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Angelina Jolie's 6 Best And 6 Worst Movies Ranked

There really isn't anyone else like Angelina Jolie. The daughter of actors John Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie grew up in Hollywood but hasn't exactly had a typical career path. Known at least as much for her '90s "bad girl" image as she is for her actual films, Jolie has since transitioned into the role of director, humanitarian, and mother. From wild child to glamorous elite, Angelina Jolie's star power harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, when an actor's larger-than-life image drove ticket sales.

In addition to her impressive extracurriculars like getting involved in humanitarian aid work and flying planes, Jolie has starred in dozens of films over the years. Unfortunately, Hollywood has never really known what to do with Jolie, and her truly great movies have been few and far between. Though she oozes charisma in every role she inhabits, the films she has starred in rarely live up to her considerable strength as an actor.

If you're a fan of Jolie, you're probably aware of this predicament. Not every movie can be a hit, and no one knows this better than Angelina Jolie. But on occasion, Jolie's beguiling charisma is actually put to good use, which has led to a few gems here and there. If you're looking to get a better sense of the true highs and lows of Jolie's career, you've come to the right place. Keep reading to discover our ranking of Angelina Jolie's six best and six worst movies.

Worst: Alexander

"Alexander" is a nearly 3-hour long historical epic, and we'll warn you right now that it's probably not one you're going to want to sit through. Colin Farrell plays Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king who conquered a vast empire. Jolie plays his mother, Queen Olympias, with whom he has a complicated relationship.

Despite the awe-inspiring history from which the film draws, it doesn't wind up inspiring much awe in the audience. For one thing, everyone in the film seems to be acting in an entirely different movie. While it's true that no one really knows what a Macedonian accent would have sounded like, each actor has chosen an entirely different interpretation, leading to a somewhat laughable ensemble performance. Viewers can understand that it might be nearly impossible to create an accurate representation of life during this time period, but the issues is that "Alexander" tries — and fails — at the expense of our own enjoyment.

Farrell isn't all that believable as one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known, and frankly, none of the performances make much sense. It's as if the actors were trying to make up for a surprisingly boring script by making as many theatrical, over-the-top choices as they possibly could. Mainly, the problem is that none of these characters feel like real people. 

While critic Cole Smithey wrote that director Oliver Stone "doesn't present characters that the audience can believe in," he also noted that "Angelina Jolie enjoys some early scene-chewing with live snakes." Sadly though, there aren't enough snakes in the world to make this film more interesting and we just hope that Jolie does decide to play an Ancient Greek goddess someday in a better movie.

Best: Hackers

While it wasn't especially well-received at the time of its release, the reputation of the 1995 film "Hackers" has grown over time. It's now considered something of a cult classic, as seen by its disparate critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and it's actually beloved by hackers themselves, according to Vice

18-year-old Dade (Johnny Lee Miller) is a genius hacker, who has been banned from using computers after crashing Wall Street when he was a kid. When Dade is framed for a theft, he and his hacker friends discover the evil plot of a mastermind hacker and must stop the virus from spreading, all while evading the secret service.

Angelina Jolie plays Kate, a hacker also known as "Acid Burn," and she proves herself to be a formidable ally for Dade. Kate and Dade's relationship is one of the best aspects of the film, and their dynamic is ruled by a refreshing sense of equality and mutual respect. Roger Ebert highlighted their relationship as the best part of the movie, noting that both Jolie and Miller "bring a particular quality to their performances that is convincing and engaging."

Though the computerized elements might not always make sense, the film remains a compelling take on technology and the power of youth to shake things up. Scott Tobias writes in The A.V. Club that the film was ahead of its time, while Starburst Magazine noted in revisiting the film that Jolie brings "a real rebellious, punk edge to her performance that makes her instantly stand out from the others."

Worst: The Tourist

2010's "The Tourist" is one of those movies that you might have seen in theaters when it came out but in all likelihood have completely forgotten existed. That's because "The Tourist" is an extremely forgettable movie with few redeeming qualities apart from Angelina Jolie's presence in it. The film follows Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a heartbroken math teacher, who takes a solo trip to Europe. While there he meets a beautiful British stranger, Elise (Jolie). They began in improbable courtship, but things become dangerous when Frank realizes Elise's enemies think he's her missing partner, a criminal mastermind.

