Total Recall: Kristen Stewart's Best Movies

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 star.

69%

5. The Runaways

If she was at all concerned about Twilight typecasting, Stewart could hardly have picked a better way to fight it than playing Joan Jett to Dakota Fanning's Cherie Currie in The Runaways. Not only did Floria Sigismondi's biopic of the groundbreaking (albeit short-lived) band give Stewart the chance to adopt a tough rock-and-roll swagger, but her striking resemblance to Jett helped remind filmgoers she'd always been more than Bella Swan. And by most accounts, Stewart nailed her performance, projecting a combination of pent-up aggression and teenage insecurity that helped make The Runaways more than just a $10 million episode of Behind the Music. While a sizable number of critics felt the movie didn't delve deep enough, most considered it an exceptionally well-acted biopic, with Stewart, Fanning, and Michael Shannon repeatedly singled out for their work. Perhaps no one went further than Cinemablend's Josh Tyler, who gushed, "Kristen Stewart is a modern day James Dean."

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75%

4. Zathura

Between his smash hits Elf and Iron Man, Jon Favreau directed a little family sci-fi thriller called Zathura. Adapted from the book of the same name by author Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji), Zathura follows the fantastical adventures of a pair of quarreling brothers (played by Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson) whose squabbles reach epic proportions when they make the mistake of playing the titular board game, which magically transports their house into outer space -- and the middle of a battle with alien creatures called Zorgons. In the middle of all this chaos is Kristen Stewart as the boys' older sister, who spends a decent portion of the film in cryogenic deep freeze. A thankless role, perhaps, and Zathura went down as a rather surprising commercial failure -- but as far as most critics were concerned, the movie did exactly what it was supposed to. As David Edwards wrote for the Daily Mirror, "Zathura is one of those rare movies that should appeal to kids and adults alike thanks to a great little storyline, neat special effects and a genuinely likeable cast."

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76%

3. Panic Room

After some early uncredited roles (including one in The Flinstones: Viva Rock Vegas) and an appearance in The Safety of Objects, Stewart received her first big break with David Fincher's Fight Club follow-up, the 2002 thriller Panic Room. It presented a tremendous opportunity for Stewart, who not only shared her scenes with Jodie Foster as her on-screen mom, but spent most of the movie trapped in a single room. Of course, Fincher being Fincher, Panic Room livened up its claustrophobic premise with plenty of style, but still -- this is a movie about two women hiding in their home from a crew of burglars, and if Stewart hadn't been able to hold her own against Foster in the acting department, none of it would have worked. A respectable $196 million worldwide hit, Room prompted slight disappointment from critics who yearned for another subversive, Fight Club-style jolt from Fincher, but Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post spoke for the majority when he called it "powerfully manipulative, quite clever and full of evil ambition."

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82%

2. Into the Wild

One of 2007's most critically lauded, award-hungry films, Into the Wild adapted the true-life story of Christopher McCandless, a young, uncompromising idealist who shed his material possessions and embarked on a solitary journey that ultimately took him into the Alaskan wilderness -- and to his death. McCandless has been an understandably divisive figure since Jon Krakauer made his story famous with a non-fiction book (also titled Into the Wild) retracing his doomed path, but for director Sean Penn, his tale was tragic and arguably noble -- and Emile Hirsch's empathetic portrayal of McCandless made it easy to see why. Given the nature of the story, Hirsch necessarily dominated Wild, but Penn lined up a stellar supporting cast that included William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, and (of course) Kristen Stewart. Here, Stewart plays Tracy Tatro, a girl McCandless meets while passing through a Southern California desert commune -- and ultimately leaves behind so he can camp out in an abandoned bus. Along with most of McCandless' decisions, it's a little hard to fathom -- but for most critics, the lessons of his life were rich and profound. As Bill Goodykoontz wrote for the Arizona Republic, "though it's easy to dismiss McCandless' hippified musings and near-suicidal choices as the misguided actions of a kid who read Walden a little too closely in college, Penn's film aims for something more, a deeper telling of a tale of yearning and escape."

