Wild

(Photo by Fox Searchlight/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Reese Witherspoon Movies Ranked

Reese Witherspoon rose to prominence in the late 1990s, a receptive era for twisted comedies (Freeway), teen thrillers (Fear, Cruel Intentions), and quirky satires (Pleasantville, Election). And Witherspoon would become a household name just a few years later through box office hit comedies Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama.

Johnny Cash-biopic Walk the Line would net Witherspoon her first Best Actress Oscar nomination and win for her portrayal as June Carter Cash. Going for more indie-focused, challenging material in the immediate years afterwards produced mixed results, with the likes of Mud and Inherent Vice at the top of that cult-movie pile.

Water for Elephants and Wild (which earned her a second Oscar nom) have been her most recent film glories, but Witherspoon is fully occupied now with her production company, getting women-led television projects off the ground like Big Little Lies, Truth Be Told, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Morning Show. Meanwhile, a third Legally Blonde has long been in the works; for now, we’re ranking all Reese Witherspoon movies by Tomatometer!

#38

Hot Pursuit (2015)
8%

#38
Adjusted Score: 14018%
Critics Consensus: Shrill and unfunny, Hot Pursuit bungles what should have been an easy opportunity to showcase Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara's likable odd-couple chemistry.
Synopsis: Straight-arrow policewoman Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is excited and thrilled about her next assignment. Her task is to escort Daniella Riva... [More]
Directed By: Anne Fletcher

#37

S.F.W. (1994)
12%

#37
Adjusted Score: 11346%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When young slacker Cliff Spab (Stephen Dorff) becomes one of several hostages in a convenience store held by publicity-seeking extremists,... [More]
Directed By: Jefery Levy

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 14884%
Critics Consensus: An uninspired E.B. White adaptation that's targeted at the very young.
Synopsis: In this animated feature, a swan named Louie (Dee Baker) breaks out of his egg to an enthusiastic reception from... [More]

#35

Little Nicky (2000)

#35
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a perfect world, he'd be happy to head-bang in his room all day to heavy metal music. But no,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Brill

#34

Devil's Knot (2013)
25%

#34
Adjusted Score: 28715%
Critics Consensus: Devil's Knot covers fact-based ground that's already been well-traveled with multiple (and far more compelling) documentaries.
Synopsis: The Arkansas town of West Memphis makes national headlines when three teenagers are arrested for the brutal murders of three... [More]
Directed By: Atom Egoyan

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When their plans for an exotic vacation fall apart, unmarried couple Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) must spend... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#32

This Means War (2012)
26%

#32
Adjusted Score: 32620%
Critics Consensus: A career lowlight for all three of its likable stars, This Means War is loud, clumsily edited, and neither romantic nor funny.
Synopsis: CIA operatives FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are inseparable best friends and partners. Together, their good looks,... [More]
Directed By: McG

#31

Jack the Bear (1991)
29%

#31
Adjusted Score: 29647%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A single father, John Leary (Danny DeVito), struggles to raise his two young boys, Jack (Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.) and... [More]
Directed By: Marshall Herskovitz

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lisa Jorgenson's (Reese Witherspoon) entire life has been defined by softball, but at 31, she is deemed too old to... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#29

Home Again (2017)
32%

#29
Adjusted Score: 41932%
Critics Consensus: Home Again gathers a talented crowd of rom-com veterans on both sides of the camera -- all of whom have unfortunately done far better work.
Synopsis: Recently separated from her husband, Alice Kinney decides to start over by moving back to Los Angeles with her two... [More]
Directed By: Hallie Meyers-Shyer

#28
Adjusted Score: 41220%
Critics Consensus: This blonde joke is less funny the second time around.
Synopsis: Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) journeys to Washington, D.C., to have her say about animal rights, but is ignored by every... [More]

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 43066%
Critics Consensus: Reese Witherspoon is charming enough, but the road to Alabama is well-traveled.
Synopsis: New York fashion designer Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) suddenly finds herself engaged to the city's most eligible bachelor. But Melanie's past... [More]
Directed By: Andy Tennant

