5 Memorable Movie Roles by Annette Bening

Annette Bening has had a long and impressive career as an actress, starring in a wide variety of movies. Along the way she demonstrated that she can carry a film alongside some of the most talented actors and actresses in Hollywood. Here are 5 of her more memorable roles:

“The Grifters” (1990)
Roy Dillan (John Cusack) is a small-time con man whose estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston) is also in the game. She comes back into his life just in time to save him after he’s beaten up when a grift goes wrong. Annette plays Myra Langtry, who also happens to be a small-time grifter, and Roy finds himself caught between these two women in his life.

Each of them are brilliant in this dark film that explores the worst parts of human nature, but Annette steals the show as the young, beautiful and charming Myra. Annette’s full frontal nude scene in the film showing off her amazing figure adds even more buzz around this performance. Her performance also earns her a Best Supporting Actress nomination and helps launch Annette’s impressive run of hits in the 90s, some of which we’ll cover here.

Screenshot Annette Bening The Grifters

“Regarding Henry” (1991)
Annette stars opposite Harrison Ford who plays Henry Turner, a rich and cocky lawyer who is shot in the head during a routine burglary at a convenience store. Annette plays his wife Sarah who has to help him through his recovery, which leads to a transformation in his character.

This heartwarming film is written by J.J. Abrams and directed by Mike Nichols. Annette plays the type of supportive wife anyone would want in a difficult situation, as she and Henry fall in love all over again. Both deliver nuanced performances that rank among their best work.

Screenshot Annette Bening Regarding Henry

“The American President” (1995)
Annette is at the height of her powers as a Hollywood star in this romantic comedy co-starring Michael Douglas. Annette plays Sydney Ellen Wade, a lovely and slightly neurotic environmental lobbyist, and Douglas plays the widowed U.S. President Andrew Shepherd who falls for her and clumsily starts to court her from the White House.

Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, this film stands as one of the leading romantic comedies of the 90s. Douglas plays the presidential role to perfection, while Annette jumps off the screen with her beauty and charisma. In lesser hands this storyline would have fallen flat or come across as silly, but the sexual and intellectual chemistry between Annette and Douglas is palpable. You’re taken in by the story and you truly believe these two are falling in love, despite the unlikely circumstances.

Screenshot Annette Bening The American President

“American Beauty” (1999)
This quirky film won the Oscar for Best Picture, with Annette starring opposite another acting heavyweight in Kevin Spacey. Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a sexually frustrated suburban dad who dives head first into a mid-life crisis while also becoming infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend. Bening plays Lester’s uptight and ambitious wife Carolyn who is appalled at Lester’s actions.

Carolyn can’t comprehend why her vanilla and submissive husband is suddenly asserting himself as she hilariously lashes out at his antics. She then has an affair with Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher), the uber-successful real estate agent that she idolizes.

Annette is getting older but she’s still gorgeous in this film as she slips into her forties. She also earns a Best Actress Oscar nomination for this performance.

Screenshot Annette Bening American Beauty

“The Kids Are Alright” (2010)
Annette stars opposite the lovely Julianne Moore in this comedy-drama centered around a lesbian couple with two teenage children. Annette plays Nic and Moore plays Jules. Both Nic and Jules have given birth to one of the children, both using the same sperm donor. Things get complicated when the kids want to find their biological father and the sperm bank identifies Paul Hatfield (Mark Ruffalo), a local restaurant owner.

This is another case of a solid script coupled with a talented cast. Nic and Moore face all the typical challenges of parents with teenagers, and then have very different approaches to the introduction of Paul into their lives. Nic is a control-freak, while Jules is the more easygoing partner. Annette, Moore and Ruffalo are perfectly cast here and each of them give excellent performances. Ruffalo is at his best here and Annette scored another Best Actress nomination.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in The Kids Are Alright

We hope we covered some of your favorites. Annette has so many wonderful performances. Give us your thoughts and any other suggestions on Twitter.

  
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