We won't spoil the ending here in case you happen to be compelled to watch the film yourself, but suffice it to say, it's worthy of several dramatic eye-rolls. Jolie and Depp have almost no chemistry in the film — we're going to go out on a limb and blame that on Depp — and their scenes together are almost painful to watch. The characterizations fall flat, and there's no sense of tension or intrigue, even as the plot is clearly meant to shock and surprise you.

"The Tourist" was clearly banking on the star power of its two leads being enough to generate interest, but even that wasn't enough for critics or audiences. As critic Philipa Hawker succinctly put it for The Age, Depp and Jolie "should be a potent combination, but it turns out to be a fizzer."

Best: Maleficent

"Maleficent" is one of the better films in Angelina Jolie's repertoire, but unfortunately, it's yet another example of a movie that doesn't quite match Jolie's considerable talents. Nonetheless, it's an enjoyable adventure and a worthwhile watch for fans of Jolie's work, and was also a huge box office hit

Based on the story of Sleeping Beauty, the film follows Maleficent (Jolie), a once happy young woman, whose heart has now been hardened due to a devastating betrayal and the invasion of her forest kingdom. Now hell-bent on revenge, Maleficent places a curse on Aurora (Elle Fanning), the princess of the royal family that invaded her homeland.

While the film's premise is somewhat fantastical — Maleficent is not actually an evil queen but in fact a misunderstood feminist anti-hero — Jolie puts her all into the performance, imbuing Maleficent with a depth and vulnerability that is necessary for the film to work at all. 

Jolie is well-suited for the role looks-wise, but it's more than that. Her knack for playing mysterious figures with dark pasts comes through here, but so does the humanity and underlying pain she brings to the role. As Tara Brady wrote for The Irish Times, Jolie "is powerful and vulnerable, compassionate and vengeful. It's hard to imagine the film existing without her."

The supporting cast uplifts the film as well, with Elle Fanning's sweet-hearted performance as Aurora being a highlight. Ultimately, Jolie's strong performance and the film's expensive-looking special effects are enough to make it a pleasing viewing experience.

Worst: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life

If we're being totally honest, neither "Lara Croft" movie is very good. The action is very silly, the plots are mostly nonsensical, and Angelina Jolie's British accent is not exactly convincing. But what the films lack in screenwriting logic, they make up for in Jolie being her alluring, smoldering self. Unfortunately, 2003's "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life," the sequel to the 2001 film, doesn't in any way improve on the flaws of the first film and is in many ways even more absurd than its predecessor.

Lara Croft (Jolie) goes on an adventure to find Pandora's box before it falls into the wrong hands. MI6 recruits Lara to locate the box before it can be stolen by nefarious criminals Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) and Chen Lo (Simon Yam), who want to unleash the deadly plague the box supposedly contains. Lara agrees to help MI6 and her mission takes her across Europe, Asia, and Africa alongside her ex-beau, Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler).

The plot of "The Cradle of Life" is actually more coherent than the plot of the first film, but it's also actually less fun because of this. Critic James Berardinelli wrote that "as impressive as Angelina Jolie's many physical feats may be, it takes even more stamina and fortitude to stay awake during the movie's seemingly endless two-hour running length." It's really a shame, as the franchise could have been the "Indiana Jones" of the 2000s if the filmmakers hadn't fumbled the bag so badly.

Best: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

If "The Tourist" is an example of a film that tries and fails to coast on the charisma of its stars, then "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is the exact opposite: It's a film that's wildly successful in this regard. It may not be a paragon of screenwriting excellence, but the potent combination of Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie makes up for any flaws it might have. 

Pitt and Jolie play John and Jane Smith, a seemingly ordinary married couple living in the suburbs. The truth is that they're both secretly assassins, and they come to find out they've been assigned to eliminate one another.