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 63027%
Critics Consensus: A Wrinkle in Time is visually gorgeous, big-hearted, and occasionally quite moving; unfortunately, it's also wildly ambitious to a fault, and often less than the sum of its classic parts.
Synopsis: Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 21365%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: College student Wyatt (Paul Rudd) is convinced that his hometown girlfriend, Kimberly (Christine Taylor), is cheating on him. Disconsolate at... [More]
Directed By: Jason Bloom

#24

Best Laid Plans (1999)
43%

#24
Adjusted Score: 42080%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Returning to his dreary hometown as a wealthy man, Bryce (Josh Brolin) is unaware of the target his financial gain... [More]
Directed By: Mike Barker

#23

A Far Off Place (1993)
45%

#23
Adjusted Score: 45066%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With a bushman's help, two teens (Reese Witherspoon, Ethan Randall) cross an African desert to elude poachers who killed their... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Salomon

#22

Fear (1996)
46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 46808%
Critics Consensus: Fear has an appealing young cast, but their efforts aren't enough to consistently distract from an increasingly overblown - and illogical - teen stalker story.
Synopsis: When 16-year-old Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) meets 23-year-old David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) at a Seattle nightclub, she falls in love.... [More]
Directed By: James Foley

#21

Rendition (2007)
47%

#21
Adjusted Score: 53416%
Critics Consensus: The impressive cast cannot rescue Rendition, which explores complex issues in woefully simplified terms.
Synopsis: Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), the wife of an Egyptian engineer, tries desperately to track down her husband after he disappears... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#20

Vanity Fair (2004)
50%

#20
Adjusted Score: 54986%
Critics Consensus: A more likable Becky Sharp makes for a less interesting movie.
Synopsis: Born to poor parents, Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) has always aspired to be a member of England's upper classes. Leaving... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#19

Penelope (2006)
53%

#19
Adjusted Score: 57739%
Critics Consensus: Though Penelope has a charming cast and an appealing message, it ultimately suffers from faulty narrative and sloppy direction.
Synopsis: Born with the snout of a pig, young Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci) spends life a virtual prisoner in her home.... [More]
Directed By: Mark Palansky

#18

Cruel Intentions (1999)
55%

#18
Adjusted Score: 58913%
Critics Consensus: This darkly comic drama and its attractive young cast are easy on the eyes, but uneven performances and an uninspired script conspire to foil Cruel Intentions.
Synopsis: Annette (Reese Witherspoon) unwittingly becomes a pawn in Sebastian's (Ryan Phillippe) and Kathryn's (Sarah Michelle Gellar) deliciously diabolical wager of... [More]
Directed By: Roger Kumble

#17

Just Like Heaven (2005)
55%

#17
Adjusted Score: 60824%
Critics Consensus: Delightfully sweet like a lollipop, Just Like Heaven is a dreamy romantic comedy that may give you a toothache when it attempts to broach difficult end of life issues by throwing a cherry on top.
Synopsis: David (Mark Ruffalo) is a recently widowed architect moving into a new apartment in San Francisco. But the apartment isn't... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#16
Adjusted Score: 59880%
Critics Consensus: Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic play is breezy entertainment, helped by an impressive cast, but it also suffers from some peculiar directorial choices that ultimately dampen the film's impact.
Synopsis: Two young gents have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives. Worthing (Colin... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Parker

#15

Twilight (1998)
60%

#15
Adjusted Score: 62557%
Critics Consensus: It suffers from a frustratingly deliberate pace, but with nuanced performances from Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, and Reese Witherspoon to fall back on, Twilight can't help but be compelling.
Synopsis: Harry (Paul Newman), a retired private eye, lives in an apartment on the grounds of the estate owned by his... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 67487%
Critics Consensus: It's a tale tastefully told and beautifully filmed, but Water for Elephants suffers from a pronounced lack of chemistry between its leads.
Synopsis: Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), a veterinary student, is close to graduating when a terrible tragedy forces him to leave school.... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#13

Legally Blonde (2001)
70%

#13
Adjusted Score: 75639%
Critics Consensus: Though the material is predictable and formulaic, Reese Witherspoon's funny, nuanced performance makes this movie better than it would have been otherwise.
Synopsis: Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has it all. She wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. But there... [More]
Directed By: Robert Luketic

#12

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#12
Adjusted Score: 74646%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#11

