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Every Julia Roberts Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Some people just have "it," and Julia Roberts is one of them. With her high-wattage charisma, girl-next-door charm, and stunning good looks, Roberts is a movie star through and through. For decades, she's been lighting up screens with that bright smile and infectious laugh, and she will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the biggest movie stars of her time. The Oscar-winning actor has proven she can shine in romantic comedies, dramas, thrillers, and just about any other genre.

Though she has dabbled in television in recent years, Roberts is mainly known as a film star, with dozens of movies under her belt and the ability to sell a movie on her name alone. Not all of these films are winners, however — and with that in mind, we set out to rank them all, omitting animated movies and bit parts. This left us with 43 films that we ranked according to critical consensus, cultural significance, and Roberts' role. Here's every Julia Roberts movie, ranked from worst to best. Note: there will be spoilers.

43. Mother's Day

When Roberts first collaborated with director Garry Marshall, the two gave us magic with 1990's "Pretty Woman." Their subsequent collaborations have decreased in quality — from the mediocre "Runaway Bride" to the terrible "Valentine's Day" and then, finally, the truly unwatchable "Mother's Day." Popular consensus is that "Mother's Day" is at the tail end of Roberts' filmography when it comes to quality, as the flick has an embarrassing critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Not even a selection of top-tier movie stars like Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, and Kate Hudson could save this shlocky snoozefest. "If you love your mother, do not make her see this movie," warned Entertainment Weekly.

"Mother's Day" is an intergenerational celebration of motherhood and family, told from the perspective of seemingly unconnected strangers. Roberts plays author and television personality Miranda Collins, who's on a promotional tour that's stopped in Atlanta. While there, her birth daughter Kristin (Britt Robertson) tracks her down and proceeds to get engaged on the air with Miranda standing by. Roberts' work in the film earned her a nomination for worst actress at the 2017 Razzie Awards — but let's be clear, it took a whole ensemble to stink up this movie.

42. I Love Trouble

The film might be titled "I Love Trouble," but it is impossible to love this dreadful movie — a movie so bad that it even made Rolling Stone's list for worst films of 1994. Part of the issue may have been the feud between Roberts and her co-star Nick Nolte, with whom she was unable to create any meaningful chemistry. According to The Telegraph, the co-stars even had to film some scenes separately. But it would be unfair to blame the film's terribleness on just the chemistry, as it also had a bad script, a predictable plot, and an overall lack of heft. "It's as bland as its title, which really should be attached to a Disney cat movie," wrote the Washington Post's film critic.

"I Love Trouble" is about two rival journalists, both working at Chicago newspapers. Roberts' Sabrina Peterson is an eager up-and-comer, and Nolte's Peter Brackett is on his way down. The two must combine forces when they stumble upon a big story regarding genetically modified milk. "I Love Trouble," which has dismal critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, stopped Roberts' movie star shine dead in its tracks when was at the peak of her fame.

41. Valentine's Day

Like "New Year's Eve" and "Mother's Day," Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day" is a schmaltzy attempt to build a film out of star wattage and not a whole lot more. Marshall called on Roberts to lead the ensemble of this 2010 film, which is perhaps a smidge better than "Mother's Day" but still leaves much to be desired. But while critics hated the film — it has an embarrassing critic score on Rotten Tomatoes — it drew in audiences, making over $216 million worldwide (per Box Office Mojo). By the time "Mother's Day" rolled along six years later, moviegoers knew better than to expect much from Marshall's holiday-themed films.

"Valentine's Day" is an ensemble picture with many interwoven storylines, co-starring everyone from Anne Hathaway to Jaime Foxx to Kathy Bates. Roberts plays Captain Katherine Hazeltine, who we first meet on a flight to Los Angeles. Kate has one day off from the U.S. Army, and she's using it to get home to her true love — which we are to presume is a romantic partner, but turns out to be her son, Edison. "How did director Garry Marshall persuade a big name cast to stuff themselves into this box of rancid heart-shaped chocolates?," asked Rolling Stone's legendary critic Peter Travers. More than a decade later, we're still wondering the same thing.

40. Sleeping with the Enemy

Roberts was fresh off of back-to-back Academy Award nominations when she starred in the ill-received "Sleeping with the Enemy" in 1991. The psychological thriller was a huge box office success, bringing in roughly $175 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo), no doubt propelled by Roberts' exploding fame. At the same time, it was widely considered to be a mess by the vast majority of critics and has a terrible score on Rotten Tomatoes. "Sleeping With the Enemy is a flat tire of a movie. Looks good — white sidewalls, chrome spokes — but it flaps and clunks and never gets to vroom," said Newsweek in its review.

Roberts stars as Laura Burney, an abused wife who escapes the cycle by faking her own death and changing her identity. With a new haircut and a new name, Laura heads from Massachusetts to Iowa, but her new life is interrupted when her husband Martin (Patrick Bergin) tracks her down. Though the movie isn't great, Roberts herself was relatively well-received. Variety said that "Roberts is terrific in a layered part," while Entertainment Weekly affirmed that "as an actress, Roberts has more than a great smile. She's alive on screen — you can practically feel her pulse."

