Despite coming from a famous professional football family, actress Kate Mara found her calling on the stage and screen at a young age. Her television career has been more successful with hit shows like House of Cards, American Horror Story, and 24. While her filmography also includes roles in critically acclaimed movies like “127 Hours” and “The Martian.”
Kate has always made an impression with her acting skills. She’s not someone you forget quickly, even in the supporting roles (daughter, love interest, co-worker). However, in recent years she has started to take on leading positions in films and television series to show her acting chops in portraying complex roles. Some of the top movies where she made a mark with her notable performance are:
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Genre: Action, Biography, Drama
Cast: Bradley Whitford, Ramón Rodríguez, and Tom Felton,
The movie Megan Leavey was inspired by the real-life story of a young Marine and her military combat dog. The lives of many people were saved due to their combined efforts.
Mara does a fantastic job of portraying Leavey’s experience in Iraq while acting alongside animals. In one of her first significant roles, she shows off her acting chops by convincingly portraying a wide range of emotions, from strength, stoicism, and resolve to vulnerability, fear, and compassion.
Director: John Curran
Genre: Drama, Biography, History
Cast: Jason Clarke, Bruce Dern, and Ed Helms
The film depicts Ted Kennedy’s role in the car crash that killed Mary Jo Kopechne, a young campaign strategist, in 1969.
Mara portrays Mary Jo Kopechne, an American secretary and member of the “Boiler Room Girls,” a close-knit group of campaign workers for U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. Tragically, she was killed in the Chappaquiddick Island car crash that U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was driving.
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-fi
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Kristen Wiig
When Mark Watney’s (Matt Damon) crew believes he was killed in a sandstorm, they abandon him alone on Mars. Now, he’s stuck on Mars by himself, relying on his wits and whatever NASA left behind to stay alive. It’s Damon’s movie through and through.
Mara portrays Beth Johanssen, the crew’s system operator. In one of the most scientifically on-the-spot sci-fi movies, Mara has terrific chemistry with Jessica Chastain, Miguel Pea, and Sebastian Stan. In addition, she successfully conveys her character’s brilliance and loyalty in her scenes.
Director: Brad Anderson
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, and Ben Kingsley
Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer), a young American couple, take a trip across Asia on the Trans-Siberian Express. However, the trip turns out to be much more than they bargained for.
In this crime drama, directed by Brad Bird, Mara proved she could hold her own next to industry heavyweights like Harrelson and Mortimer. It is one of the first films in which she played a major role. The movie became the critics’ darling and gave her a ton of exposure in terms of acting.
Director: Josh Radnor
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Cast: Zoe Kazan, Josh Radnor, Malin Akerman
Sam and his buddies Annie, Mary-Catherine, and Charlie are all at different turning points in their lives when Sam encounters a little kid who changes his perspective. Josh Radnor wrote and directed the film to explore relationships throughout their many incarnations.
Mara is a no-nonsense singer and bartender named Mississippi, maybe everything Radnor’s Sam has ever wanted. Even if it’s not a huge part, Mara brings the character of Mississippi to life with her hopes, fears, and flaws, making us fall in love with her as quickly as Sam does.
Director: Ang Lee
Genre: Romance, Drama
Cast: Michelle Williams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger
Jack and Ennis, two cowboys, fall in love at a time and place when it is unacceptable. One of the best Ang Lee films (we still can’t believe it didn’t win the Oscar for best picture) features unforgettable performances from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
At the age of 19, Mara portrays Alma Jr., the daughter of Ennis and Alma, in Brokeback Mountain. She makes an appearance in the film’s closing sequence. She plays a minor but pivotal role since she is with his father, Ennis, when Jack’s shirt causes Ennis’s father to break down in tears because it reminds him of his beloved. Mara’s portrayal of her connection with his father is spot-on. She expresses compassion for him and wants him to be pleased with her, but she also acknowledges that he is still lost. That’s why Ennis is able to have that release at the end, despite the tragedy.
Director: Josh Trank
Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller
Four young scientists are transported to another dimension, where they undergo a bodily transformation and acquire special abilities. Despite the failure of the most recent Fantastic Four film, Marvel is moving forward with plans to remake the franchise’s flagship family.
Sue Storm was the team’s beating heart because of Mara’s performance, which was full of compassion, empathy, and smarts despite the production’s disarray. It was her first attempt at joining a franchise. The movie’s complete and utter failure—which was not her fault—inspired her to seek more singular and singularly satisfying parts.
Director: Danny Boyle
Genre: Biography, Drama
Cast: Amber Tamblyn, James Franco
James Franco, who portrays real-life explorer Aron Ralston, gives the performance of his life in 127 Hours. The movie makes an effort to record his time spent stuck by a boulder in Utah. Halston begins to reflect on his history as he desperately tries to escape. This completes the picture of a gripping survival tale.
The Danny Boyle project is a one-person show. Still, the film opens with brief appearances from Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn as two hikers in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Cast: Rhona Mitra, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña
A military Marksman, Bob Lee Swagger, lives in a self-imposed exile due to the traumatic death of his spotter Donnie Fenn in the line of duty. When news of a conspiracy to assassinate the President emerges, swagger is convinced to return to active duty. After being set up and forced to flee, he decides to track down the true murderer and discover the truth.
Kate plays Fenn’s widow in the movie. She played an integral role in several parts of the story. She has perfectly balanced the two sides of her character. One being Fenn’s widow and the second a supporting friend to swagger throughout his mission.
Director: Wally Pfister
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-fi
Cast: Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall
The movie depicts a group of scientists working on A.I. under pressure from a militant anti-tech group known as R.I.F.T. to complete their research as quickly as possible (Revolutionary Independence From Technology).
Kate Mara plays the leader of R.I.F.T. in the movie. Although the movie couldn’t do much at the box office, Kate’s unique performance in a negative role cannot be ignored and forgotten quickly.