Universal/courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Naomi Watts Movies Ranked

Unless you were some kind of Home and Away fanatic (in which case, you saw early appearances of Chris Hemsworth, Heath Ledger, and Isla Fisher on the Australian soap), or happened to catch her in the miniseries Brides of Christ, it seemed like Naomi Watts came out of nowhere when she delivered a commanding and unsettling lead performance in Mulholland Drive. And you’d be right in feeling so: The 10 years between that Aussie soap and David Lynch’s surreal masterpiece produced only bit parts for Watts in Hollywood, effectively making Mulholland her big debut and calling card.

One year later in 2002, Watts established her among the scream queen elite with The Ring, kicking off Tinseltown’s obsession with remaking Asian horror for years following. I Heart Huckabees and 21 Grams gave her further credit with the arthouse crowd, with the latter rewarding Watts with her first Best Actress Oscar nomination. Her second would come with gut-wrenching Indian Ocean tsunami disaster film The Impossible in 2012. In between noms, she would release her biggest movie (2005’s King Kong), and work with David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises), Michael Haneke (Funny Games), and Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar).

Watts, like apparently half of Hollywood A-listers, was also suckered into appearing Movie 43. Fortunately, Certified Fresh material in recent years like Birdman, St. Vincent, While We’re Young, and Chuck more than make up the difference. Her most recent film is also another Certified flick: Luce, an elevated drama that released in August.

#45

Movie 43 (2013)
5%

#45
Adjusted Score: 7.694%
Critics Consensus: A star-studded turkey, Movie 43 is loaded with gleefully offensive and often scatological gags, but it's largely bereft of laughs.
Synopsis: From the twisted minds of producers Peter Farrelly (Hall Pass, Shallow Hal) and Charles Wessler (There's Something About Mary, Dumb... [More]

#44

Dream House (2011)
6%

#44
Adjusted Score: 8.009%
Critics Consensus: Dream House is punishingly slow, stuffy, and way too obvious to be scary.
Synopsis: Successful publisher Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quit a job in New York City to relocate his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz),... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#43

Diana (2013)
8%

#43
Adjusted Score: 11.408%
Critics Consensus: Naomi Watts tries hard in the title role, but Diana buries her efforts under a shoddy script and clumsy direction.
Synopsis: DIANA is a compelling portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales during the final two years of her life. The film... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Hirschbiegel

#42

Shut In (2016)
9%

#42
Adjusted Score: 9.822%
Critics Consensus: Fatally undermined by a clichéd, confused plot and a total absence of thrills, Shut In wastes its talented cast -- and viewers' time.
Synopsis: SHUT IN is a heart-pounding thriller starring Naomi Watts as a widowed child psychologist who lives an isolated existence in... [More]
Directed By: Farren Blackburn

#41
Adjusted Score: 17.965%
Critics Consensus: Allegiant improves on previous entries in The Divergent Series on a few superficial levels, but they aren't enough to counteract a sense of growing boredom with a franchise that's gone on too long.
Synopsis: After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris (Shailene Woodley) must escape with Four (Theo James) and go beyond the wall... [More]
Directed By: Robert Schwentke

#40

Persons Unknown (1996)
14%

#40
Adjusted Score: 6.613%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This tightly woven, fast-paced thriller begins when Amanda (Kelly Lynch), a sexy gal on in-line skates, trips because alcoholic ex-cop/security... [More]
Directed By: George Hickenlooper

#39

The Sea of Trees (2016)
15%

#39
Adjusted Score: 16.034%
Critics Consensus: Dull, maudlin, and fundamentally empty, The Sea of Trees extinguishes the contributions of a talented cast and marks a depressing low point in director Gus Van Sant's career.
Synopsis: The film follows Arthur Brennan (McConaughey) trekking into Aokigahara, known as the Sea of Trees, a mysterious dense forest at... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#38

Down (The Shaft) (2001)
20%

#38
Adjusted Score: 3.837%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At the Millennium Building in NYC, the elevators have a problem... they just can't stop killing people! Pregnant women, skater... [More]
Directed By: Dick Maas