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89%

1. Adventureland

For his follow-up to Superbad, director Greg Mottola opted for another coming-of-age story -- but Adventureland is far from a carbon copy of its predecessor, offering a darker, subtler, far more personal take on life at the cusp of adulthood. This time around, Mottola, who wrote the script, took filmgoers back to the late 1980s to tell the tale of James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), a recent college graduate whose dreams of a celebratory trip to Europe are shattered by his suddenly cash-poor parents. Finding the summer job market lacking, James is forced to take a job at the local theme park, where he meets Em (Kristen Stewart), an NYU student with a rocky home life and a thing for older men who look like Ryan Reynolds. As you can probably tell, Adventureland doesn't offer quite as many yuks as Superbad; unfortunately, the studio's marketing campaign decided to focus on Mottola's recent past, and the trailer focused on testicle-punching gags instead of the movie's more thoughtful side. Perhaps as a result, Adventureland didn't make a ton of money during its theatrical run -- but it was a big hit with critics, who appreciated Mottola's obvious affection for his characters and the authentically 1980s touches dotting the screen. The cast earned high marks, too, including Stewart, who prompted Tom Long of the Detroit News to write, "Yes, you've seen much of it before, and the nervous James character is now officially a cliché. But Stewart makes you care anyway. This, folks, is an actress."

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

1. Into the Wild -- 90%
2. Twilight -- 82%
3. The Twilight Saga: New Moon -- 78%
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse -- 74%
5. The Safety of Objects -- 65%
6. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 -- 63%
7. Panic Room -- 61%
8. The Yellow Handkerchief -- 60%
9. Welcome to the Rileys -- 59%
10. Fierce People -- 59%


Take a look through Stewart's complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don't forget to check out the reviews for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Finally, here's Stewart in one of her earliest roles -- playing "Girl in Fountain Line" in the made-for-TV movie The Thirteenth Year:

Comments

Dave J

Dave J

From looking at both lists, you just might say I'm not a huge fan of hers! I've only seen her in "Adventureland" and "Panic Room" and couldn't get into anything else she's in particularly the first "Twilight" movie and "Zathura"!

Nov 14 - 04:23 PM

Devin Stevens

Devin Stevens

She really isn't as bad as an actress as most people make her out to be. The top 5 on this list all are decent films. You know not to trust users when Twilight sits at an 82%..

Nov 14 - 09:24 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

She makes some fairly diverse choices in her roles and I used to think she was a good actress but now all she's become is a tabloid personality and her characters are lost to me. I don't see the character she's suppose to be but Kristen Stewart, magazine cover star.

I always liked the Larry King interview of Al Pacino where he asked why Pacino had stayed out of the public limelight beyond his films. Pacino answered by saying he wants people to see his character in his films, not Al Pacino. I always appreciated this ideal and, IMO, is proof of a true performer vs. a hack.

Nov 15 - 01:56 AM

Natalie Faber

Natalie Faber

I very much agree with you, but I think you're falling into the trap of not actually paying attention to what kinda' crap the papers are trying to feed you. Just because her personal life was raided by paparazzi - who stalked her and found intimate photos of her kissing someone and then spread it all over the news - doesn't mean that she has decided to become a tabloid personality.

I'm not a Twilight fan, and thought I wasn't a Steward fan until I took the time to see her work, she's actually a quality actress, and that should be the short and long of it.

Nov 15 - 01:10 PM

Glenn Craven

Glenn Craven

Not many famous people "decide" to become a tabloid personality. They either avoid doing the embarrassing, salacious things that get them on the cover of tabloids, or they don't.

That said, I just watched "Adventureland," enjoyed it, and thought Kristen Stewart was quite good.

Nov 15 - 11:34 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Pacino was often accused of playing Al Pacino and not playing a character. That ended with The Godfather. You have to admit that Michael was nothing like the Al Pacino in earlier films.

Nov 18 - 06:04 PM

Aria Clements

Aria Clements

I've seen several of her movies, and her acting is so bland that she's forgettable.

Nov 16 - 01:39 AM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Watch The Cake Eaters. Her performance is unforgettable.

Nov 18 - 06:36 PM

Mike Randall

Mike Randall

One thing Panic Room is NOT, is a "decent film". Adventureland I suppose would qualify as "decent", even though the dialogue was written by a 5 year old. Seriously - go through that movie and tell me when there's important dialogue, besides when Stewart and Eisenberg get in that ONE argument. I haven't seen the other 5, but judging from user (not critic) scores, people seemed to not like Runaways or Zathura. Maybe Into the Wild is the one exception. Conclusion: she needs a better acting resume.

Nov 18 - 09:59 AM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

Yes a busy year... When Breaking Dawn's production ended over a year ago :P

Nov 14 - 04:27 PM

Nick Kane

Nick Kane

Because there were definitely no press tours or premier for it right?

Nov 16 - 01:59 AM

Ricardo Leal

Ricardo Leal

I hated Cake Eaters so much. And despite my indifference for Twilight, I really like Stewart as an actress.