Ultimately, what really powers the movie is Pitt and Jolie's sizzling chemistry. The filmmakers were clearly banking on the power of the film's stars to be enough to enrapture audiences, and this turned out to be a profitable assumption, as the film landed in the top 10 highest-grossing films of 2005 (via Box Office Mojo).

Critic Tim Brayton called the film "one of the most entertaining and most successful movie star pictures of its decade" whose power rests partly on Jolie's performance of a woman who is "flawlessly cool, super competent" and boasts "a sharp edge."

There's something about "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" that harkens back to a bygone Hollywood era when audiences streamed into theaters to see their favorite stars light up the screen. It may not be quite as successful as the great screwball comedies of the Golden Age, but its playful humor and the undeniable charisma of its stars make for a delightful romp.

Worst: Taking Lives

"Taking Lives" sounds like a movie that's been made a hundred times before, and you'd probably be better off watching those other versions of this film. Angelina Jolie plays FBI Agent Illeana Scott, a criminal profiler, who is sent to Montreal to investigate a serial killer who takes on the identities of their victims. Her strange methods don't make her any friends within the local police department, but she finds an unlikely lead in the form of an art dealer (Ethan Hawke), who might be an eyewitness to one of the murders.

While the premise of the film might sound mildly intriguing, it's actually a rather dull take on a crime thriller. The narrative is extremely clichéd and the admirable work of its two lead actors isn't enough to salvage the mess of a script. Another tragic waste of Jolie's — and Hawke's — talents, it's more tedious than it is thrilling.

Critics were not fans of the film and audiences weren't much more enthusiastic, as seen on Rotten Tomatoes. As Jonathan Crocker noted for the BBC, while Jolie tries to ground the film "with a sombre, concentrated performance," it's not enough to transform this "defiantly unimaginative serial killer thriller" into something we haven't already seen before.

In fact, if you're a Jolie fan jonesing for a decent thriller, 1998's "The Bone Collector" is a better bet, as it follows Jolie and Denzel Washington as they try to catch a killer.

Best: Changeling

One of the best things about Clint Eastwood's 2008 film "Changeling" is that it takes Angelina Jolie seriously as an actress. Long relegated to femme fatale territory or stuck with roles where she plays second-fiddle to a much less-qualified and charming man (see: "Wanted" and "The Tourist"), "Changeling" saw Jolie taking center stage and proving to the world what a powerful actress she could really be. In fact, she was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her efforts, though she ultimately lost to Kate Winslet.

"Changeling" is set in 1928, and follows Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a woman who is devastated to find her son Walter has gone missing. When Walter is returned to her, Christine is overjoyed, only to discover that the boy who has been brought back is not actually her son. The authorities do not believe her claims and she is sent to an insane asylum, with her only ally being a clergyman (John Malkovich) searching for justice.

"Changeling" is a typically melodramatic Eastwood film, so if that's not your thing, then you might want to watch something else. The film has a very classical, almost old-fashioned style, but its visual elements are quite pleasing to look at. 

The film got somewhat mixed reviews from critics but what most people agreed on was that Jolie's performance was a stand-out. Damon Wise wrote for Empire that "at the centre is a brilliant performance by Angelina Jolie," and we agree that it's impossible to ignore Jolie's agonizing yet elegant portrayal of a mother's worst nightmare. It may at times be harrowing to watch, but it's ultimately a moving and sympathetic portrait of an improbable true story.

Worst: Playing God

As far as '90s L.A. noirs go, 1997's "Playing God" probably isn't at the top of anyone's list. The film stars David Duchovny — at the height of his "X-Files" fame — as the surgeon Eugene Sands. Having lost his medical license after performing surgery while on drugs, Dr. Sands becomes a "gun-shot doctor," patching up criminals who don't want to risk a hospital visit. His employer is the mobster Raymond Blossom (Timothy Hutton), and things begin to get complicated when Dr. Sands becomes involved with Raymond's girlfriend (Angelina Jolie).

There's nothing particularly compelling or unique about the film, unless junk food schlock is your thing. Jolie plays yet another femme fatale character, something she's certainly good at, but once again, she isn't given much to do apart from act sexy and mysterious. Though there were a few good femme fatale characters remaining in the '90s — most notably Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" and Kim Basinger in "L.A. Confidential" — Jolie's character in this film isn't a very memorable one.