Sing (2016)
71%

#11
Adjusted Score: 82502%
Critics Consensus: Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted -- albeit familiar -- storyline that lives up to its title.
Synopsis: Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a... [More]
Directed By: Garth Jennings

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#9

Inherent Vice (2014)
73%

#9
Adjusted Score: 83386%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#8

Freeway (1996)
77%

#8
Adjusted Score: 78065%
Critics Consensus: A modern update on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Freeway is an audacious black comedy with a star-making performance from the young Reese Witherspoon.
Synopsis: Following the arrest of her mother, Ramona (Amanda Plummer), young Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) decides to go in search of... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Bright

#7

Walk the Line (2005)
82%

#7
Adjusted Score: 90385%
Critics Consensus: Superior acting and authentic crooning capture the emotional subtleties of the legend of Johnny Cash with a freshness that is a pleasure to watch.
Synopsis: The rise of country music legend Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) begins with his days as a boy growing up on... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Impressed by high school student David's (Tobey Maguire) devotion to a 1950s family TV show, a mysterious television repairman (Don... [More]
Directed By: Gary Ross

#5

The Good Lie (2014)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 89196%
Critics Consensus: The Good Lie sacrifices real-life nuance in order to turn its true story into a Hollywood production, but the results still add up to a compelling, well-acted, and deeply moving drama.
Synopsis: After their village is destroyed and their parents killed by Northern militia, Sudanese orphans Theo, his siblings and other survivors... [More]
Directed By: Philippe Falardeau

#4

Wild (2014)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99462%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully moving and emotionally resonant, Wild finds director Jean-Marc Vallée and star Reese Witherspoon working at the peak of their respective powers.
Synopsis: Driven to the edge by the loss of her beloved mother (Laura Dern), the dissolution of her marriage and a... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 90885%
Critics Consensus: It's sentimental, and some viewers may feel manipulated by the melodramatic final act, but The Man in the Moon offers a finely drawn coming-of-age story with an excellent cast -- including Reese Witherspoon in her film debut.
Synopsis: Maureen Trant (Emily Warfield) and her younger sibling Dani (Reese Witherspoon) share a strong connection, but local boy Court Foster... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mulligan

#2

Election (1999)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 97443%
Critics Consensus: Election successfully combines dark humor and intelligent writing in this very witty and enjoyable film.
Synopsis: Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a well-liked high school government teacher, can't help but notice that successful student Tracy Flick (Reese... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#1

Mud (2013)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103139%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by a strong performance from Matthew McConaughey in the title role, Mud offers an engaging Southern drama that manages to stay sweet and heartwarming without being sappy.
Synopsis: While exploring a Mississippi River island, Arkansas boys Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) encounter Mud (Matthew McConaughey),a fugitive... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Nichols

In Theaters This Week

 

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) 68%

Rating: PG-13, for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity.

Guy Ritchie’s big-screen version of the 1960s TV spy series is a great example of what the British director does so well through his signature style. It’s slick and sexy, fizzy and funny. But it can also be quite violent – although less so than his best films, the R-rated Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla. You don’t need to know a thing about the television show (I certainly didn’t) to have a good time here. Henry Cavill stars as a suave, American CIA agent sent on a mission to East Berlin during the Cold War to rescue a beautiful mechanic (Alicia Vikander) whose estranged father is a world-renowned rocket scientist working on a nuclear bomb. Also on the hunt for her is a Russian KGB agent (Armie Hammer), who’s as highly skilled as Cavill’s character but burdened with a beast of a temper. Multiple shootouts, car chases and fistfights ensue, including one in a men’s bathroom between the two spies. (Soon afterward, they learn they’re going to be partners.) Characters are fatally shot but there’s no blood. There’s also a bit of torture, with one supporting character dying in spectacularly grisly fashion – but we see it from a distance, so there’s sort of a detachment to how disturbing it is, and it’s played for laughs. If sex is what you’re worried about, Cavill’s character effortlessly beds the hotel’s front desk clerk, whom we see afterward from behind in nothing but a pair of lacy panties. And there’s a playfully flirty fight between Hammer and a drunk Vikander that results in a trashed hotel room. This is probably OK for tweens and older.


New on DVD

 

Hot Pursuit (2015) 8%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material.

