Kate Winslet is, without a doubt, one of the best actresses working today. Playing various roles throughout the years whether it’s playing real-life figures like Iris Murdoch or playing fictional characters. Winslet always brings it in whatever film she’s doing and is not afraid to take risks, or take her clothes off in some of the films she’s been in. She’s someone that every actress wants to be as she has cultivated a great library of films that she’s starred in. There’s so many that she’s done that it’s hard to choose. Here are 10 of the best performance she’s given, so far.
1. Clementine Kruczynski-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Probably the most out-there and liveliest role of her career, Kate Winslet’s performance as Clementine is definitely one of the most surprising. Playing against a more restrained, dramatic Jim Carrey, Winslet is able to be the funny person whereas Carrey was usually the comedic lead. Sporting different hair colors such as red, blue, green, Winslet is able to loosen up and create a character that is zany but also heartfelt in some of the dream sequences where she is willing to be in different costumes including being Carrey’s babysitter as she sports go-go boots and flashing her panties!
2. Marianne Dashwood-Sense & Sensibility
For Ang Lee’s 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Winslet takes on the role of Marianne who becomes the object of affection for both Col. Brandon and the younger Willoughby. Winslet’s performance exudes radiance as a young woman who is trying to deal with her new surroundings as she falls for the young Willoughby and becomes desperate for him. There’s a great scene where Winslet walks around in the rain as she walks to the home where Willoughby lived. Though Winslet got sick during that scene, she did it just for the film which shows how fearless she can be.
3. Sarah Pierce-Little Children
In the role of a repressed housewife living in suburbia, Winslet’s performance as Sarah is truly entrancing for the way she strives to find some life in her oppressive environment. While it’s a film where Winslet does some very intense sex scenes with Patrick Wilson, it’s all about a woman trying to get an understanding about her world as she’s also part of a book club. There’s a scene where Winslet’s understated performance as she gives this great monologue about Madame Bovary where she finds herself relating to this woman and her situations while the other housewives are in shock of what they’re hearing. Though Sarah is somewhat of an irresponsible woman who is more concerned about being with this married guy rather than take care of her own daughter.
4. Mildred Pierce-Mildred Pierce
In playing the part that won Joan Crawford the Best Actress Oscar back in 1945, Winslet’s approach to the character by making her more realistic in tune with Todd Haynes’ approach to the story. Winslet is more hardened than Crawford while bringing a lot more weariness as Mildred in the way she handles the men in her life as well as her troubled relationship with her eldest yet ungrateful daughter Veda. The mini-series just won Winslet an Emmy for Best Actress as she really commands something in the role of a mother struggling to raise her kids and deal with heartbreak and betrayal as she comes to terms with it.
5. Rose Dewitt Bukater-Titanic
In the role that would essentially make her a huge name, Winslet’s performance as Rose is definitely one of the best break-out performances for anyone as young as Winslet was at the time. Particularly in one of the biggest movies ever made where she plays a young rich woman whose life is trapped until she meets a poor young man in Jack, played by Leonardo diCaprio. While it’s mostly a dramatic performance where Winslet is feeling sad and trapped in her own world, she does become a much stronger person while posing nude for Jack’s portrait. The chemistry she has with diCaprio is electrifying where they even got to be funny such as the time both say “shut up” to a porter in unison.
6. Hanna Schmitz-The Reader
The film that won her the overdue Oscar that she had been craving for. While it’s not a great film by any means due to the fact that it tries to be a very dramatic and heavy film. Winslet’s performance as Hanna manages to keep it very engaging in scenes where she is just this woman that is interested in this young man reading to her. While some of the makeup she’s given later in the film isn’t very good, there is still something chilling in the way Winslet manages to be very captivating in a character who has committed atrocities against humanity.
7. Sylvia Llewlyn Davies-Finding Neverland
For the role as the woman who, along with her children, would be the inspiration for J.M. Barrie to write Peter Pan. Winslet brings a very maternal yet warm persona to her character as a single mother raising her four young boys while befriending the eccentric Barrie, played by Johnny Depp. It’s a more low-key role from Winslet as she lets Depp and the young boys get a chance to shine she also gets a chance to play a pirate in some of the fantasy scenes proving that she can also be very loose.
8. Iris Murdoch-Iris
For the role of the younger Iris Murdoch, Winslet brings a very energetic yet lively persona to the character as the young novelist who falls for a shy yet loyal John Bayley. With Winslet proving to be very dominant in a lot of the scenes she does, she also makes her character un-likeable for what she puts the young John through. It’s a very brave performance that really allows Winslet to bring depth to a complex character as her older counterpart is played wonderfully by Judi Dench.
9. Tula-Romance & Cigarettes
For the role of James Gandolfini’s fiery mistress, Winslet shows more of her range as she proves that she can be in a musical. Sporting some red hair and Scottish accent, Winslet commands every scene she’s in making her more outrageous than her character suggests. Even as she is just the kind of woman you don’t want to bring home to your mother where she sings songs from the likes of Connie Francis to Vicki Carr.
10. Iris Simpkins-The Holiday
While it’s not a great film that features a very bland storyline that involves Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, it’s saved by the scenes involving Winslet as a woman who goes to the U.S. to deal with her ex-boyfriend. While Winslet has some very funny scenes with Jack Black, it’s the stuff with Eli Wallach that was the real highlight of the film. Acting with an old-school veteran allows Winslet to give her a character a sense of meaning as the chemistry with her and Wallach is very engaging to watch. If the film had been more about Winslet rather than the Diaz/Law storyline, it would’ve been a much better film.
The Worst: Princess Sarah-A Kid in King Arthur’s Court
There’s a lot of films that Winslet has been in whether it’s good or bad movies yet hasn’t really given a bad performance. Yet, there is one film, that even Kate Winslet herself admits, that is really bad. A Disney family adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court where a kid from the 1990s goes back in time to the world of King Arthur as Winslet plays one of the princesses. Featuring an early appearance from Daniel Craig, in a bad haircut, it’s a very bad film where Winslet is forced to be overly-dramatic and to look very thin. Reportedly, she got very sick during the production due to the weight loss and has refused to watch this film. Who can blame her though she does to get smooch the man who would become 007.
There’s a lot that Winslet has done over the years such as playing a girl with a penchant for fantasy, a woman mystified by spirituality, and all sorts of stuff. Yet, it’s one of the reasons why people love her. She’s an actress that keeps on taking risks while challenging herself in many ways. Plus, there’s more of her to come as she’ll take on any part. Still, let’s hope for her to do more comedies like her notorious appearance in the Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant comedy Extras.
© thevoid99 2011
Hey there, I landed on this site through Cinematic Paradox :).
Oh, Kate Winslet is surely in the top 5 of my favorite actresses, and I'm looking forward to watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which everyone seems to be loving so much, but somehow I haven't seen yet.
A very nice selection.
Thank you. I admit, it's not perfect because there's a bunch of films that Winslet is in that I haven't seen either in its entirety or at all. If I had seen Heavenly Creatures, Jude, Hideous Kinky, and a few others. It would've been easier to do. Thanks for checking my blog.
I personally preferred Winslet in Revolutionary Road than The Reader, but as far as your top 3 goes, it's hard to argue with you.
@John-I'm inclined to agree with you on that. The only problem is that I haven't seen Revolutionary Road given to my feelings towards Sam Mendes who I feel is a very overrated director.
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