Apart from the occasional charm of its lead actors, there's nothing really novel or exciting about "Playing God" and both critics and audiences struggled to see its positives. It was clearly trying to be Tarantino, but wound up closer to a late-night cable offering.

Best: Gia

Before she won an Oscar for her role in "Girl, Interrupted," Angelina Jolie played Gia Carangi in the HBO film "Gia" in a performance that is equally deserving of high praise. 

Based on a true story, the film follows Gia's career as she becomes one of the first ever supermodels before dying of AIDS in the mid-80s. Gia's first champion is powerful agent Wilhelmina Cooper (Faye Dunaway), who sees to it that Gia's career reaches new heights. Gia also meets a makeup artist Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell) with whom she falls in love.

Jolie is truly mesmerizing in this film, as she plays a young woman with a zest for life that is slowly stripped away from her. In Jolie's hands, Gia becomes a fully formed human being instead of an untouchable icon or a cautionary tale. There's an earnestness and a passion to Gia that makes you want her so badly to succeed despite the fact that you may already know how the story ends. 

The love story between Gia and Linda is also quite touching and has made "Gia" a perennial favorite among LGBTQ+ viewers, who have continued to discover the film over the years.

Because it was a TV movie, Jolie wasn't eligible to be nominated for an Oscar for her work in the film, even though it was universally acclaimed and most critics highlighted Jolie's powerful performance. But Angelina Jolie fans know this to be one of her greatest roles, and interest in the film has continued to increase since it was first released.

Worst: Original Sin

There are quite a few Angelina Jolie movies from the 1990s and early 2000s that haven't been seen by many people, but we thought we'd include some of them for accuracy's sake. One such film is 2001's "Original Sin," in which Jolie stars alongside Antonio Banderas. Jolie plays Julia, an American sent to Cuba in the late 19th century to be Luis' (Banderas) bride. Julia is nothing like Luis expected, and they soon begin a passionate love affair. But Julia is more mysterious than she initially appears, and Luis soon finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game.

"Original Sin" is poorly written and directed, and neither Jolie nor Banderas can save its shoddy execution. An erotic thriller that is more preposterous than it is sexy, it reads more like a made-for-TV movie than a serious film starring an Oscar-winning actress, which it pretends (and fails) to be. The film is probably best-remembered for Angelina Jolie's nude scenes than anything else, which is not surprising considering how schlocky it is.

Critics lambasted the movie, with Neil Smith writing for the BBC that Jolie is "required to do little more than pout seductively" and that the worst sin of all is how boring this movie is.

It's a rare Angelina Jolie film where she actually doesn't come off as much more capable than the source material allows, probably because she's asked to do very little here.

Best: Girl, Interrupted

Angelina Jolie has only won a single Oscar in her career, but, thankfully, it's for a role that is arguably her very best work. Jolie shocked the world by winning an Oscar for best supporting actress in 2000 for "Girl, Interrupted" and then promptly kissing her brother on the mouth, but what's really important here is the content of the film itself. 

Based on the memoir of the same name, the 1960s-set "Girl, Interrupted" follows 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder), who is sent to a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide. While there, she meets and befriends some of the other residents, including the alluring but sometimes dangerous Lisa (Jolie).

The film got middling reviews from critics at the time, but has since been much more well-received by contemporary viewers. It's filled with incredible performances from the likes of Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, Clea Duvall, Whoopi Goldberg, and Vanessa Redgrave. 

Though there are plenty of humorous moments in the film, we're never made to laugh at these women and their oftentimes tragic circumstances, and each character is drawn with a lot of empathy.

Jolie's performance as Lisa is especially brilliant. Time Out expressed what many of us feel, wondering, "Does it matter that every time Jolie's offscreen the film wilts a little?" Lisa puts on a front of confidence and indifference, but Jolie embodies her in such a way that it feels like you can see through to her insides at times. As part of a truly impressive ensemble cast, Jolie makes her prowess known.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.