Today marks the release of one of the year’s biggest and most anticipated films, Interstellar, and as part of our celebration this week we’ve been highlighting the works of both the movie’s director and its headlining stars. Anne Hathaway has been known over the years for her poise and class, and she’s been building a career around pushing her own character limits, creating a formidable reputation as a versatile and reliable presence in and film. In anticipation of her biggest role to date, let’s take a look at some of her best performances.
6. The Devil Wears Prada – Andy Sachs
Let’s kick things off with 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, where Anne Hathaway gives a perfectly fine performances as Andy Sachs, a happy, mediocre young woman who is faced with the unfortunate taste of working under the ultimate fashion tyrant, brought to life by the force of nature that is Meryl Streep. As a result, said perfectly fine performance is completely overshadowed by her counterpart, but all things considered, Hathaway more than holds her own in this clever satirical comedy that’s engaging enough to draw in even the non-fashionistas of the movie-loving world. Although Hathaway was overshadowed, she was far from completely buried by Streep’s presence, which speaks volumes of the young actress’s ability at the time.
5. The Princess Diaries – Mia Thermopolis
The geek turned chic storyline is not an uncommon one in a film targeted at teenage girls, but rarely has it been executed with as much charm as in 2001’s The Princess Diaries. Hathway’s thousand watt smile and adorable awkward demeanor adds a fresh, more relatable face to represent the age old Cinderella story/Pygmalian tale. It’s not groundbreaking cinema, but it’s family friendly entertainment at its finest, and Hathaway establishes herself as a capable actress, sparking a string of roles showcasing the perky, charming persona she exhibits in her first major big screen performance.
4. Love and Other Drugs – Maggie Murdock
Love and Other Drugs was released in the middle of a surge of romantic comedies that catered more to the adult audiences rather than the teens, who were too busy waiting for the next Twilight installment to watch non-vampire rom-coms. Although I prefer both of the more light-hearted versions of the heavily recycled “sex with no strings” plot from 2011 (Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached), Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal’s chemistry manages to make this more heavy-handed, forcibly sentimental version still worth a watch. Hathaway plays Maggie, a spunky, playful woman dealing with the early stages of Parkinson’s. The internal battle she wages with her desire to protect herself and those around her as her health declines and she falls for Gyllenhaal’s character makes for one of the more genuine leading ladies of the romantic comedy genre.
3. Rachel Getting Married – Kym
Director Jonathan Demme doesn’t shy away from either end of the emotional spectrum in this 2008 drama that, despite its critical acclaim, remains a criminally under-watched story of family, struggle, and unconditional love. In Rachel Getting Married, Anne Hathaway gives a visceral, unsettling performance as Kym, a drug addict with a chip on her shoulder, fresh out of rehab to attend/crash her sister’s nuptial celebration. Hathaway’s portrayal of such a volatile, flawed character is distinct step in a new direction for her career, showing viewers that her acting capabilities stretch further than the endearing, yet cookie cutter rom-com stock roles she had become known for over the years. Her efforts were rewarded with a Best Actress Oscar nomination, and although she lost out that year, the A-listers she was nominated alongside that year is a testament to the caliber of her performance.
2. Les Misérables – Fantine
Tom Hooper’s attempt at a big screen adaptation of the famous musical garnered tremendous buzz surrounding the musicality and compelling performances by some of the heavy hitters that fill its cast. Hathaway walked away with the ultimate prize, snagging the highest honor a Hollywood actor can receive for her supporting role for as Fantine, a woman who sacrifices everything to provide care for her daughter. The heartbreakingly raw, dramatic emotion alone she lends to this iconic character is impressive, but coupled with Hathaway’s ability to blow away the film’s rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” secured her spot as a star with limitless talent. And although this performance may be the one that packs the biggest emotional punch and made me shed a tear or two, it didn’t give me the profound joy I feel when I watch her in my top pick.
1.The Dark Knight Rises – Selina Kyle
No, Anne Hathaway’s role as Selina Kyle isn’t the one that earned her an Oscar, but it is the one that made audiences everywhere (including myself) realize with shock that the girl can kick some serious ass. Up until this point, Hathaway had more than proven herself capable of dialing up both the drama and the cutesy romance, but Catwoman was precious territory. Batman franchise fans everywhere were furious when the casting news was released during the height of speculation over Nolan’s final Dark Knight chapter, claiming the actress was a far cry from the sharp, whipsmart, yet slightly unstable Selina Kyle.
Much of the positive attention surrounding this film focuses on Tom Hardy’s turn as the truly frightening and looming villain, Bain, but not nearly enough praise has been given to Anne Hathaway for her surprisingly spunky and slick performance. She nailed cat burglar’s sleek, sexy, demeanor while trading witty quips with Bale’s Batman, flipping the switch between villain and antihero seamlessly enough to create the likable persona we’ve come to expect from Catwoman’s character. Hathaway isn’t just a scene stealer in The Dark Knight Rises, she’s my favorite thing about the film and the best leading lady Gotham’s ever had.