#37

The Ring Two (2005)
20%

#37
Adjusted Score: 26.108%
Critics Consensus: Ring Two serves up horror cliches, and not even Hideo Nakata, the director of the movies from which this one is based, can save the movie from a dull screenplay full of absurdities.
Synopsis: A terrifying legacy haunts a single mother in this sequel to the frightening box-office hit The Ring. Hoping to leave... [More]
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 27.462%
Critics Consensus: The Book of Henry deserves a few points for ambition, but its tonal juggling act -- and a deeply maudlin twist -- may leave viewers gaping in disbelief rather than choking back tears.
Synopsis: Sometimes things are not always what they seem, especially in the small suburban town where the Carpenter family lives. Single... [More]
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow

#35

Stay (2005)
27%

#35
Adjusted Score: 30.688%
Critics Consensus: A muddled brain-teaser, Stay has a solid cast and innovative visuals but little beneath the surface.
Synopsis: Marc Forster's psychological thriller Stay stars Ewan McGregor as Sam Foster, a psychologist who begins to feel his grip on... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#34

3 Generations (2017)
32%

#34
Adjusted Score: 33.017%
Critics Consensus: 3 Generations squanders a worthy premise on a thinly written story that focuses on dramatic signposts at the expense of genuine character development.
Synopsis: 3 GENERATIONS tells the stirring and touching story of three generations of a family living under one roof in New... [More]
Directed By: Gaby Dellal

#33

Adore (2013)
34%

#33
Adjusted Score: 36.107%
Critics Consensus: Naomi Watts and Robin Wright give it their all, but they can't quite make Adore's trashy, absurd plot believable.
Synopsis: Set in an Australian seaside town of otherworldly beauty and shot in lush 35mm Cinemascope, ADORE establishes an aura of... [More]
Directed By: Anne Fontaine

#32

Le Divorce (2003)
36%

#32
Adjusted Score: 39.674%
Critics Consensus: A mixed bag of uneven tones that feels flat.
Synopsis: In this modern-day comedy of manners, American sisters Isabel and Roxy come face to face with the complicated social mores... [More]
Directed By: James Ivory

#31

Tank Girl (1995)
38%

#31
Adjusted Score: 40.037%
Critics Consensus: While unconventional, Tank Girl isn't particularly clever or engaging, and none of the script's copious one-liners have any real zing.
Synopsis: This wild, futuristic action-fantasy is set in the year 2033 where drought and pollution have turned the Earth into a... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Talalay

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 6.677%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Boris Plotz, Director of the Plotz Funeral Home, dreamed of only two things as a young boy: dancing and Betty.... [More]
Directed By: Nich Hurran, Nick Hurran

#29

J. Edgar (2011)
43%

#29
Adjusted Score: 50.335%
Critics Consensus: Leonardo DiCaprio gives a predictably powerhouse performance, but J. Edgar stumbles in all other departments with cheesy makeup, poor lighting, confusing narrative, and humdrum storytelling.
Synopsis: J. Edgar explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#28
Adjusted Score: 48.54%
Critics Consensus: It's sporadically amusing, and typically well-cast, but You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger isn't one of Woody Allen's more inspired late-period efforts.
Synopsis: Two couples find their lives turned upside down by their unfulfilled longings in this ensemble comedy from director Woody Allen.... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#27

Ellie Parker (2005)
50%

#27
Adjusted Score: 50.815%
Critics Consensus: Despite some poignant commentary about struggling actors and Naomi Watts' inspired performance, Ellie Parker stutters in making the transition from short to feature length.
Synopsis: Naomi Watts produces and stars in Ellie Parker, a semi-autobiographical story of an Australian actress struggling to make it in... [More]
Directed By: Scott Coffey

#26

Funny Games (2008)
52%

#26
Adjusted Score: 57.003%
Critics Consensus: Though made with great skill, Funny Games is nevertheless a sadistic exercise in chastising the audience.
Synopsis: In this provocative and brutal thriller, a vacationing family gets an unexpected visit from two deeply disturbed young men. Their... [More]
Directed By: Michael Haneke

