From romantic comedies to suspense films, here are the greatest films starring America’s darling. In this taut political thriller starring Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts demonstrates she is more than just the girl-next-door type. The film also demonstrates her ability to elicit audience empathy.
1. The Devil Wears Prada
Although Julia Roberts has starred in many award-winning dramas and thrillers, she’s best known for charming romantic comedies. In the 1990s alone, she was a box office queen in hits like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill and Runaway Bride. Since then, she’s continued to shine in a mix of genres, ranging from serious dramas to raunchy comedies.
The Devil Wears Prada is a gleaming example of the actress’s versatility. In this satire of shallow movie-world celebrities, Roberts steals every scene she’s in. She’s a force to be reckoned with, even as she attempts to disguise her true identity. She’s a sexy femme fatale with a heart of gold. And the film’s soundtrack and breezy stylization are a joy to behold. — S.D.
2. Money Monster
Despite the clunky title, this Jodie Foster directed film is a twisty, engaging Wall Street thriller that proves Julia Roberts can do more than just play Snow White’s evil stepmom. Roberts and co-star Ed Harris give solid performances.
A decade after Ocean’s Eleven, Julia Roberts starred as a cynical magazine reporter in this Billy Crystal penned satire of shallow movie-world celebrity, showing her range and the ease with which she carries off a ditzy, overwrought role.
Before she reunited with George Clooney for Ticket to Paradise, Roberts showcased her dramatic range as a woman attempting to start over in Iowa in this weepie. She’s the definition of sisterhood in this classic tearjerker that proves she can do it all. (Note: There is some violence in this film). This is one that kids may want to avoid.
3. Ben Is Back
It sounds like a goofy comedy or an exploitation picture—and, in some ways it is—but the heartbreaking Ben Is Back is one of Julia Roberts’ most powerful films. It lays bare the terror of America’s drug epidemic through its intimate family melodrama about a mother (Roberts) searching for her struggling addict son.
Against the backdrop of a harrowing crisis, Roberts’ Holly is a flinty force of nature refusing to give up on her son, played by Lucas Hedges, even as his life spirals downward. Critics praised the spacemov film for taking the pitfalls and tropes of addiction dramas and subverting them with its utter honesty. It’s a powerful and heartwarming movie that cements Roberts as a master of cinema.
4. Isn’t It Romantic?
As she continues to prove, Julia Roberts can lead films of any genre. She adopts a southern accent and holds her own among an all-star cast in this classic tearjerker about women coming together for each other in times of trouble.
The rom-com that made us all believe in true love is back for its third remake in this 2019 film, and Roberts gives it her all once again. She’s got some seriously cheesy dialogue to work with, but she manages to make you believe that even the most cynical can fall in love.
It might be a bit overrated, but it’s impossible not to get caught up in the drama of this adaptation of the memoir about Elizabeth Gilbert who devotes a year to traveling across Italy (to eat), India (to pray) and Indonesia (to love). Roberts is nothing short of remarkable.
They don’t make movie stars like Roberts anymore — she could sell you on any romantic comedy or light drama, even the ones that were destined to flop. This one was no exception.
Roberts’s performance here is a stunner, showing off her acting chops as a woman trying to outwit her best friend in this screwball comedy. She also proves she’s got the grit to carry off a darkly serious role in this AIDS-era drama.
If you’re a fan of this film, you’ll want to check out the rest of the movie-star-stacked cast, including Dolly Parton, Sally Field, and Shirley MacLaine. This is a classic tearjerker that proves the power of sisterhood. Grab the tissues! You’ll need them.