This mismatched-buddy comedy is probably suitable for tweens and older, but it’s terrible for everybody regardless of age. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara co-star as obnoxious opposites forced together on a road trip. Witherspoon plays a fast-talking, by-the-book police officer who’s eager to prove herself after an embarrassing Taser incident. Vergara plays the sassy, flashy wife of a high-ranking drug cartel member whom Witherspoon’s character must escort to Dallas to testify before entering witness protection. When they’re confused for dangerous criminals, madcap hilarity (and misogynistic humor) ensue. There’s a bit involving a car crash which sends a cloud of cocaine floating into the sky — and into Witherspoon’s system, which makes her even more manic. Lots of gunshots are fired — some resulting in death — but since this is a PG-13 movie, we don’t see much carnage. There’s some language. And at one point, Vergara and Witherspoon pretend to be lesbian lovers, making out with each other to distract a suspicious farmer. It’s hilarious.

In another lackluster week on home video, we’ve got a road trip buddy comedy, a horror film with a unique gimmick, a couple of documentaries on celebrities who died before their time, and a selection from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:


Hot Pursuit (2015) 8%

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara star in this road trip action comedy about an uptight cop and a federal witness on the run from both gangsters and the police after an unfortunate mixup. Extras on the Blu-ray include a piece on Witherspoon and Vergara’s chemistry, a video of the two attempting to speak each other’s language, a gag reel, and an alternate ending.

Get it Here


Unfriended (2014) 62%

Told in real time as an on-screen group video chat, this horror flick finds five friends terrorized in a chat session by a supernatural force who claims to be the spirit of a classmate bullied into suicide a year earlier. Unfortunately, there are no bonus features.

Get it Here


I Am Chris Farley (2015) 71%

This documentary chronicles the life of the beloved Saturday Night Live star, featuring interviews with family members and famous colleagues like David Spade and Dan Aykroyd, photographs, video clips, home movies, and more. No special features listed.

Get it Here


Soaked in Bleach (2015) 30%

One of two docs this year looking back at the life of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, Soaked in Bleach specifically takes a closer look at the circumstances surrounding Cobain’s death, via the research gathered by the private investigator Courtney Love hired to track him down just days before his death. Available on DVD.

Get it Here


The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) 82%

Lastly, from the Criterion Collection, we have Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons in Karel Reisz’s inventive, Oscar-nominated adaptation of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, alternating between a Victorian-era romantic affair and a present-day film adaptation of the same story. Special features include new interviews with Irons and Streep and an episode of The South Bank Show with Reisz, screenwriter Harold Pinter, and John Fowles, author of the source novel.

Get it Here

50 Worst Summer Movies of All Time

Cinema history is filled with movies that got burned under the hot summer sun, and every year, we get our share of critically panned big-budget duds (this year’s slate includes such low achievers asFantastic Four and Hot Pursuit). However, it takes a rare kind of awful to merit inclusion into RT’s Worst Summer Movies list, a compendium of cinematic horrors that were granted a wide theatrical release between the months of May and September in the years since the release of Jaws in 1975 kickstarted the blockbuster era. Without further ado, we present our countdown of the 50 worst-reviewed summer movies!

 

 



Hot Pursuit

8%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material.

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara star in this screechy, mismatched-buddy road-trip comedy. Witherspoon plays a fast-talking, by-the-book police officer who’s eager to prove herself after an embarrassing Taser mishap. (Police brutality may not be the best source of laughs these days.) Vergara plays the sassy, blingy wife of a high-ranking drug cartel member whom Witherspoon’s character must escort to Dallas to testify before entering witness protection. When they’re confused for dangerous criminals, madcap hilarity (and misogynistic humor) ensue. There’s a bit involving a car crash which sends a cloud of cocaine floating into the sky — and into Witherspoon’s system, which makes her even more manic. Lots of gunshots are fired — some resulting in death — but since this is a PG-13 movie, we don’t see much carnage. There’s some language. And at one point, Vergara and Witherspoon pretend to be lesbian lovers, making out with each other to distract a suspicious farmer. This movie is probably suitable for tweens and older, but it’s terrible for everybody regardless of age.

NEW ON DVD



Selma

99%

Rating: PG-13, for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language.

