Total Recall: Scarlett Johansson's Best Movies

We count down the best-reviewed work of the We Bought a Zoo star.

81%

5. The Man Who Wasn't There

The Coen brothers went neo-noir for 2001's The Man Who Wasn't There, drafting a stellar batch of character actors (including Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Jenkins, Tony Shalhoub, and Frances McDormand) to tell the story of a barber (Thornton) whose placid-seeming suburban post-WWII existence unravels into a crazy tangle of blackmail, murder, and one very precocious teenage girl (Johansson). The black-and-white Man failed to make much of an impression at the box office, but it enthralled critics like ReelViews' James Berardinelli, who praised it as "An unconventional, unpredictable thriller that Hitchcock probably would have enjoyed."

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82%

4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Take a fairly sharp late-period script from Woody Allen and a beautiful cast that makes a love quadrangle out of Johansson, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Rebecca Hall, and the awards pretty much hand themselves out. Example: Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which might have been able to generate its $96 million worldwide gross simply on the strength of all that sex appeal even if it hadn't earned a stack of glowing reviews from critics like Roger Ebert, who enthused: "He is a little like Eric Rohmer here. The actors are attractive, the city is magnificent, the love scenes don't get all sweaty, and everybody finishes the summer a little wiser and with a lifetime of memories. What more could you ask?"

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84%

3. In Good Company

With a beautiful family, a nice house in the suburbs, and a healthy career, Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is feeling pretty good about his life. And then it all goes topsy-turvy: his wife (Marg Helgenberger) announces she's pregnant, the company he works for is bought out, and his much younger new boss (Topher Grace) starts dating his 18-year-old daughter (Johansson) behind his back. Clearly, In Good Company's premise is fraught with soapy domestic melodrama, and according to some critics, that's all it had to offer -- but for most, the solid cast and sensitive work of director Paul Weitz made the film more than the sum of its parts. In fact, according to the New York Observer's Andrew Sarris, it was "not only the best American picture of 2004, but also the most grown-up movie to come from Hollywood in recent years."

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93%

2. Ghost World

She's taken on a fairly wide variety of roles, but for the most part, Johansson has stuck with mainstream film projects. Not so Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World, a bleakly funny adaptation of the Daniel Clowes comic book about a pair of teenage misfits (Johansson and Thora Birch) whose casually mean-spirited prank on a lonely middle-aged man (Steve Buscemi) has unforeseen consequences on their friendship. A cult and critical favorite, Ghost World is certainly a far cry from future big-budget Johansson films like The Island and The Spirit -- and that's just fine with Angie Errigo of Empire, who wrote, "This is 'teen comedy' of startling sophistication -- with horribly funny bits as well. A true original, with sharp humour, subtle detail and painfully realistic characters."

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95%

1. Lost in Translation

Thanks to her much-derided appearance in The Godfather III, Sofia Coppola was still the butt of many film fans' jokes when she helmed Lost in Translation -- but all that changed once the glowing reviews started pouring in, capped off with her Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. But Coppola wasn't the only one who earned praise for this quiet little picture; Bill Murray received some of the best reviews of his career (not to mention a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award) for his softly melancholic portrayal of a movie star whose crushing ennui has set him adrift in a sea of unfulfilling relationships and paycheck projects. He's oh-so-gently jolted from his reverie by a fellow unhappy traveler played by Scarlett Johansson -- and who can blame him? -- but that's pretty much all that happens here, something pointed out by the handful of critics who gave Lost in Translation unfavorable ratings. For the 95 percent of critics who loved it, though, Translation was something special; Variety's David Rooney spoke for many when he said its "balance of humor and poignancy makes it both a pleasurable and melancholy experience."

