With 25 years of acting experience under her belt, South African actress Charlize Theron has become one of the most recognizable faces in the industry. Her massive filmography also includes almost two dozen producer credits alongside many award-winning roles. Fearless on screen and always delivering an engaging and transformative performance, she adds immeasurable value to every movie she partakes in. As of now, Theron is reprising her roles in two sequels including The Old Guard 2 and Atomic Blonde 2—both of which were announced recently. Here are some of her best performances so far.
7 The Old Guard
As a Netflix original, The Old Guard was released for streaming in 2020, making the role of Andy one of her latest performances. Playing an immortal whose true age is never revealed, Theron gets to show off her athletic prowess and impeccable fighting skills. Leading a group of mercenaries, she is tasked with rescuing her team after some are taken for experimentation. With the sequel on its way, fans speculate that the next installment will focus on a comeback for Andy’s former comrade, Quynh, who was persecuted as a witch, locked in an iron maiden, and dropped into the sea.
Starring alongside Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, Theron portrays Fox News television anchor, Megyn Kelly, in Bombshell. Following the stories of three women who all have accused Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News, of sexual harassment, the role earned Theron an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The plot shows how difficult it is for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace to come forward. Viewers see that in Theron’s performance as Kelly when she initially refuses to go public with her statement. Later, she not only comes forward, but she also convinces other women to tell their stories.
In arguably her most iconic role of all time, Theron went through a complete transformation to play the real-life character, Aileen, in Monster. As a biographical crime drama, the film was based on the seven murders done by Aileen Wuornos in the span of one year. As a sex worker on the streets of Daytona Beach, FL, Aileen is brutally attacked and raped by one of her clients. After killing him in self-defense, she goes on a killing spree. However, her run is cut short by bounty hunters, and she is eventually arrested, convicted, and executed. Theron took home her first Academy Award for Best Actress from this role.
4 Atomic Blonde
Set in 1989, the action film, Atomic Blonde, is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City. As an M16 spy, Lorrain Broughton is tasked with recovering a microfilm document known only as The List. Meanwhile, KGB agents are hot on her tail to get their hands on it first. The movie combines elements from other spy films such as series like Bourne, Bond, and even John Wick. As of now, a sequel is in the works, and it is set to be a Netflix Original.
In the shoes of Meredith Vickers, a Wayland Corporation employee with a strict regiment, Theron joined the Alien franchise in the 2012 spinoff, Prometheus. Very rigid and always lingering in the background, Vickers is a very suspicious character. She and the synthetic, David, seem to have a lot of similarities as well, which gives her character even more layers to work with. Theron does a fantastic job at holding back emotion throughout the film and manages to stay alive until the very end when she is finally crushed by a falling spaceship.
2 Snow White and the Huntsman
In the 2012 retelling of the story of Snow White, Theron steps into the evil queen character known in this version as Ravenna. Snow White and the Huntsman gives a lot more backstory to this villainous queen than ever before. With the help of her Magic Mirror, Ravenna sets out to kill and eat the heart of her stepdaughter, played by Kristen Stewart. However, things go awry for her when her Huntsman, Eric, deviates from the plan and aids Snow. The films received two Academy Award nominations and spawned a sequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War where Theron reprised the role.
1 Mad Max: Fury Road
Receiving ten Academy Award nominations, Mad Max: Fury Road ranks at the top of the list of performances for Theron. Even Roger Ebert called it one of the best films from the 2010s. Portraying Imperator Furiosa, Theron gives the audience a stunning depiction of a powerful female warrior who turns against her commander to save other women. Furiosa’s quest to rescue “The Five Wives” turns into a race for survival in the midst of a post-apocalyptic world.
With her ability to adapt to any role, Weaver’s eccentric acting style and commanding presence on screen can be seen in the following performances.
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