Emily Watson - Rotten Tomatoes

Emily Watson

Highest Rated:   100% The Dresser (2015)
Lowest Rated:   21% Fireflies in the Garden (2011)
Birthplace:   Islington, London, England, UK
With soulful, saucer-like eyes and a coy smile that hints at playfulness, Oscar-nominated actress Emily Watson burst onto the scene with her shattering performance in Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves, a role that almost went to period-piece queen Helena Bonham Carter. Born the daughter of an architect and an English professor in Islington, a borough of London, England, in January 1967, a sheltered upbringing initially led Watson to seek studies in English Literature. After studying in Bristol for three years, Watson made her first bid for drama school only to face disheartening rejection. After three years of working as a waitress and a secretary, she was eventually accepted into the London Drama Studio. It was during this early phase in her career that Watson would meet future husband Jack Waters.Launching her career upon joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1992, Watson soon set her sights on film. Fate intervened when actress Helena Bonham Carter pulled out of director Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves at the last minute due to the film's explicit sexuality. Despite her lack of big-screen experience, Watson landed the female lead in the film after only one brief screen test. Playing a spiritually driven woman whose oil-rig worker husband (Stellan Saarsgaard) becomes paralized, she exhibited a brash, religiously transcendent sexuality, stunning art-house audiences and recieving an Oscar nomination in the process. Though the subsequent marriage dramedy Metroland proved to be a nostalgia trip by comparison, Watson's honest performance again earned accolades. Watson's reputation continued to grow with her intimate, conflicted portrayal of the Multiple Sclerosis-stricken concert cellist Jacqueline Du Pre in Hilary and Jackie (1998), for which she was again Oscar-nominated, as well as when she played the love interest of an eccentric chess champion in The Luzhin Defence (2000).After joining the talented ensemble of Robert Altman's acclaimed comedy-mystery Gosford Park, Watson made serious inroads into Hollywood, first in 2002 as the love interest of a temperamental (to say the least) small-business owner played by Adam Sandler in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love. That same fall also saw her playing the love interest of a murderous psychopath in Brett Ratner's Hannibal prequel Red Dragon, and re-teaming with Metroland co-star Christian Bale in the little-seen sci-fi action vehicle Equilibrium. After doing voice work for Tim Burton's animated gothic Corpse Bride -- alongside the very woman she replaced in Breaking the Waves, Helena Bonham-Carter -- she returned to the British art-house scene with strong performances in such films as Separate Lives and director Richard E. Grant's autobiographical Wah-Wah.She appeared in the biopic Miss Potter, and the family fantasy film The Water Horse. In 2008 she was part of Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut Synecdoche, New York. Three years later she played the mother of a boy devoted to his beloved equine mate in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War Horse, and in 2012 she appeared in Joe Wright's adaptation of Anna Karenina. The following year, she appeared in the film adaptation of the popular book The Book Thief. In 2014, she played Jane Hawking's mother in The Theory of Everything.


Highest Rated Movies



63% On Chesil Beach
  • Actor
No Score Yet Apple Tree Yard
  • Actor
No Score Yet Happy Family
  • Emma
74% A Royal Night Out
  • Queen Elizabeth
$1.7M 2015
100% The Dresser
  • Her Ladyship
73% Everest
  • Helen Wilton
$46.6M 2015
No Score Yet A Song for Jenny
  • Julie Nicholson
83% Testament Of Youth
  • Mrs. Brittain
22% Little Boy
  • Emma Busbee
$5M 2015
78% The Theory of Everything
  • Beryl Wilde
$35.9M 2014
84% Belle
  • Lady Mansfield
$8.8M 2014
46% The Book Thief
  • Rosa
55% Some Girl(s)
  • Lindsay
64% Anna Karenina
  • Countess Lydia Ivanovna
$12.9M 2012
No Score Yet Clan Of The Meerkats 2d
  • Actor
76% War Horse
  • Rosie Narracott
$79.9M 2011
71% Oranges And Sunshine
  • Margaret
$2.1M 2011
21% Fireflies in the Garden
  • Young Jane Lawrence
$37.4k 2011
57% Cemetery Junction
  • Mrs. Kendrick
No Score Yet Within The Whirlwind
  • Evgenia Ginzburg
75% Cold Souls
  • Claire
$0.8M 2009
69% Synecdoche, New York
  • Tammy
$3M 2008
No Score Yet The Memory Keeper's Daughter
  • Caroline Gil
74% The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
  • Anne MacMorrow
$40.5M 2007
66% Miss Potter
  • Millie Warne
$2.9M 2007
No Score Yet Kruistocht in spijkerbroek (Crusade in Jeans) (Crusade: A March Through Time)
  • Actor
53% Wah-Wah
  • Ruby Compton
$0.2M 2006
72% Separate Lies
  • Anne Manning
$0.9M 2005
84% Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
  • Victoria Everglot
$53.4M 2005
87% The Heart of the Game
  • Actor
$0.4M 2005
86% The Proposition
  • Martha Stanley
$1.8M 2005
65% Bright Young Things
  • Actor
$0.9M 2004
78% The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
  • Anne Sellers
No Score Yet Back to Gaya (Boo, Zino & the Snurks)
  • Actor
38% Equilibrium
  • Mary O'Brien
79% Punch-Drunk Love
  • Lena Leonard
$17.9M 2002
68% Red Dragon
  • Reba McClane
$93M 2002
86% Gosford Park
  • Elsie
$41.3M 2001
58% The Luzhin Defence
  • Natalia
No Score Yet Ice Worlds
  • Director
27% Trixie
  • Trixie Zurbo
52% Angela's Ashes
  • Angela
64% Cradle Will Rock
  • Olive Stanton
64% Metroland
  • Marion
86% Hilary and Jackie
  • Jacqueline Du Pre
80% The Boxer
  • Maggie
No Score Yet The Mill on the Floss
  • Maggie Tulliver
84% Breaking the Waves
  • Bess McNeill


90% Apple Tree Yard
  • Yvonne Carmichael
  • 2017
83% Genius
  • Elsa Einstein
  • 2017
55% Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
  • Grace McKee
  • 2015
No Score Yet The View
  • Guest
  • 2011
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
  • Guest
  • 2000
No Score Yet Masterpiece
  • Maggie Tulliver
  • 1997

Quotes from Emily Watson's Characters