She was fantastic in Speak (one of her best movies nobody talks about) and Adventureland.

Nov 14 - 04:41 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I think Speak was a TV Special not a "film". I agree with you completely though. That booked was banned in so many school districts and she was great in it. I couldn't stand the Cake Eaters but then again she was good in that as well. Not a huge fan of Adventure land but thats because I have a bias of Grown Men coming of age. Seriously, what's a college graduate doing in a coming of age story.

Nov 14 - 11:00 PM

Charlie Figueroa

Charlie Figueroa

You can "come of age" and/or do a substantial amount of growing after college.

Nov 16 - 01:14 AM

Katie M.

Katie M

I agree. She was incredible in Speak.

Nov 15 - 05:55 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Stewart's performance in Speak was very good and thoroughly engaging.
Amongst directors and actors, she is highly respected. Although not entirely at ease in interviews, she can really dish it out when a host gets out of line. Have to respect her for her moxie and her intolerance for any misogyny that some male hosts occasionally display.

Nov 18 - 06:43 PM

radioman970

James Perry

Just watched her in Adventureland. The film is hilarous, but it left me feeling good. I'd forgotten she was in Panic Room and Zathura. Love those of those.

Nov 14 - 04:45 PM

Jeffrey Malone

Jeffrey Malone

RT users, what is up? Where's Adventureland? Critics had it #1! #1! Kristen's actually good in it!

Nov 14 - 06:20 PM

David Pavalok

David Pavalok

She's awful... just awful.

Nov 14 - 06:45 PM

Aria Clements

Aria Clements

She's bland.

Nov 16 - 01:39 AM

Israel de Oliveira

Israel de Oliveira

Shut the fuck up, your stupid slut. Stewart is perfect, only perfect.

Dec 15 - 02:20 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"What Just Happened" is a very funny Hollywood parody. De Niro and Tuturro are hilarious.

I thought "The Yellow Handkerchief" was a saucy British paperback.

Nov 14 - 07:34 PM

Matthew Forbes

Matthew Forbes

All of this might be somewhat interesting if she didn't just have one face for every emotion

Nov 14 - 07:56 PM

Dayan Turino

Dayan Turino

Exactly what I think, if u were to take a screenshot of her goddamn face in every movie it would look the same

Nov 14 - 08:45 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

I thought meme posts are frowned upon here.

Nov 14 - 10:57 PM

Aria Clements

Aria Clements

This is why I don't understand why people love her. She's a bland, boring actress who never shows any emotions. She's monotone most of the time like a female Ben Stein.

Nov 16 - 01:40 AM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

She was 17 and the youngest person on the set in Twilight, yet she had to act and narrate the film. The other young people were in their twenties.

Nov 18 - 06:50 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Ben Stein's monotone is a comedic act. Making that putdown is an indication of something other than a fair assessment. Box office speaks for itself. Top grossing actress and just 21-22. She didn't hit the lottery, she worked hard for it all over the world.

Nov 18 - 06:55 PM

KingSigy

Numna Stingdoo

Wow. "Into The Wild" shouldn't even count. She's in the film for practically 15 minutes and she's the worst part of it.

Nov 14 - 08:40 PM

Cocoa Purl

Cocoa Purl

I disagree. She does have a small part, but when she comes into the movie, it livens it up and you feel hopeful and feel good about the possibilities of his life. When she's gone, some of that leaves and that's due to her performance with Emile Hirsch.

Nov 14 - 11:20 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Yes, exactly. How could he walk away, I thought.

Nov 18 - 07:16 PM

Timothy Kerridge

Timothy Kerridge

she was brilliant in that ! she practicaly made the film ! if that had been me i'd have locked my self in that trailler and swallowed the key. millenia from now Alien acheologists would have used our intertwined bodies to determine that human beings mated for life !

Nov 15 - 11:54 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Mouse ears and bunny teeth. Long hair and long legs. Angst and loneliness. The imperfect perfect. Some guys see it and some don't.

Nov 18 - 07:25 PM

Dayan Turino

Dayan Turino

Exactly what I think, if u were to take a screenshot of her goddamn face in every movie it would look the same

Nov 14 - 08:45 PM

Leanne Boje

Leanne Boje

She was terrible in Adventureland in my opinion. Too much hair tugging and overracting.

Nov 14 - 08:50 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Hair tugging is a sign of an internal conflict. Her character obviously had plenty to be conflicted about.