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In case you were wondering, here are Johansson's top 10 movies according RT users' scores:

1. The Prestige -- 90%
2. Lost In Translation -- 84%
3. Ghost World -- 81%
4. The Man Who Wasn't There -- 81%
5. Iron Man 2 -- 80%
6. A Love Song for Bobby Long -- 79%
7. Match Point -- 78%
8. Vicky Cristina Barcelona -- 73%
9. The Horse Whisperer -- 70%
10. The Island -- 67%


Take a look through Johansson's complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don't forget to check out the reviews for We Bought a Zoo.

Finally, here's Ms. Johansson in the video for Bob Dylan's "When the Deal Goes Down":

Comments

Scott W.

Scott Weeks

First! Woo!

Dec 20 - 04:27 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

Oh the envy >.>

Dec 20 - 05:21 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Really? People still do this "First!" shit? lol. wow, man.

Dec 20 - 08:24 PM

Robert G.

Robert Gassaway

Really impressive. Congrats. Hard-earned & well-deserved

Dec 21 - 01:59 AM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

What a meaningless, sad, tormented, empty, hollow, vacant existence you must occupy...God, how depressing to be you..

Dec 21 - 06:34 AM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Or perhaps we have all misjudged you and the "Woo!" refers to John Woo, and the "First!" to some feeling or other about Woo..perhaps you erroneously thought that Scarlett had appeared in a Woo film and that film came in first in this Total Recall list...This all seems extraordinarily unlikely but sh**, buddy, you don't give us much to work with. I'm giving you the extreme benefit of the doubt here...But I doubt I'll be so forgiving if this ever happens again.

Dec 21 - 06:41 AM

Drake B.

Drake Buurstra

Oh the irony of saying the guy who said First had no life, then writing an essay long response about Woo films.

Dec 21 - 10:50 AM

Thats No MooN

joshua zimmer

Were you the one that yelled FIRST at the circle jerk last night?

Dec 21 - 01:08 PM

Peter L.

Peter Lau

test

Dec 22 - 04:41 PM

Vincent C.

Vincent Coia

Ghost World is my favorite movie ever so I'm glad to see that it made it into the top 3. Wonderful film, and Scarlett does a great job. However, her best performance is hands done Lost in Translation. Overall, good list.

Dec 20 - 04:34 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Glad that "Ghost World" and "Translation" are tops, because they were the two that came to mind immediately. But I'm having a hard time with these low tomato scores for "Prestige" (redeemed by the users) and "Man Who Wasn't There". Although Johansson was more marginal in those films, they are both modern classics.

Dec 20 - 04:46 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I was having a hard time with the Iron Man 2 rating; it should be much lower!

Dec 20 - 05:49 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Agree - IM2 does NOT deserve to be in the 70s. I don't even think it deserves to be fresh.

Dec 21 - 07:01 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Iron Man 2 is one of those movies I have liked less and less as time has went on. It did not bother me much when I first saw it, but after a second viewing I really disliked it. I'd probably put it around 45% personally.

Dec 21 - 10:54 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

A little Downey will do you. His hypercharm works better in the periphery, like "Natural Born Killers" or "Scanner Darkly". As the leading man, he can swerve over the obnoxious edge. In the first "Iron Man", he's supposed to be an obnoxious ass, but is supposed to realize the error of his selfish ways. In the second, he's just too often like a spoiled, petulent child.

Dec 21 - 06:26 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Loved Sam Rockwell though.

Dec 21 - 06:28 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Rockwell was great, but that's about it. Everybody else had a real jerkish quality to them, and Rourke was not given very much to do, so the movie really suffered from a lack of a great central villian. Also, the big fight at the end was seriously one of the most anti-climactic things I have seen in a blockbuster. Favreau really has a problem when it comes to staging actions scenes and finding a good rhythm for them.

Dec 21 - 08:05 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

100% correct. The more i think about it, the more i hate IM2. All the momentum and good feelings from the first one were ruined by the sequel.

Dec 28 - 06:44 AM

Reza T.

