Does Jennifer Lawrence bring you Joy? Binge these compelling movies
When you think of movies starring Jennifer Lawrence, it’s inevitable to think of the two major franchises she’s been part of. As Katniss Everdeen, she changed the world in the Hunger Games series. As Mystique, she was a key player in the reinvention of the X-Men film mythology. Most actors would be satisfied with just having one of those accomplishments on their resumes.
But there is, of course, more to Jennifer Lawrence than the big tentpole movies she’s been part of. The actress’s filmography is as varied as her talents. Join us as we look at a few Jennifer Lawrence movies that gave her other notes to play besides being a dystopian revolutionary or a shapeshifting mutant hero.
Even though Jennifer Lawrence had been in a few movies before Winter’s Bone – and also had been a cast member of The Bill Engvall Show – it’s safe to say the 2010 indie darling marked her official turn into a movie star. The film gave J-Law her first Oscar nomination (as Best Actress) and saw her hold her own against beloved character actor John Hawkes (who also nabbed an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor).
Winter’s Bone follows Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Ree Dolly, as she searches for her father, who has disappeared without a trace in the rural Ozarks of Missouri. As J-Law’s investigation progresses, it becomes clear that the circumstances surrounding her father’s fate are more sinister than she imagined. Ree’s search for the truth leads her to reckon with her criminal extended family . . . and the ties that bind her to them.
From a movie that ushered the beginning of Jennifer Lawrence’s career as an A-lister, to a movie that exploits J-Law’s qualities as a Hollywood superstar. Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! puts the talented actress right in the middle of a surreal exploration of religion, authorship, artistry, and yes, even motherhood. Maybe. Probably. Look, it’s a really weird film.
As obtuse as some of Aronofsky’s symbolism could be to some, Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is extremely relatable. She plays someone who’s surrounded by increasing madness, continuously attempting to make sense of it, even as the insanity reaches epic levels. Like she does in many of her movies, Jennifer Lawrence acts as the perfect audience surrogate, as overwhelmed by the film’s ambition as we are.
If the artsy navel-gazing of Mother! doesn’t do it for you when it comes to Jennifer Lawrence movies, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy a more traditionally blockbuster-ish vehicle for her. Passengers is one of those flicks where extremely attractive people find themselves in an impossible situation and we can’t help but root for them. You know, a good ol’ time at the cinema!
Passengers gives us the dream team-up of Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt. They play the titular passengers of a colonizing spaceship. The problem? J-Law & Pratt have come out of hibernation ninety years too early. (Well, technically, only Pratt did at first . . . and then he got lonely and did a very bad thing.) As the duo’s space journey grows more dangerous, their relationship grows deeper. You know how it goes.
We alluded to it in the headline, so we can’t skip over Joy, Jennifer Lawrence’s third collaboration with director David O. Russell and America’s rough-and-tumble dreamboat Bradley Cooper. Each of the movies Jennifer Lawrence has made with Russell & Cooper have given her an Oscar nomination, so you can’t blame her for continuing to go back to that well.
Joy features another winning performance from J-Law, this time as a woman who rose from the ashes of a messy life through the invention of a self-wringing mop. The story is inspired by the real-life adventures of Joy Mangano, but with the usual embellishments, you find in biopics, and especially in David O. Russell movies. Regardless of its faithfulness to real events, however, Joy allows J-Law to shine as usual.
Just one more pick to round out this Jennifer Lawrence showcase. How about J-Law as a Russian assassin spy? Red Sparrow is based on the novel of the same name, written by former CIA member Jason Matthews. The story follows J-Law’s character through her brutal training and missions as a Soviet intelligence operative, and her dalliance with a CIA agent played by Joel Edgerton.
Red Sparrow gives us a Lawrence reunion, as it re-teamed Jennifer Lawrence with Francis Lawrence, director of most of the Hunger Games movies. But unlike that franchise, Red Sparrow delves into pretty graphic adult territory, going all-in in educating its audience about the horrors of “sexpionage”. Quite a change of pace for Jennifer Lawrence fans.
Do you have any Jennifer Lawrence movies you’d like to shout out? Let us know in the comments!