Emma Watson will always be known for her time spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter franchise. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that the experienced actress has built up a strong resume since putting away her wand and shedding her Gryffindor robes.
Watson has definitely had a few duds along the way, but here are her top 5 performances since completing the Harry Potter movies.
Warning: all links to scenes contain major spoilers.
5. My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Fresh off the heels of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, Emma played a small but impactful role in My Week with Marilyn. The film depicts the behind-the-scenes production of 1957’s The Prince and The Showgirl starring Marilyn Monroe. Watson plays Lucy, the initial love interest of Eddie Redmayne’s character Colin Clark.
Colin becomes obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and Emma’s character is quickly outmatched as he “sets his sights a little higher.” We can’t help but empathize with Lucy and Emma packs a powerful performance in scenes like this one.
Perhaps Emma passed on some Harry Potter magic to Eddie because he went on to play the lead role in the franchise’s Fantastic Beast movies.
4. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Speaking of beasts, one of Watson’s most notable performances was her depiction of Belle in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. There was a ton of pressure to deliver due to the love fans have for the original. Watson didn’t disappoint and crushed it in the role as she delivered a perfect blend of strength, charm and independence that will continue to inspire young girls for generations to come.
The film currently has an 80% on rotten tomatoes and is actually Emma’s highest-grossing film domestically, surpassing all of the Harry Potter films at the North American box office. Only Deathly Hallows, Part 2 earned more internationally.
3. Little Women (2019)
Little Women is the most recent film on the list and one of the best-reviewed. The movie attempts to shed light on the inequities between men and women by highlighting society’s expectations for half the population. Watson plays Margaret “Meg” March, a woman who decides to marry for love instead of status. She becomes estranged from her rich aunt (Meryl Streep) for her decision. Watson plays on a wide range in the film and adds a spoonful of sugar to the film’s intended message.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Emma plays the free-spirited Sam alongside the now-shamed Ezra Miller, who plays her stepbrother Patrick in the film. Together, Sam and Patrick help Charlie realize the value of his existence.
Dealing with sensitive topics, Perks is considered one of the most powerful coming-of-age movies ever made. It’s written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the book of the same name. Chbosky didn’t want to rush to make the film and made sure that the movie had the right actors to play its lead and supporting roles.
The critic summary on Rotten tomatoes claims that the film is a sincere adaptation that’s “bolstered by strong lead performances.” With scenes like this, Watson must be included in this praise, as the film helped her step out of the shadow of Hermione Granger and into the shoes of a true artist.
1. Noah (2014)
Darren Aronofsky isn’t for everyone. His use of surrealism, psychologically heavy themes, and disturbing images don’t make for an easy watch. However, his films are sometimes as beautiful as they are disturbing. 2014’s Noah wasn’t his best outing, even for fans of the director. Still, Watson carried the film the best she could. While rotten tomatoes has plenty of negative reviews about Noah, I couldn’t find a single harsh critique of Emma’s performance.
This harrowing scene puts her acting chops on display, especially considering the fact that she doesn’t have children in real life. The top comment is a testament to how many fans feel about her performance in the biblical film:
“Genuinely, I think this is the first time I’ve seen her acting. Her other stuff is usually just playing a perfect version of herself but she’s actually pretty good, she should do more stuff like this.”
Noah proved that Watson isn’t afraid to work outside the mainstream and take a step into some intense weirdness.
That wraps up Emma Watson’s top 5 films since the Potter series. If there’s any news worth sharing about the veteran actress, you’ll find it here on Ned Hardy. For now, to reference another Watson film, this is the end.