Director Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-winning film, which follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he led the fight for equal voting rights in the segregated South in 1965, is brutal to watch but essential. It’s beautifully made and powerfully acted — led by David Oyelowo’s charismatic and convincing turn as King — and it provides a useful lesson about the civil rights movement. But the cruelty and closed-mindedness it shows will be way too disturbing for most young viewers. DuVernay vividly depicts the violent, bloody backlash King and his fellow peaceful protesters endured, especially during their first attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. This is probably suitable for older tweens and up, but eventually, it’s a must-see movie for all young people.

This week, Team Tomato tells you whether or not to pursue Hot Pursuit starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara, in theaters this Friday.

Then, it’s a spoiler-heavy segment about Game of Thrones as Grae Drake, Sarah Ricard, and Ryan Fujitani discuss season five’s fourth episode, “Sons of the Harpy” [06:35]. You know nothing, Jon Snow!

Finally, Sarah interviews Curb Your Enthusiasm director Robert Weide [25:12] about his new Nick Frost series, Mr. Sloane, airing this month on KCET, Dish Network, and DirecTV. For more info, visit the Mr. Sloane Facebook page.

Mr. Sloane premieres on Link TV (DirecTV and Dish Network) on May 17 at 8 p.m. EST/9 p.m. PST, with encore presentations starting at 8 p.m. EST/PST on May 19, 20, and 21.

This week at the movies, we’ve got ladies on the run (Hot Pursuit, starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara) and reunited high school classmates (The D Train, starring Jack Black and James Marsden). What do the critics have to say?


Hot Pursuit

8%

On paper, Hot Pursuit looks like a can’t-miss proposition: a buddy chase picture staring two capable comedic actresses. Unfortunately, critics say the film misses very badly indeed, stranding the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara in a plot of startling laziness and predictability. Witherspoon plays Cooper, a straight-laced cop tasked with transporting Daniella Riva (Vergara) across Texas to testify in court against a big-time drug trafficker. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, and soon the pair are being pursued by would-be assassins and corrupt cops. The critics say Hot Pursuit is a comic dead zone, stuffed with stereotypes and rote situations that fail to conjure much beyond a stray chuckle here and there. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we take count down Witherspoon’s best-reviewed films, and watch our video interview with Witherspoon and Vergara.)



The D Train

53%

Part bromance, part drama, part farce, part cringe comedy, The D Train is nothing if not ambitious. Unfortunately, critics say it’s only partly successful in realizing its various aims, and the result is thought-provoking and well-acted but tonally inconsistent. Jack Black stars as Dan, a perpetual loser who ventures from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles in order to convince Oliver (James Marsden), a former classmate and moderately successful actor, to attend their high school reunion and burnish Dan’s reputation. After a few nights of hard partying, however, Dan discovers he’s gotten more than he bargained for. The pundits say Black and Marsden are both excellent, but the The D Train can’t quite find the perfect balance between moments of darkness and light.

What’s On TV:


“Formalized, Complex, and Costly” (83 percent) offers satisfying action and a good shock, though the season is developing more slowly than some might prefer.

All Happy Families Are Alike” (59 percent) brings season one of Gotham to a somewhat confusing conclusion, but some exciting twists hint at a promising, and hopefully more consistent, season two.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, a documentary about the man who plays the beloved Sesame Street character, is at 84 percent.
  • 1001 Grams, a comedy about a Norwegian scientist whose love life is in tatters as she journeys to Paris for a conference on the weight of a kilogram, is at 83 percent.
  • The Seven Five, a documentary about a spectacularly corrupt New York City policeman, is at 80 percent.
  • Noble, a based-on-true-events drama about an Irish woman who worked to shelter homeless children in Vietnam, is at 79 percent.
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a comedy about a 100-year-old man who climbs out a window and disappears, is at 66 percent.
  • 5 Flights Up, starring Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton in a dramedy about an aging couple in the process of selling their apartment, is at 63 percent.
  • Maggie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin in a thriller about a father attempting to save his daughter from a zombie infection, is at 56 percent.
  • Saint Laurent, a biopic of the famed fashion designer, is at 50 percent.
  • Spike Island, a drama about members of a teenage rock band who attend a Stone Roses gig in order to give the group a demo tape, is at 48 percent.
  • Playing It Cool, starring Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan in a dramedy about an aging couple in the process of selling their apartment, is at 31 percent.
  • Preggoland, a comedy about a woman who fakes a pregnancy and can’t come clean without ruffling feathers, is at 27 percent.
  • Bravetown, starring Josh Duhamel and Laura Dern in a drama about a New York City teen and aspiring DJ who’s sent to live with his estranged father in a blue collar North Dakota town, is at 25 percent.
  • Skin Trade, starring Dolph Lundgren and Tony Jaa in an action thriller about two guys on the trail of the head of a human trafficking cartel, is at 13 percent.

