The 17 Best Reese Witherspoon Movies To Watch If You Want To Make The Most Of Her Amazing & Varied Career
Actor, mother, and businesswoman. She's a superwoman who can take on the world and do anything, as long as she sets her mind to it. The trickiest thing about putting together a list of Reese Witherspoon's best movies ever was simply limiting myself to 17. Quite simply, she's been in too many good films to choose from. But if she can give birth to a daughter, Ava Philippe, who is basically a photocopy of herself in human form, then I can overcome Witherspoon's overwhelming selection of intensely good movies and make this list. So let's do this.
Reviewing the actor's filmography just confirmed what her greatest strength is: versatility. Whether she's pulling a not-so-dumb-blonde in Legally Blonde or winning an Oscar for her stint in the critically-acclaimed Johnny Cash biopicWalk The Line, Witherspoon's favorite thing to do seems to be to wait for an audience to assume she can't play that role and then perform with such charisma that you find yourself applauding from your sofa.
So, get your posse together for a Witherspoon film marathon. Enforce Southern-style hostessing and costumes from her films are mandatory, naturally. Because, when you're celebrating one of the finest talents of our age, there's no such thing as doing too much.
Witherspoon played alongside Toby Maguire in one of her first movies about a pair of '90s siblings transported into a '50s TV show. It's great because it encapsulates what makes her shine: she's got those Sandy Dee '50s good girl looks and that modern woman don't-mess-with-me sass.
2. 'Cruel Intentions'
Please don't even try and pretend you don't love this film. While Witherspoon's role is admittedly not as fun as Sarah Michelle Gellar's (scheming sexpot) or Selma Blair's (naive woman-child discovering sex), she makes you root for Annette Hargrove, the virgin daughter of the local prep school's new headmaster.
Witherspoon's role, Tracy Flick, is Hillary Clinton and Leslie Knope and a "Nasty Woman" all bundled up into one character. This movie is, IMO, the most fun role Witherspoon's ever had. Plus, she was showered with awards for this movie, winning the Best Actress Award from the National Society of Film Critics and the Online Film Critics Society, a first Golden Globe nomination and an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
4. 'American Psycho'
It's a small part, but she plays it to perfection. Witherspoon is the self-obsessed socialite fiancee of secret serial killer Patrick Bateman, Evelyn Williams.
5. 'Legally Blonde'
This needs no introduction; Elle Woods is Witherspoon's Sistine Chapel. It's hard to envision any other actor bringing so much charm to the role of bubbly fashion merchandising student turned wannabe serious lawyer. Also, she gets reunited with her Cruel Intentions costar Selma Blair, who plays her love rival.
6. 'The Importance Of Being Earnest'
7. 'Sweet Home Alabama'
So, yes, it's not exactly an avant-garde new love story. In fact, part of the film's appeal is its sheer predictability (you can guess what's going to happen simply from streaming the trailer). But Witherspoon's so damn charming as an Alabama girl who's now New York's hottest property. Also, practically another character in its own right is that flicky-out, oh-so-'00s short bob.
8. 'Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde'
Not as strong as Elle Woods' first outing, but Witherspoon still makes this movie, in which Elle gets a job in Washington as a congresswoman's junior staff member, well worth a watch.
9. 'Vanity Fair'
In the 19th century, your place in society meant everything. So only someone as bold and cynical as Becky Sharp, daughter of a poor artist, could use her wits and looks to try and ascend the social ladder. This role, with its mix of head and heart, was made for Witherspoon.
10. 'Walk The Line'
11. 'Monsters vs. Aliens'
Witherspoon shows she's a dab hand at voice work in this 2009 animation focusing on Susan Murphy, who, after getting hit by a meteorite at her wedding ceremony, grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall.
While the lion's share of reviews focused on Matthew McConaughey's turn in the movie, Witherspoon's performance as charismatic drifter Mud's old girlfriend Juniper is worth checking out this memorable coming-of-age film for.
13. 'The Good Lie'
Again, Witherspoon isn't front and center of this film about Sudanese refugees in America, but she delivers a solid performance as a Kansas City employment counsellor who helps her charges find jobs.
This onscreen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's moving addiction memoir is almost as good as the book, which is seriously excellent. I watched this on a plane and cried with such abandon that a flight attendant asked me if I was OK, so. Yes, this movie is 10/10.
One of Witherspoon's earliest works, she plays a character who is (very) loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood in this postmodern exploitation flick.
16. 'Inherent Vice'
Witherspoon is reunited with her Walk The Line costar Phoenix while playing Deputy D.A. Penny Kimball in this pitch-perfect (in tonality, if not in every last detail) adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel.
17. 'The Man in the Moon'
Try and fail to withstand Baby Witherspoon's considerable charm in this coming of age drama.
So, there you have it. Reese Witherspoon rules Hollywood, and we are but her faithful servants.