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5 Jennifer Lawrence movies you should watch

After a four-year absence, Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence is back on the big screen. Her R-rated comedy, No Hard Feelings, has received mostly positive reviews, with critics agreeing she is back in full form. Lawrence, the second-youngest Best Actress winner in history, is among her generation’s most acclaimed and beloved stars. She rose to prominence more than a decade ago thanks to her role in the game-changing YA franchise The Hunger Games.

In her relatively short, but varied and successful career, Lawrence has starred in numerous projects, from big-screen tentpoles to small independent dramas and critically acclaimed studio comedies. Many of her films achieved high critical marks and conquered the box office, with a few becoming important parts of 2010s pop culture. So, to commemorate Lawrence’s long-awaited return to the silver screen, here are five of Lawrence’s best movies that every film aficionado should watch at least once.

Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Lawrence won the 2013 Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the romantic comedy-deama Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper stars as Patrick “Pat” Solano, a bipolar man who develops a chaotic relationship with Tiffany, a young widow, while they train for an upcoming dance competition. Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver also star.

Silver Linings Playbook is funny, thoughtful, and subversive, a refreshing take on the classic romantic comedy that succeeds on the back of Cooper and Lawrence’s incredible performances. As the mercurial Tiffany, Lawrence is wild, dynamic, compelling, and utterly invigorating, She shares an electrifying chemistry with Cooper that makes Silver Lining Playbook a must-watch.

The Hunger Games series

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.
Lionsgate

The 2012 film The Hunger Games, based on the eponymous 2008 YA novel, stars Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. Set in a dystopian U.S., the plot follows Katniss as she volunteers to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised event where teenage “tributes” fight to the death. The film spawned a successful franchise and was followed by three films: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

The Hunger Games series lives and dies with Lawrence’s Katniss. The films have excellent production values, compelling storylines, and an impressive ensemble cast, but Lawrence is the main event, delivering a raw, relatable, and vulnerable performance as the stoic, yet passionate Katniss. The series was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, inspiring countless wannabes that failed to live up to its success. Recently, Lawrence said she would return to the Hunger Games franchise, albeit under the right circumstances.

Winter’s Bone

Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly leaning against a wooden pillar in Winter's Bone.
Roadside Attractions

Lawrence broke through on 2010 thanks to a small and little-seen indie drama called Winter’s Bone. Set in the rural Ozarks of Missouri, the film follows Ree Dolly, a teenager searching for her missing father to save her poverty-stricken family from eviction.

The then-20-year-old Lawrence received universal acclaim for her performance and earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. Visceral and uncompromising, Winter’s Bone is a tough watch due to its darkly realistic screenplay and bleak atmosphere. Lawrence delivers a tour de force portrayal of resilience as Ree, weathering the plot’s many punches with admirable determination and becoming a bona fide star in the process.

Causeway

Jennifer Lawrence as Lynsey looking out a bus window in Causeway.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple TV+’s haunting drama Causeway stars Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry. The plot centers on Lynsey, a young soldier sent home after a traumatic brain injury. Struggling to adapt to life away from the front, Lynsey stays with her mother while awaiting her redeployment.

Causeway is a harrowing, but rewarding drama, thanks to Lawrence and Henry’s powerful performances. The duo excels in this intimate film about trauma that bravely deals with the darkest sides of the human psyche. Causeway might not be an easy watch, but its nuanced and deeply empathetic approach makes for a worthy experience that film lovers won’t want to miss.

Mother!

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence as Him and Mother in Mother!
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Lawrence delivers arguably her boldest performance in Darren Aronofsky’s 2017 psychological horror film Mother! The actress stars opposite Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer in the story of a young woman married to a much-older man whose seemingly peaceful life gets disrupted by the sudden and unwelcome arrival of strangers in her home.

Controversial and striking, Mother! is among the decade’s most original and thought-provoking films. The film is deeply allegorical, intentionally confusing, deliberately inflammatory, and outright unforgettable. Lawrence gives it her all, turning in a brave and passionate performance that might be the best in her career. Mother! is not for everyone — many will be straight-up appalled by its violence and intense imagery. However, it is a fascinating exploration of faith and human greed from one of cinema’s most interesting and genre-pushing filmmakers.

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David Caballero
David is a Mexican freelance writer with a deep appreciation for words. After three years in the cold world of Marketing…
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