Rachel Weisz is best known for her breakthrough performance in the action-adventure movie, The Mummy, and has recently taken on the duel role as identical twins, Elliot and Beverly Mantle, in Amazon’s newest miniseries, Dead Ringers. Born in London, Weisz was raised in a family who valued the arts and started her career playing minor television roles before making her film debut in the 1994 movie, Death Machine.
Weisz has appeared in several popular movies including About a Boy, The Lovely Bonesand The Constant Gardener and ranks as one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood today. From The Whistleblower to the Oscar-winning film, The Favourite, these are 10 of Weisz’s best movies ranked, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 ‘The Whistleblower’ (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%
In 1999, Nebraska police officer, Kathyrn Bolkovac, is recruited as a peacekeeper for the United Nations and assigned to a private contractor, Democra Security, in post-war Bosnia. When she uncovers a human trafficking ring linked to employees of Democra, she’s ignored by other authorities and pushed to go to extreme lengths to expose those responsible and the corrupted company.
The Whistleblower is based on the real-life experiences of human rights investigator, Bolkovac who was fired for trying to shut down a human trafficking ring and successfully sued her employer for wrongful termination. Critics praised Weisz for her solid performance as the no-nonsense investigator who despite the odds, is undeterred in her efforts of seeking justice.
9 ‘Black Widow’ (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
Avenger, Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is a fugitive on the run who learns there’s a dangerous conspiracy at work with ties to her past. Forced to confront the dark days she left behind, Romanoff must come to terms with the broken relationships and dark days she left behind before becoming an Avenger.
Weisz plays Melina Vostokoff, a scientist and mother-type figure, to Black Widow, who eventually becomes the supervillain, Iron Maiden. Compared to the comic book adaptations of Vostokoff, Weisz provides more depth to the character as well as a deadpan personality and lack of a sense of humor that according to Harper’s Bazaar, Weisz found the most appealing about the role.
8 ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
In 1950, the wife of a judge, Hester Collyer engages in an illicit affair with a former Royal Air Force pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston). While Page struggles with the memories of World War II, he sends Collyer’s life into turmoil leaving her isolated and emotionally distressed until she’s pushed to her breaking point.
The Deep Blue Sea is a British romance and adaptation of the 1952 play by Terence Rattigan. Weisz and Hiddleston have an undeniable chemistry that inevitably tugs at the heartstrings as both try to find their way in a world trying to put the pieces back together. Their characters provide a peek into the everyday life of those who not only survived World War II but also the hardships many faced in the aftermath.
7 ‘Denial’ (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%
When Deborah Lipstadt publishes a book called, Denying the Holocaust, through Penguin Books, she’s sued by an English historian and author, David Irving (Timothy Spall) who claims Lipstadt’s book wrongfully accuses him of being a Holocaust denier. Lipstadt and her legal team are faced with the burden of proof to not only show that Irving lied about the Holocaust but also that it happened.
Denial is based on the book, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, by Lipstadt who was at the focal point of the now-historical UK court case, Irving v. Penguin Books Ltd. Weisz gives a powerful performance full of admirable strength and determination that successfully conveys the importance of the story.
6 ‘The Constant Gardener’ (2005)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
British diplomat, Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) is assigned to a new post and relocates to Kenya with his wife and social justice activist, Tessa. When Tessa is found murdered in the jungle, Quayle becomes sick with grief and exhausts every available option to find his wife’s killer and in the process, makes a damning revelation.
Weisz’s performance in the suspenseful drama, The Constant Gardener won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and the only win for the film out of several nominations including Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. The movie reunited Weisz with fellow British star, Fiennes who had previously worked together on the 1999 film, Sunshine.
5 ‘Disobedience’ (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
Ronit Krushka is a photographer living in New York who learns that her estranged father has passed away and flies to London for the funeral. She is returning home to the strict Orthodox Jewish community that had shunned her years ago for her romantic relationship with her friend, Esti (Rachel McAdams).
Disobedience is a bittersweet romance that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a limited U.S. release. The movie is beautifully carried by Weisz and McAdams who both accurately convey the emotional struggle of choosing between living a life someone is expected to follow and living a life they want for themselves without passing any judgment.
4 ‘The Lobster’ (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%
In a dystopian society, unfortunate circumstances make David (Colin Farrell) a single bachelor who is forced to move into a hotel that houses other single people. The hotel manager reveals to David that if he can’t form a romantic relationship with someone in 45 days or less, then he will be transformed into the animal of his choice.
The Lobster is a different kind of love story with a bold narrative that pokes fun at dating and the inaccurate societal view of those who are singletons. The movie is full of dark humor and satire that oddly enough fits into the film’s grim purgatory-type plot. While Farrell’s character is the main focus in The Lobster, Weisz plays an unnamed short-sided woman who proves there’s always more to what meets the eye.
3 ‘About a Boy’ (2002)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
Will (Hugh Grant) is a wealthy, immature bachelor who invents an imaginary son as a way to meet women at single-parent meetings. During one of his meetings, he winds up meeting a 12-year-old boy named Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) who is having a hard time fitting in at school. As the two start to become friends, Will helps Marcus overcome his problem and finally learns that it’s time to grow up.
About a Boy is a heartwarming romantic comedy that was listed as one of the top 10 best movies of the year by the American Film Institute. Weisz plays the first woman Will has a serious interest in dating, Rachel, and instead of following the traditional Hollywood formula, About a Boy chooses to show the honest and messy reality that comes with building a significant relationship with others.
2 ‘Page Eight’ (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a British Secret Service officer who is briefed by his boss and friend, Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) on a sensitive file about the possible torture of prisoners in secret prisons overseas. When Baron suddenly dies before making the file public, the organization buries but Worricker continues to dig and eventually abandons his entire life to find out the truth.
Page Eight is the first film in the BBC political thriller series, The Worricker Trilogy which also includes Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield. Weisz plays Worricker’s neighbor and political activist, Nancy, who bonds with Worricker over his love of art and jazz that adds a new sense of humanity into his life that turns over a new leaf for the officer.
1 ‘The Favourite’ (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
While England and France are at war, the frail Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) is dotted on hand and foot by her friend, Lady Sarah, who also governs the country in the queen’s place. When Sarah’s socially disgraced cousin, Abigail (Emma Stone) is hired as a scullery maid, the two women ruthlessly compete to become the queen’s court favorite.
The Favourite is a comical period film that reunited Weisz with The Lobster director, Yorgos Lanthimos, and earned 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for both Weisz and Stone. Weisz described the film to IndieWire as a “funnier, sex-driven” take on the classic Bette Davis film, All About Eve, that also explores the film’s similar double standards of powerful women.
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