Grae Drake talks to Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara from Hot Pursuit about being handcuffed together, and who enjoyed it more. Also, director Anne Fletcher weighs in on who she would like to spend time shackled to.

She’s one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood, with dozens of films to her credit and a lifetime box office gross total topping a billion dollars — and this weekend, Reese Witherspoon will add to that impressive sum with Hot Pursuit, an action comedy pairing her with Sofia Vergara. To celebrate Reese’s return to the big screen, as well as a terrific 2014 that included her Oscar-nominated work in Wild as well as a small supporting appearance in Inherent Vice, we decided to dedicate this week’s Total Recall to an appreciative look back at some of her best-reviewed releases.


10. LEGALLY BLONDE (2001) 68%


Critics tend to vilify the romantic comedy, but it’s an undeniable rite of passage for twentysomething actresses in Hollywood, and with 2001’s Legally Blonde, Witherspoon managed to enjoy the perks of the genre (such as the pay raise that comes with toplining a $141 million smash hit) without succumbing to its worst pitfalls (including dreadful scripts and scathing reviews). While Legally Blonde is far from groundbreaking, and its plot hinges on any number of silly contrivances, it’s never less than likable — largely thanks to a magnetic performance from its talented leading lady. In the words of Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum, “As an actor of distinction who’s all of 25, Reese Witherspoon reveals interesting dark roots even as she plays golden girls.”

Watch Trailer

 


9. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS (2009) 72%


In real life, Reese Witherspoon is a hair under five feet, two inches tall, which might be why the idea of playing a freakishly tall woman nicknamed “Ginormica” appealed to her — or maybe it was just the chance to score one of those cushy voice acting gigs that all the major celebrities seem to get these days. Either way, the result was Monsters vs. Aliens, Witherspoon’s only film of 2009 and a $381 million 3D hit for DreamWorks Animation. Alongside the famous voices of Seth Rogen, Kiefer Sutherland, Steven Colbert, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnett, and others, Witherspoon helped wreak family-friendly cartoon havoc — and helped earn praise from critics like the Houston Chronicle’s Amy Biancolli, who wrote, “True, the story doesn’t amount to much, but the plot tends to take a back seat when you’ve got a not-quite-50-foot version of Reese Witherspoon duking it out with a mighty alien robot alongside the Golden Gate Bridge.”

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8. FREEWAY (1996) 76%


She’d made a few movies by the mid-’90s, but it was Reese Witherspoon’s work in 1996’s Freeway that really made critics sit up and take notice. At the center of this modern take on Red Riding Hood, playing a juvenile delinquent whose trip to her grandmother’s house is impeded by a wolfish sexual predator (Kiefer Sutherland), she essentially used her smoldering performance as a challenge, daring viewers to look away. It was a challenge unmet by many critics, including the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Margaret A. McGurk, who wrote, “I didn’t particularly want to like Freeway, but I couldn’t help myself. Reese Witherspoon made me.”

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7. WALK THE LINE (2005) 82%


Witherspoon joined the ranks of Oscar-winning leading ladies for her sensitive portrayal of June Carter Cash in this Johnny Cash biopic, which follows the early years of the Man in Black (played by Joaquin Phoenix), including the beginning of his career and the romance that would endure through more than four decades of his life. One of the year’s biggest hits and a five-time Academy Award nominee, Walk the Line wasn’t without its concessions to Hollywood formula — or without its critics, including Cash’s daughter Rosanne — but most scribes had plenty of praise for the film, including Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer, who wrote, “I advise you catch up with Walk the Line, if only for Ms. Witherspoon’s transcendent joyousness as a still-growing legend within a legend.”