#25

The Glass Castle (2017)
52%

#25
Adjusted Score: 58.287%
Critics Consensus: The Glass Castle has an affecting real-life story and a hard-working cast in its corner, but they aren't enough to outweigh a fundamentally misguided approach to the material.
Synopsis: Chronicling the adventures of an eccentric, resilient and tight-knit family, THE GLASS CASTLE is a remarkable story of unconditional love.... [More]
Directed By: Destin Daniel Cretton

#24

Demolition (2016)
53%

#24
Adjusted Score: 60.601%
Critics Consensus: Demolition benefits from a stellar cast, even if their solid work isn't always enough to prop up a confused story that aims for profundity but too often settles for clichés.
Synopsis: Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée

#23

Ned Kelly (2003)
56%

#23
Adjusted Score: 56.803%
Critics Consensus: More depth about the legendary outlaw would be welcome, but as it is, Ned Kelly is a reasonably entertaining Western.
Synopsis: In the latter part of the 19th century, Australia is still largely untamed. The former penal colony's first-generation Irish immigrant... [More]
Directed By: Gregor Jordan

#22

Ophelia (2019)
59%

#22
Adjusted Score: 63.92%
Critics Consensus: Flawed yet intriguing, Ophelia uses Hamlet as the starting point for a noble attempt to offer a misunderstood character long-overdue agency.
Synopsis: Something is rotten in medieval-era Denmark, where political intrigue swirls around the imperial court like dark magic. Amid it all,... [More]
Directed By: Claire McCarthy

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 64.567%
Critics Consensus: The International boasts some electric action sequences and picturesque locales, but is undone by its preposterous plot.
Synopsis: Interpol Agent Louis Salinger and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman are determined to bring to justice one of the... [More]
Directed By: Tom Tykwer

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 68.264%
Critics Consensus: I Heart Huckabees certainly isn't for everyone, but audiences attuned to its quirky wavelength will find a singularly brainy screwball comedy that refuses to pander.
Synopsis: Convinced that a series of coincidences involving a doorman hold some secret to life's largest riddles, Albert Markovski seeks the... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#19

Sunlight Jr. (2013)
65%

#19
Adjusted Score: 65.553%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't offer much in the way of uplift, but Sunlight Jr.'s grim storyline is offset by Laurie Collyer's empathetic screenplay and strong performances from Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon.
Synopsis: SUNLIGHT JR. spotlights hard-working convenience store clerk Melissa (Naomi Watts) and her disabled boyfriend, Richie (Matt Dillon), who are trapped... [More]
Directed By: Laurie Collyer

#18
Adjusted Score: 69.068%
Critics Consensus: We Don't Live Here Anymore is often overly moody and grim, but it's made watchable by the strong performances for its four principal actors.
Synopsis: Independent filmmaker John Curran directs the romantic drama We Don't Live Here Anymore, with a script by Larry Gross based... [More]
Directed By: John Curran

#17
Adjusted Score: 70.262%
Critics Consensus: The Assassination of Richard Nixon struggles to convey deeper meaning, but a fascinating true story and compelling Sean Penn performance are worthy compensations.
Synopsis: The true story of a man who, on February 22, 1974, was thwarted from an ambitious plan for political assassination... [More]
Directed By: Niels Mueller

#16

The Wolf Hour (2019)
70%

#16
Adjusted Score: 35.724%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It's July 1977, and New York City is awash with escalating violence. A citywide blackout is triggering fires, looting, and... [More]

#15

The Ring (2002)
71%

#15
Adjusted Score: 76.835%
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: A disturbing videotape appears to hold the power of life and death over those who view it in this offbeat... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#14

Inland Empire (2006)
72%

#14
Adjusted Score: 75.125%
Critics Consensus: Typical David Lynch fare: fans of the director will find Inland Empire seductive and deep. All others will consider the heady surrealism impenetrable and pointless.
Synopsis: A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#13

The Painted Veil (2006)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 78.501%
Critics Consensus: Visually, The Painted Veil has all the trappings of a stuffy period drama, but Norton's and Watts's deft portrayals of imperfect, complicated characters give the film a modern-day spark.
Synopsis: Set in the 1920s, this love story is about a young English couple (a doctor and a society girl) who... [More]
Directed By: John Curran