39. Dying Young

"Dying Young" was not as poorly received by filmgoers as it was by critics — it has a better score with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes — but you would be hard-pressed to find many people who actually remember this forgettable 1991 drama. A romance directed by Joel Schumacher, "Dying Young" features Roberts as Hilary O'Neil, a down-on-her-luck woman who lives with her mother (Ellen Burstyn) and works as a caretaker. When Hilary begins caring for Victor Geddes (Campbell Scott), a man with leukemia, the two fall in love. "A movie like this has only one not-so-noble reason to exist: to make us sob," noted Newsweek. "And it just doesn't deliver the goods."

Hilary cares for Victor as he goes through therapy, and the two head to a vacation home once Victor finishes his care. She later finds out that Victor never actually finished his treatment and, after he tries to run away, they head to the hospital to nurse him back to health. It's all very Lifetime movie-of-the-week, and the performers are far better actors than the saccharine material warrants.

38. Fireflies in the Garden

If you've never heard of "Fireflies in the Garden," you're not alone. The film barely made a dent when it came out in 2008, earning less than $7 million worldwide and only $70,600 domestically (per Box Office Mojo). It's a bad movie, with too much melodrama and not enough complexity; as the Chicago Reader wrote, "This histrionic family drama must have looked good on paper to attract such a big-name cast, but on the screen it comes off as glib, rushed, and underdeveloped." We don't know why Roberts signed on for this, but perhaps it had something to do with her husband Danny Moder, who served as cinematographer.

"Fireflies in the Garden" is an intergenerational family drama that uses current-day scenes and flashbacks to tell the story of the Taylor family. Roberts plays Lisa Taylor, married to Charles Taylor (Willem Dafoe), an English professor. Much of the drama is between Charles and his son Michael (Ryan Reynolds), though there are plenty of other family members around, including Lisa's younger sister Jane (played by Hayden Panettiere and then Emily Watson), Michael's younger sister Ryne (Shannon Lucio), and Jane's son Christopher (Chase Ellison). Roberts' character dies on the way to her college graduation early in the film, but she's still a presence throughout due to flashbacks.

37. Ready to Wear

"Ready to Wear," otherwise known as "Prêt-à-Porter," had all of the ingredients to be a good movie. Centered around Paris Fashion Week, starring a mega-celebrity like Roberts and directed by acclaimed director Robert Altman, it seems like a slam dunk. In practice, very little about this 1994 film worked. The ensemble piece is centered by the death of fashion bigwig Olivier de la Fontaine (Jean-Pierre Cassel), the head of the Fashion Council, who chokes on a sandwich while riding in his limo. There are more than 30 characters in the film, but none of them could save it from critical savagery on Rotten Tomatoes, and even made the New York Times list of the worst films of 1994.

Roberts is somewhat removed from much of the action — which includes not only an investigation into Olivier's death, but also the hijinks of his wife, his mistress, three rival magazine editors, a sleazy photographer, and more. Her journalist character, Anne Eisenhower, is forced to share a room with fellow reporter Joe Flynn (Tim Robbins), and the two basically shack up for the duration of the movie. Despite the film's flaws, renowned movie critic Roger Ebert singled out Roberts' storyline as one of the finer elements, stating, "Robbins and Roberts, who hardly leave their room, create the bittersweet sense of a self-contained affair that has no reference to their real lives, past or future, and will wither on exposure to reality."

36. Mary Reilly

Not even a gigantic celebrity like Roberts could save "Mary Reilly" from critical mockery and box office doom. The film, which has a miserable critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, grossed only $12.3 million worldwide (per Box Office Mojo) on a reported $47 million budget (per The Numbers). It's one of Roberts' most notable flops with her name front and center, and it even earned her a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress. While the premise had some promise, as the Los Angeles Times noted, "'Mary Reilly' makes good on little of its potential to be disturbing and none of its chance to be emotionally involving."

Adapted from the novel of the same name, the film rather inventively puts a new spin on the legendary story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, focusing on Mary Reilly (Roberts), an Irish maid who works at the home of Dr. Henry Jekyll (John Malkovich). The doctor has an alter ego in Edward Hyde, the assistant he becomes when he drinks a potion. Mary doesn't add much to the story, aside from the doctor's fascination with her scars — a reminder of her abusive childhood — and an ending wherein Jekyll/Hyde poisons himself and dies in her arms.

35. Full Frontal

With its killer cast and relatively interesting concept, we get why Roberts would sign on to appear in Steven Soderbergh's 2002 ensemble film "Full Frontal." Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to its potential. "The best you can say about 'Full Frontal,' an ensemble piece that flirts with ideas about illusion and reality, is that the movie qualifies as a failed experiment," wrote the Denver Rocky Mountain News, in one of the kinder critiques.

"Full Frontal" is a dramedy that examines a Hollywood circle on the day of one friend's birthday party. Roberts appears as an actor named Francesca, who appears as Catherine in a movie-within-a-movie (called "Rendezvous") opposite Blair Underwood's Calvin, starring in the film as Nicholas. These movie scenes are intercut with the rest of the film, in quite a jarring manner. Though there were some critics who quite liked the creativity of the endeavor, the vast majority didn't get it. That said, as Newsweek noted, "Soderbergh's playfully experimental spirit should be saluted, even if the end product looks like it was more fun to make than it is to watch."

