Drew Barrymore has been in the spotlight since she starred in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. when she was only an infant. Barrymore was consequently thrust into the limelight, and coming from a famous acting family already, a career in Hollywood seemed inevitable. Even at a young age, Barrymore’s impact on the screen and her ability to captivate the audience were undeniable.
As her career progressed, Barrymore experienced some difficulties in her personal life which resulted in some career breaks. However, she would later become known for her rom-com successes, playing lovable characters, in films like Never Been Kissed and 50 First Dates, with ease that could only be compared to the likes of Jennifer Aniston, and has recently ventured into directing and producing. Barrymore’s career is remarkable, so let’s take a look at her best movie roles, ranked.
8 Grey Gardens
2009’s HBO movie Grey Gardens told the true story of Edith Bouvier Beale (or “Little Edie”) and her mother Edith Ewing Bouvier (or “Big Edie”), directed by Michael Sucsy. The film is a depiction of the 1975 documentary of the same name, which gave a window into the life of these two upper class women, who were relations of Jackie Kennedy, who now lived as recluses in their decaying mansion in the Hamptons. Grey Gardens has become a cult classic, so a remake of the film would present a big challenge for the actors involved. Barrymore took on the role of Little Edie and Jessica Lange played her mother, Big Edie. Both of their portrayals and the film itself were extremely well received, and Barrymore earned her first Golden Globe for her role.
7 Charlie’s Angels
McG’s Charlie’s Angels was released in 2000 and catapulted the three main cast members Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore to even greater levels of stardom. Barrymore played Dylan, the more rebellious of the three main cast members, fighting crime as secret agents alongside her two co-stars. The film was revolutionary for putting three women at the center of an action franchise, and Barrymore famously petitioned for the film to be gun-free. Charlie’s Angels is an iconic film which stands the test of time, with the three main cast members recently reuniting to reflect on their filming experience. It’s a strong performance for Barrymore, and a film which will be remembered for generations.
6 50 First Dates
Over the years, Barrymore earned a reputation for being known for her success in the rom-com genre. A perfect example of her success in this genre is in Peter Segal’s 2004 rom-com 50 First Dates. She co-stars with Adam Sandler who plays Henry, who falls in love with Lucy (Barrymore) but discovers she has amnesia and forgets everything by the morning. As such, he vows to win her over each new day. 50 First Dates was hugely popular, and furthers Barrymore’s status as a rom-com pro.
5 The Wedding Singer
Frank Coraci’s 1998 rom com The Wedding Singer was another collaboration between Barrymore and Adam Sandler which proved to be hugely successful. Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a wedding singer who falls in love with Julia who is played by Barrymore, a waitress. The Wedding Singer was extremely successful and even resulted in a Broadway musical adaptation in 2006.
4 Never Been Kissed
In all of Barrymore’s successful rom-coms, arguably her most notable and loved was Never Been Kissed, directed by Raja Gosnell. Barrymore plays the lovable Josie Gellar who has never had a relationship and works for a newspaper. She is assigned the task of going undercover at her old high school to research teenage culture. She is able to infiltrate and pose as one of the most popular group in school; however, she encounters problems once she falls for the school English teacher (Michael Vartan). Barrymore’s performance is heart-warming and secured her position as a rom-com legend.
3 Donnie Darko
Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko was released in 2001 and follows the story of Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) who narrowly escapes a bizarre accident. After this, a mysterious figure in a rabbit costume appears to inform him that the world will end in 28 days, the figure is also able to manipulate Donnie into committing several crimes. Barrymore takes the secondary role of Karen who is a teacher, and although her part is small, she is memorable and commands the screen as usual.
Wes Craven’s 1996 slasher film Scream is a horror classic that needs no introduction. Scream follows the story of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) from the fictional town of Woodsboro as she becomes the target for a killer known as ‘ghostface’. Scream was a fresh take on the slasher genre, as the characters are fully aware of horror tropes and often reference slasher films in the dialogue. Another aspect of Scream which is unique was their decision to kill of Barrymore’s character Casey at the start of the film. Barrymore was a huge actress and the film marketed her heavily, so this came as a shock to the audience when she was killed of early. Barrymore’s scene is instantly recognizable and one of the most memorable opening scenes of recent memory. Scream recently had another installment in the franchise released, and the film’s star Jenna Ortega even discussed the importance of Barrymore’s scene.
For a child actress, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. was about as a big a break as you could get. Barrymore filmed E.T. when she was just 7 years old, playing Gerite. The story follows Elliott (Dee Wallace) after he finds an extra-terrestrial being which has landed on earth which he must now hide from the government. E.T. was hugely successful and is remembered as one of the most important cinema moments of the 20th Century. Barrymore’s performance was highly praised, and her career would only prosper from that point. E.T. remains a cinema classic, and Barrymore has confirmed that it will never be remade.
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