#12

St. Vincent (2014)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 84.024%
Critics Consensus: St. Vincent offers the considerable pleasure of seeing Bill Murray back in funny form, but drifts into dangerously sentimental territory along the way.
Synopsis: Maggie (McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Lieberher). Forced... [More]
Directed By: Ted Melfi

#11

Mother and Child (2010)
78%

#11
Adjusted Score: 81.271%
Critics Consensus: Though it occasionally veers into unnecessary melodrama, Mother and Child benefits from a stellar cast and writer-director Rodrigo Garcia's finely detailed, bravely unsentimental script.
Synopsis: Writer/director Rodrigo Garca (Nine Lives) teams with executive producer Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu to craft this drama highlighting the powerful bond... [More]
Directed By: Rodrigo García

#10

Fair Game (2010)
79%

#10
Adjusted Score: 83.818%
Critics Consensus: It struggles with the balance between fact-based biopic and taut political thriller, but Fair Game brims with righteous anger -- and benefits from superb performances by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
Synopsis: As a covert officer in the CIA's Counter-Proliferation Division, Valerie leads an investigation into the existence of weapons of mass... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#9

21 Grams (2003)
80%

#9
Adjusted Score: 85.109%
Critics Consensus: Alejandro González Iñárritu deftly weaves an uncommonly structured narrative with panache in 21 Grams, a stylish, haunting drama full of fine performances.
Synopsis: College professor Paul Rivers and his wife Mary find their union precariously balanced between life and death. He is mortally... [More]

#8

Chuck (2017)
80%

#8
Adjusted Score: 82.667%
Critics Consensus: Chuck is hit with a handful of sports biopic clichés but ultimately punches above its weight, largely thanks to a muscular performance from Liev Schreiber.
Synopsis: He was the pride of Bayonne, New Jersey, a man who went fifteen rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali,... [More]
Directed By: Philippe Falardeau

#7

The Impossible (2012)
81%

#7
Adjusted Score: 87.965%
Critics Consensus: The screenplay isn't quite as powerful as the direction or the acting, but with such an astonishing real-life story at its center, The Impossible is never less than compelling.
Synopsis: Maria, Henry and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#6

Mulholland Drive (2001)
83%

#6
Adjusted Score: 88.791%
Critics Consensus: David Lynch's dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmirizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood.
Synopsis: Along Mulholland Drive nothing is what it seems. In the unreal universe of Los Angeles, the city bares its schizophrenic... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#5

King Kong (2005)
84%

#5
Adjusted Score: 92.982%
Critics Consensus: Featuring state-of-the-art special effects, terrific performances, and a majestic sense of spectacle, Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong is a potent epic that's faithful to the spirit of the 1933 original.
Synopsis: One of the greatest adventure stories in Hollywood history gets a new interpretation in this action drama from Academy Award-winning... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 91.442%
Critics Consensus: Poignant and piercingly honest, While We're Young finds writer-director Noah Baumbach delivering some of his funniest lines through some of his most relatable characters.
Synopsis: Noah Boaumbach's comedy While We're Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as Josh and Cornelia, a childless New York... [More]
Directed By: Noah Baumbach

#3

Eastern Promises (2007)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 95.503%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg triumphs again, showcasing the Viggo Mortensen's onscreen prowess in a daring performance. Bearing the trademarks of psychological drama and gritty violence, Eastern Promises is a very compelling crime story.
Synopsis: Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin is a driver for one of London's most notorious organized crime families of Eastern European origin. The... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#2

Birdman (2014)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104.675%
Critics Consensus: A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Synopsis: BIRDMAN or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton)... [More]

#1

Luce (2019)
91%

#1
Adjusted Score: 97.196%
Critics Consensus: Luce brings a stellar ensemble to bear on a satisfyingly complex story that addresses its timely themes in thought-provoking fashion.
Synopsis: It's been ten years since Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) adopted their son from war-torn Eritrea,... [More]
Directed By: Julius Onah

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