Reza Trikurnia

I most like while she was at match point, she's very beautiful and gorgeous.
I hope she's more careful to choose the script, like match point and Lost In Translation.
she has talent in drama, but she wasting her talent by playing crap movie like The Nanny Diaries, The Island, The Spirit, and He's Just Not That Into You.

Dec 20 - 05:06 PM

Jason H.

Jason Huang

match point sucked... but yeah, she still looked good...

Dec 21 - 12:26 PM

Jason H.

Jason Huang

match point sucked... but yeah, she still looked good...

Dec 21 - 12:26 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

I just watched three movies with this chick in a week lol, Lost in Tokyo being one of them (forgot the name of the other two). She's pretty cute, & is great at acting, though sometimes she looks desperate to leave from any scene she's in lol

Dec 20 - 05:19 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Looks like you forgot the name of the first one, too...

Dec 20 - 05:47 PM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Didn't forget, it just got lost in translation... :/

Dec 21 - 06:44 AM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

Oh the envy >.>

Dec 20 - 05:21 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The Prestige, Ghost World, and Lost in Translation are her best. She really has not done much worth mentioning the last few years.

Dec 20 - 05:46 PM

Ed Tom B.

Ed Tom Bell

This will likely earn me some vitriol, but she's really overrated.

Dec 22 - 07:54 AM

Cry-Baby Walker

Alex Flores

No vitrol from me. I agree. People seem to confuse her monotone expression as good wise beyond her years acting. There's subtle and there's boring. SJ is the latter.

Dec 29 - 11:10 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Looks like you forgot the name of the first one, too...

Dec 20 - 05:47 PM

Roman Zolanski

Gaylord Focker

Didn't forget, it just got lost in translation... :/

Dec 21 - 06:44 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I was having a hard time with the Iron Man 2 rating; it should be much lower!

Dec 20 - 05:49 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Agree - IM2 does NOT deserve to be in the 70s. I don't even think it deserves to be fresh.

Dec 21 - 07:01 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Iron Man 2 is one of those movies I have liked less and less as time has went on. It did not bother me much when I first saw it, but after a second viewing I really disliked it. I'd probably put it around 45% personally.

Dec 21 - 10:54 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

A little Downey will do you. His hypercharm works better in the periphery, like "Natural Born Killers" or "Scanner Darkly". As the leading man, he can swerve over the obnoxious edge. In the first "Iron Man", he's supposed to be an obnoxious ass, but is supposed to realize the error of his selfish ways. In the second, he's just too often like a spoiled, petulent child.

Dec 21 - 06:26 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Loved Sam Rockwell though.

Dec 21 - 06:28 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Rockwell was great, but that's about it. Everybody else had a real jerkish quality to them, and Rourke was not given very much to do, so the movie really suffered from a lack of a great central villian. Also, the big fight at the end was seriously one of the most anti-climactic things I have seen in a blockbuster. Favreau really has a problem when it comes to staging actions scenes and finding a good rhythm for them.

Dec 21 - 08:05 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

100% correct. The more i think about it, the more i hate IM2. All the momentum and good feelings from the first one were ruined by the sequel.

Dec 28 - 06:44 AM

powerslayer67

ryan sebree

Spent some time with her on the set of the Avengers last summer, she seems pretty smug and the crew didn't say very nice things.

Dec 20 - 05:50 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Really? People still do this "First!" shit? lol. wow, man.

Dec 20 - 08:24 PM

sankat m.

sankat m

She looked the worst in ‚??He‚??s just not that into you‚??‚?¶. The pouty lips take away all the seriousness.
Loved her in ‚??The Matchpoint‚??‚?¶. Especially the her 1st scene of introduction‚?¶.
Ironman 2 should be rotten‚?¶. Even though it made money it is a shitty movie‚?¶

Dec 20 - 09:41 PM

Robert G.

Robert Gassaway

Really impressive. Congrats. Hard-earned & well-deserved

Dec 21 - 01:59 AM

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