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6. PLEASANTVILLE (1998) 85%


Gary Ross’ Pleasantville could easily have been nothing more than a gentle, simple satire about the way nostalgia changes our memories, but beneath the surface of the story — which sends a pair of squabbling modern teens (played by Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire) into the world of a 1950s sitcom — there’s some thoughtful commentary on civil rights and the cruelly arbitrary ways society can oppress those who don’t fit in. Pleasantville wasn’t a blockbuster hit, but it earned some of the best reviews of the year from critics like Louis B. Hobson of Jam! Movies, who wrote, “This wondrous little fable is a cross between The Truman Show and Back to the Future — and it’s better than both.”

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5. THE GOOD LIE (2014) 88%


Befitting its title, The Good Lie practiced a bit of well-meaning subterfuge with its marketing materials, selling this fact-based drama about the American lives of Sudanese refugees once known as “lost boys” by putting Witherspoon’s face front and center on the poster. But if her character — a Kansas City settlement worker given the life-altering task of helping her charges adjust to their new environment — isn’t truly central to the story, her performance remains a solid anchor in a film whose ingredients run the gamut from Hollywood gloss to real-life horror. “This is very much a mainstream movie meant to shine a light on the plight of people who were ignored for too long,” wrote the Arizona Republic’s Bill Goodykoontz. “For that reason alone, it’s well worth seeing.”

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4. THE MAN IN THE MOON (1991) 89%


For her first film, Witherspoon found herself in good company, including director Robert Mulligan (concluding a career that included To Kill a Mockingbird and Summer of ’42) and co-stars Sam Waterston and Tess Harper. But in this sweet coming-of-age drama, it’s Witherspoon’s character that largely drives the story, and she carried the film with an assured performance that belied her youth and lack of experience. Man in the Moon “gets an outstandingly natural performance out of Miss Witherspoon, who has no trouble carrying a lot of the film single-handedly,” wrote Janet Maslin for the New York Times. “It falls to her to remind the audience that this story is at heart about a family, and she does.”

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3. WILD (2014) 90%


The sort of physically and dramatically demanding role that an actor can spend an entire career waiting to score, Wild gave Witherspoon the opportunity to shoulder an entire film pretty much on her own — and she more than delivered, bringing Cheryl Strayed’s unflinching memoir to the screen with a suitably fierce drama (directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from a screenplay by Nick Hornby) that takes viewers on a harrowing hike along the Pacific Crest Trail while reliving key moments from its protagonist’s bumpy past. At the forefront of it all are solid performances from Witherspoon and Laura Dern, both of whom picked up Oscar nominations for their efforts. As Mick LaSalle wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, “This pensive, reflective, complicated Witherspoon feels more real than the one she left behind — and more in keeping with how she started, in hard-hitting independent movies 20 years ago.”

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2. ELECTION (1999) 92%


It takes a special type of young actress to embody a character who is both seductive enough to destroy one high school teacher’s career and irritating enough to turn another teacher into an election-fixing madman — and that’s exactly what Witherspoon did as Election‘s Tracy Flick, the overachieving senior whose steamrolling campaign for student body president inspires one of her teachers (Matthew Broderick) to take desperate measures to keep her out of office. Critics expected great things from writer/director Alexander Payne after 1996’s Citizen Ruth, and Election delivered — and it also helped cement Witherspoon’s burgeoning reputation, thanks to reviews from critics like CNN’s Paul Clinton, who wrote, “Reese Witherspoon is proving to be one of the most versatile actresses of her generation.”

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1. MUD (2013) 98%


Just when it seemed like she might be forever doomed to a lifetime of romantic comedies like Four Christmases and This Means War, Witherspoon turned up next to her fellow rom-com refugee Matthew McConaughey in 2013’s Mud — and although he received much of the movie’s accolades for one of the roles that helped spark his so-called “McConaissance,” there really are no false notes or out-of-place performances in writer-director Jeff Nichols’ tale of a mysterious man who claims to be on the run from bounty hunters and desperate to flee with the love of his life. Calling it “More than a mere tribute to Twain and Dickens,” the Vine’s Alice Tynan wrote, “This has all the makings of a modern classic.”

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