius Wyatt 'Cherokee')   Eric Challier as Bodyguard Chief   Luc Bernard as Mickey   Maïwenn Le Besco as Blond Babe (as Ouin-Ouin)   Jessie Keosian as Old Lady   Abdul Hassan Sharif as Mathilda's Taxi driver   Stuart Rudin as Leon's Taxi driver   Kent Broadhurst as 1st Policeman   Tommy Hollis as 2nd Policeman   Peter Linari as 1st Security man   Johnny Limo as 2nd Security man   Danny Peled as Kid's Leader   Seth Jerome Walker as Pauly   Michael Mundra as Cigarette Kid  

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