7. Legally Blonde (2001)
This movie requires no introduction. One of the best chick flicks that is still loved by many, this movie gave us the bubbly Elle Woods character. It is rather hard to picture anyone other than Witherspoon playing this role. Even though the script had many loopholes, Witherspoon’s brilliant and magnetic performance took this movie to a whole new level. This movie also shifted her career to the top gear.
Her performance earned her a Golden Globe nominee for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and a Golden Satellite Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical. She also won a number of awards, including the MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.
The massive success of this movie at the box office led to a sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde in 2003, a spinoff direct-to-DVD Legally Blondes in 2009. In 2007, Legally Blonde: The Musical was also premiered on Broadway.
6. Mud (2012)
This thriller crime movie which revolves around two friends who find a mysterious man claiming to have murdered a man and is now on a run from bounty hunters but is more focused on finding the love of his life. Witherspoon is charismatic as the girlfriend of the mystery man.
After a series of successful rom-coms, Witherspoon’s performance in this role was a major reminder for all that she is not merely amazing in chick flicks but is also brilliant in other roles as well. This movie initially opened as a limited release in theaters but was later widely released. It grossed $32.6 million and was highly praised.
5. Pleasantville (1998)
Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire play the role of siblings in the 90’s who get transported in 50’s TV show. This is Witherspoon’s movie through and through as she shines with a performance which is a combination of 50’s good girl appearance and modern don’t-mess-with-me sassy woman.
What appears to be a satire about the ways nostalgia alters memories, the story is much deeper and thoughtfully touches the topic of civil rights and the cruel society norms of oppressing the ones who don’t fit in. Even though this movie was not a major hit at the box office, it received some of the most amazing reviews from the critics on the acting, thematic elements and visuals.
4. Walk the Line (2005)
This movie is a chronicle of Johnny Cash, a country music legend. It narrates his early life in a farm to his rise to fame. Witherspoon plays the second wife of Johnny Cash. This movie is considered as one of the best music biopic ever made and was a major hit, earning Academy Award nominations and winning many accolades.
This movie grossed $186 million worldwide. Witherspoon breathtaking performance earned her an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, BAFTA Film Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, along with several other awards and nominations.
3. Election (1999)
Witherspoon again proves her versatility and brilliance as an actress with this movie. She portrays Tracy Flick who is a overachieving senior who heads a student body president campaign with such ambition that it leads one of his teachers to take drastic measures to keep her out of the office.
Her performance earned her massive praises from the critics and numerous awards. She was nominated for an ACCA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and CFCA Award for Best Actress.
2. Wild (2014)
This movie is based on Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed. This is a dramatically and physically demanding role which most actors spend their entire career waiting to get. Witherspoon got this incredible opportunity and delivered the memoir with such fierceness and brilliance that you would feel like you are hiking along with her on the Pacific Crest Trail.
This movie received great reviews from the critics, especially for Witherspoon’s performance. She earned an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and BAFTA Film nomination for Best Leading Actress.
1. The Good Lie (2014)
This movie is about a group of refugees from Sudan who get a chance to settle in America where they meet an employment agency counselor and their lives changes forever. Witherspoon portrays the role of a settlement worker who is handed the life-altering task of assisting the refugees in adjusting to their new environment.
Even though her role is not a central one. Her performance creates a solid foundation that highlights the real-life horrors of refugees. She totally shines in this movie and gives one of her finest performance ever.
Reese Witherspoon’s movies are all so outstanding that merely highlighting 15 of them just won’t do, the following three also deserve an honorable mention:
- Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
- Overnight Delivery (1998)
- Best Laid Plans (1999)
Which of the best Reese Witherspoon movies did we miss? Comment below and let us know what you think, and don’t forget to mention your favorite Witherspoon film.