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Top 10 Laura Dern Movies of All Time

by John Paul
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Background actress Laura Dern, then only seven years old, ate 19 ice cream cones while filming Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. According to Dern, after witnessing her perseverance on set, Scorsese said, “This girl’s going to be an actress.” It only took six years for his prediction to come true.

Wonderful Laura Dern is one of those rare individuals who was practically destined to be an actress. Laura Dern, daughter of Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, began her acting career in little roles when she was young, appearing in movies like “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and “White Lightning,” before launching into more substantial roles later on.

Her resume boasts an extremely wide range of acting talent, including collaborations with A-listers like Clint Eastwood, Joyce Chopra, and Steven Spielberg. Her work with David Lynch has also been quite fruitful. She has starred in both small-budget movies and major ones, with one of her most recognizable appearances coming from Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.”

Dern’s warm, approachable personality has been crucial to her success in Hollywood for decades. In addition, she has been a force in the industry because she consistently delivers deep, complex characters in some absolutely excellent films. 10 of Laura Dern’s finest film roles are listed below.

Marriage Story” Star Laura Dern Opens Up About Heartbreak - Variety

Image Courtesy: Variety

  1. Marriage Story

Dern was featured in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story in 2019. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson played her co-stars, a separated couple. Nora, played by Dern, is a ruthless divorce attorney who helps Nicole, played by Johannsson, through her divorce, drawing attention to the inequality women experience in this area. Her portrayal was so natural that she was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Dern has spoken highly of her time working with Baumbach, and it’s easy to see why.

Laura Dern on Oscar Season, Cheryl Strayed, and David Lynch | Vogue

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  1. Wild

Wild, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and based on the biography by Cheryl Staryed, starred Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. In the film, Witherspoon played the primary role, and Dern portrayed her mother, Bobbi. Dern beautifully portrays Cheryl’s mother in a series of flashbacks that explain why she had such an enormous impact on Cheryl. She portrays the angelic figure who supported and encouraged her daughter throughout her life. She was nominated for an Oscar Award, and rightfully so, for her performance.

Citizen Ruth' Sent Up the Abortion Debate 25 Years Ago – The Hollywood  Reporter

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  1. Citizen Ruth

Citizen Ruth, directed by Alexander Payne and starring Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Mary Kay Place, and Kelly Preston, was released in 1996. Ruth Stoops (Dern) is a pregnant woman who becomes a focal point of the debate over abortion. Dern performs the role with a crassness that borders on comedy, and her character’s unrelenting vulgarity almost endears her to the spectator. This is a completely new direction for Dern, and she carries it off brilliantly.

David Lynch's Blue Velvet heading to Criterion with nearly an hour of  deleted material - Consequence

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  1. Blue Velvet

Dern’s first project with David Lynch was Blue Velvet. She played Sandy Williams, the stereotypical American girl next door, opposite Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini. The film is a dark neo-noir trip that reveals the brutal underbelly of a seemingly perfect American suburb. Dern does a fantastic job of personifying the idea of virtue in such a dark and twisted film, jarring the viewers out of their gloom whenever she appears on-screen.

Laura Dern and Sam Neill question 'Jurassic Park' romance's 20-year age gap  | EW.com

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  1. Jurassic Park

Dern’s career skyrocketed after the 1993 release of Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg’s massively successful film. The film, which also features the talents of Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblum, is based on a novel by Michael Crichton and tells the story of dinosaurs that have been brought back to life through scientific intervention but end up going terribly wrong when they escape and cause havoc. Dern’s Dr. Ellie Sattler has entered the annals of pop culture legend. Her depiction is different from that of the novel’s poorly written female character, which reflects the stereotypical male-authored perspective of women. With Dern in the role, we remember her as the fiercely intellectual and capable scientist she truly was.

The Oscar Buzz: Theory Thursday: "Wild At Heart" is Overrated

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  1. Wild at Heart

The synergy between Laura Dern and David Lynch is evident in Dern’s portrayal of Lula Fortune in Wild at Heart, one of their many successful collaborations over the years. In the film, Dern plays alongside Nicolas Cage as a woman who is unafraid to show her true feelings and finds inspiration in the smallest things. The chemistry between Cage and Dern is palpable, and Dern’s superb acting range is fully displayed in this film.

Little Women (2019)

Image Courtesy: IMDb

  1. Little Women

The 2019 adaptation of Little Women by Greta Gerwig (from the eponymous novel by Louisa May Alcott) was a smash hit, thanks largely to its all-star cast that included Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Timothée Chalamet. In place of Susan Sarandon, who played Marmee March in the iconic 1994 film, we now have Laura Dern. Dern played the nurturing mother role with a natural warmth that made it feel like she was born to play the part.

Certain Women (2016) | The Criterion Collection

Image Courtesy: The Criterion Collection

  1. Certain Women

Directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Lily Gladstone, 2016’s Certain Women also included Reichardt as writer/director. This picture had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it did very well. The film follows the women in a small Montana village as they attempt to navigate the difficulties of a misogynist society. Dern portrays Laura Wells, a lawyer who experiences microaggressions in the predominantly male legal industry. Dern delivers a powerful performance, and the nuanced aspects of her actions are spot on for conveying the pressures women have to maintain composure in situations that would drive anyone else to crack.

All of Laura Dern's Movies, Ranked According to Critics

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  1. The Master

The life of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, provided some of the inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. A World War II veteran and the end of the conflict, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), is at a loss for what to do with his life. Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), leader of the cult The Cause, becomes his mentor. In the film, Dern portrays Helen Sullivan, a sycophantic member of The Cause.

The Surprising Emotional Core of "The Fault in Our Stars" | Bitch Media

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  1. The Faults in the Star

Even though there are a lot of movies based on young adult books, “The Fault in Our Stars” is one of the best. Both teenagers have cancer and make the trip to Amsterdam to see a reclusive author.

The performance is good enough to justify much of the film’s dialogue, which can occasionally slip into sentimental melodrama. Dern, who plays the protagonist’s mother, Frannie, makes the most of the sparse circumstances in which she is placed. Dern is at home in the role of the nurturing mother, but she can also give her characters a feistier edge when called for.



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