Nov 18 - 06:57 PM

Devin Stevens

Devin Stevens

She really isn't as bad as an actress as most people make her out to be. The top 5 on this list all are decent films. You know not to trust users when Twilight sits at an 82%..

Nov 14 - 09:24 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

She makes some fairly diverse choices in her roles and I used to think she was a good actress but now all she's become is a tabloid personality and her characters are lost to me. I don't see the character she's suppose to be but Kristen Stewart, magazine cover star.

I always liked the Larry King interview of Al Pacino where he asked why Pacino had stayed out of the public limelight beyond his films. Pacino answered by saying he wants people to see his character in his films, not Al Pacino. I always appreciated this ideal and, IMO, is proof of a true performer vs. a hack.

Nov 15 - 01:56 AM

Natalie Faber

Natalie Faber

I very much agree with you, but I think you're falling into the trap of not actually paying attention to what kinda' crap the papers are trying to feed you. Just because her personal life was raided by paparazzi - who stalked her and found intimate photos of her kissing someone and then spread it all over the news - doesn't mean that she has decided to become a tabloid personality.

I'm not a Twilight fan, and thought I wasn't a Steward fan until I took the time to see her work, she's actually a quality actress, and that should be the short and long of it.

Nov 15 - 01:10 PM

Glenn Craven

Glenn Craven

Not many famous people "decide" to become a tabloid personality. They either avoid doing the embarrassing, salacious things that get them on the cover of tabloids, or they don't.

That said, I just watched "Adventureland," enjoyed it, and thought Kristen Stewart was quite good.

Nov 15 - 11:34 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Pacino was often accused of playing Al Pacino and not playing a character. That ended with The Godfather. You have to admit that Michael was nothing like the Al Pacino in earlier films.

Nov 18 - 06:04 PM

Aria Clements

Aria Clements

I've seen several of her movies, and her acting is so bland that she's forgettable.

Nov 16 - 01:39 AM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Watch The Cake Eaters. Her performance is unforgettable.

Nov 18 - 06:36 PM

Mike Randall

Mike Randall

One thing Panic Room is NOT, is a "decent film". Adventureland I suppose would qualify as "decent", even though the dialogue was written by a 5 year old. Seriously - go through that movie and tell me when there's important dialogue, besides when Stewart and Eisenberg get in that ONE argument. I haven't seen the other 5, but judging from user (not critic) scores, people seemed to not like Runaways or Zathura. Maybe Into the Wild is the one exception. Conclusion: she needs a better acting resume.

Nov 18 - 09:59 AM

Ethan Franson

Ethan Franson

I love that most of the top 5 are movies where she has like a supporting roll. BOOOOO I SAY BOOOOO

Nov 14 - 10:04 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Wow, and what company hired you to be CEO just starting out?

Nov 18 - 06:59 PM

Zane B

Chum Chum

Meh

Nov 14 - 10:21 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

I thought meme posts are frowned upon here.

Nov 14 - 10:57 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I think Speak was a TV Special not a "film". I agree with you completely though. That booked was banned in so many school districts and she was great in it. I couldn't stand the Cake Eaters but then again she was good in that as well. Not a huge fan of Adventure land but thats because I have a bias of Grown Men coming of age. Seriously, what's a college graduate doing in a coming of age story.

Nov 14 - 11:00 PM

Charlie Figueroa

Charlie Figueroa

You can "come of age" and/or do a substantial amount of growing after college.

Nov 16 - 01:14 AM

TheArchitect

Brian Miller

So...her best movies are either:

A) Still terrible by RT standards.
-or-
B) Where she was trapped in some sort of room.

Nov 14 - 11:07 PM

Cocoa Purl

Cocoa Purl

Uhm. No. That's a completely incorrect assessment...

Nov 14 - 11:21 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Made the top 99 women in the world on askmen.com three years in a row and that is NOT a group of Twi-hards, but quite the opposite.

Nov 18 - 07:00 PM

Cocoa Purl

Cocoa Purl

I disagree. She does have a small part, but when she comes into the movie, it livens it up and you feel hopeful and feel good about the possibilities of his life. When she's gone, some of that leaves and that's due to her performance with Emile Hirsch.

Nov 14 - 11:20 PM

Peter Rutkiewicz

Peter Rutkiewicz

Yes, exactly. How could he walk away, I thought.

Nov 18 - 07:16 PM

Cocoa Purl

Cocoa Purl

Uhm. No. That's a completely incorrect assessment...

Nov 14 - 11:21 PM

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