Kristen Stewart’s 20 best performances – ranked! | Film

Kristen Stewart will one day make a brilliant evil queen, but in this CGI-heavy retelling of the often-filmed tale, she seems miscast as the passive Snow White. Charlize Theron gets all the witch fun as her evil stepmother while Chris Hemsworth levitates handsomely.

Stewart gives a boring girlfriend role more depth than it deserves in this sleazy action-comedy about a charmless small-town stoner (Jesse Eisenberg) who, to his surprise, discovers he’s a sleeper agent with insane killing skills. It’s not the long kiss goodnight.

Golden Age Hollywood meets Bronx gangsters as Stewart and Eisenberg reunite in Woody Allen’s bittersweet romance. It feels like Allen is recycling his own material, although Vittorio Storaro’s exquisite cinematography ensures Stewart looks fabulous in 1930s costume, even if it seems too spiky and modern for the time.

Stewart plays half a couple spending Christmas with her friend’s horrible family, who doesn’t know she’s gay. Clea DuVall’s second film as director is a conventional romcom with a lesbian twist; Girlfriend pisses you off (drop her!), but Stewart and indie stars Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza make their moments count.

James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart in Welcome to the Rileys.
James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart in Welcome to the Rileys.
Photo Credit: Scott Free Productions/Allstar

Between the “Twilight” films, Stewart gravitated towards roles that were the polar opposite of Bella Swan. Here she is a swearing teenage lap dancer in New Orleans who is friends with an elderly salesman (a wonderful James Gandolfini) whose marriage falls apart after the loss of their daughter. Skillful performance is let down by sluggish pace.

Once Stewart completed her final “Twilight,” she took off in unexpected directions — as seen in this spare but effective drama about an Army private assigned to guard Guantamano Bay. It’s an impressive pent-up display of empathy that tests the limits of standard operating procedures.

Kristen Stewart in Lizzie
Murder at its most tasteful…Kristen Stewart in Lizzie. Photo Credit: Eliza Morse/Artina Films/Allstar

Chloë Sevigny plays Lizzie Borden, who brought the famous “axe” to her father and stepmother in Massachusetts in 1892. Stewart plays the Irish maid with whom she forms a close bond. Solid performances, but the drama is more tasteful and less tense than any ax murder movie deserves.

Julianne Moore, in Oscar-winning form, takes center stage as a linguistics professor who loses her memory due to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. But Stewart quietly delivers an accomplished supporting role as one of her daughters, a wannabe actress who moves home to care for her mother.

Stewart’s androgynous looks find ideal outlet as Savannah Knoop, who spent six years masquerading in a naff platinum wig as the non-existent young male author of the best-selling book Misery Lit, which was actually written by her sister-in-law, played by Laura Dern. The craziest literary hoax of the century raises questions of identity and authenticity.

Two of the three angels disappear into the wallpaper in the latest installment in the goofy action-comedy franchise that takes feminism back 50 years every time it reappears. But Stewart catches the eye as goofy Sabina, a rich punk who struts around in wigs and sparkly microskirts, pretending to be girly.

Stewart as Jean Seberg.
The Game of Fame… Stewart is stunning as Jean Seberg. Photo: Phreaker Films/Allstar

Stewart rocks the iconic pixie haircut, pulls off a stunning two-minute close-up, and is absolutely gorgeous in Benedict Andrew’s biopic of Jean Seberg, the American star of Breathless. But the film is hampered by its insistence on giving equal time to one of the FBI agents tasked with tracking Seberg because of their support for African American activists. Who takes care of him? Let’s get back to Kristen!

Stewart had accumulated credit for eight years, cornering the market in every imaginable variation of a grumpy teenage girl when she landed the role of Bella in Stephenie Meyer’s chaste but cuddly romance between a 17-year-old schoolgirl and a 100-year-old Vampire. Bella is unbearable on the side, but in the five-film franchise, Stewart and Robert Pattinson manage to bring personality and charisma to their ciphered characters.

Kristen Stewart in Underwater.
Deep down… Kristen Stewart in Underwater. Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Ph Alan Markfield/Allstar

A bespectacled, blonde buzzcut mechanical engineer, Stewart is definitely the kind of action heroine you’d want by your side if you were a member of a deep-sea drilling crew besieged by tentacles at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. This abyss-meets-Cthulhu scenario might have been a decent alien rip-off if the action scenes weren’t so garbled.

Greg Mottola mixes crude humor and wry observation in his episodic indie hit about a college student who has to take a summer job at an amusement park in the 1980s. In the first of their three films together, Stewart and Eisenberg lead a cult ensemble cast, with Stewart perfectly demonstrating the art of bringing depth to an otherwise dull girlfriend role.

Kristen Stewart in The Runaways.
It’s a blast… Kristen Stewart channels Joan Jett in The Runaways. Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Allstar

The role of rock star Joan Jett may have been tailor-made for Stewart. Floria Sigismondi’s underrated portrait of the seminal 1970s girl group, based on the memoir by Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), is a smash hit, but as usual, our girl commands attention, despite stiff competition from mascara-wearing Michael Shannon as the creepy one Manager of the band Kim Fowley.

This is the best of the stories in Kelly Reichardt’s observational triptych about the everyday lives of women in remote, rural America — and it’s easy to see why a lonely horse wrangler (Lily Gladstone) became a little fixated on part-time law teacher Stewart. Her understated appeal has rarely been harnessed to a more alluring effect.

Stewart and Don McKellar make a hilarious double act as Timlin and Wippet, bureaucrats running a cheap National Organ Registry in David Cronenberg’s zany piece of old-school body-horror sci-fi, set in the avant-garde art scene of a spooky future Athens. Stewart is a bundle of libidinal twitches who clearly gets the brief and can deliver the film’s signature: “Surgery is the new sex.”

Stewart became the first American to receive a César, France’s Oscar equivalent, for her performance as Juliette Binoche’s assistant in Olivier Assaya’s study of a legendary actor at a crossroads in her career. Stewart wisely bows to her veteran co-star, but her sudden departure before the film’s conclusion is a textbook case of scenestealing in absentia.

Pablo Larraín’s Weekend in the Life of Diana, Princess of Wales sees Stewart as a gothic heroine trapped by sinister Windsors at Christmas in the old dark house of Sandringham, where she realizes she must take control of her own destiny. Without physically resembling Diana, Stewart nails her accent and shy mannerisms and was rewarded with an Oscar nomination.

Working again with Assayas, Stewart features in almost every scene in this art-house ghost story — and is intriguing, whether she’s chugging around Paris on a scooter, choosing designer clothes for her celebrity employer, responding to mysterious text messages, or has recently attempted to be with to communicate with her deceased twin brother. As usual, Assayas’ quirky approach will infuriate anyone expecting a conventional narrative, but if you ever needed proof of Stewart’s understated star power, here it is in spades.

Crimes of the Future will be released on September 9th.

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