34. Hook

Audiences liked the 1991 film "Hook" far more the critics — compare the audience score to the critic score on Rotten Tomatoes — but the parts that worked had little to do with Roberts. In fact, she scored her first of three (to date) Razzie Award nominations for Worst Actress for her take on Tinkerbell in "Hook." The big-budget movie focuses on a grown-up Peter Pan (Robin Williams), known as lawyer Peter Banning in the modern world, who must revisit Neverland to rescue children from Captain Hook's (Dustin Hoffman) wrath.

Steven Spielberg directed "Hook," so we wouldn't go so far as to say it's a terrible movie, but at best, it's a mildly entertaining fantasy film that could have been a lot better. The sets were effervescent, Williams gave it all of his energy, and Hoffman made a decent villain, but we were left wanting much more. As Newsweek noted, "Spielberg is like a child who's been given too many toys to play with — he's juggling so many whimsical notions (and expensive props) he loses sight of the tale's simple core." And as Tinkerbell, Roberts was given little to do — The Austin Chronicle said she was "stuck on the sidelines" and we have to agree.

33. America's Sweethearts

The 2001 romantic comedy "America's Sweethearts" is about an ugly Hollywood divorce between two beloved actors — Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones) — and the drama that ensues when they must head out on a press junket to promote a new film. Roberts plays Gwen's sister and personal assistant, Kiki, who is treated miserably by her spoiled, self-obsessed sister. Having recently lost a lot of weight, Kiki is — for the first time in her life — being noticed, and at the same time noticing how she operates as a doormat for her famous sis. While acting as the go-between for Gwen and Eddie, she proceeds to have sex with her brother-in-law. Only in romantic comedies do people so easily start relationships with their siblings' exes.

One of the biggest issues with "America's Sweethearts" — and there are many — is that Roberts was cast as the shy, overlooked sister of a big movie star. But, come on, it's Julia Roberts. In no world does that face and that charisma believably live in the shadow of anyone, extra weight or not. The film did relatively well at the box office, grossing $138 million (per Box Office Mojo), but did poorly with critics. The San Francisco Chronicle called the film "overpackaged, overslick twaddle," noting its lack of emotion, overall predictability, and dull jokes.

32. Eat Pray Love

"Eat Pray Love" was a huge box office hit for Roberts, raking in nearly $205 million in worldwide grosses (per Box Office Mojo), but a good movie, it was not. It is a clear instance of a movie's source material — in this case, Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling memoir, "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" — being far stronger than the film adaptation.

"Eat Pray Love" stars Roberts as Elizabeth "Liz" Gilbert, a woman who feels lost in her life and without a path forward. Fresh off a divorce, she decides to set off on a journey around the world to find herself and regain her joy. She explores food in Italy, prayer in India, and love in Indonesia, but all the audience gets is a solid helping of boredom. If it were not for Roberts, who does what she can, "Eat Pray Love" would be totally unwatchable (versus mostly unwatchable). The Guardian summed it up when he wrote the following: "Sit, watch, groan. Yawn, fidget, stretch. Eat Snickers, pray for end of dire film about Julia Roberts's emotional growth, love the fact it can't last forever. Wince, daydream, frown."

31. Larry Crowne

Julia Roberts looks like she is having so much fun on the poster for her 2011 film "Larry Crowne," which features her on the back of a motorcycle behind America's dad Tom Hanks. If only the movie were as much fun as the imagery — we promise, it's not. The romantic comedy — co-written and directed by Hanks — is a relatively flavorless offering, devoid of anything new or exciting. It is not awful, per se, just overwhelmingly "blah" in a way that we would not have expected when pairing two of Hollywood's most likable stars. "This is film as comfort food, and even if it has very little nutritional value, its pleasantly bland texture will help keep you occupied until your next job interview or layoff notice," said the Detroit News.

Hanks plays the titular character in the film, a recently fired divorced veteran who is having trouble finding work due to his lack of a college degree. Larry decides to enroll at a local community college, where he meets Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), his speech teacher. Larry and the unhappily married Mercedes strike up a friendship that turns romantic and, though Hanks and Roberts have the necessary chemistry, the film has very little to say beyond the obvious and there is very little comedy in this so-called rom com. "Do not expect 'Forrest Gump' or 'Pretty Woman,'" warned The Observer. "Congenial is the word for 'Larry Crowne,' but it's as flat as an ironing board."

30. Secret in Their Eyes

Roberts' 2015 film "Secret in Their Eyes" is based upon an Argentinian thriller of the same name, and it pales in comparison to the original. Though it has far from Roberts' worst Tomatometer score, "Secret in Their Eyes" has proven to be a forgettable line on the actress's ample resume, even though she was quite good in it. This has much more to do with the film than the performances. As The Globe and Mail noted, "it's a story about moral ambiguity and living in the past, but it packs a weak emotional punch despite the well-wrought efforts of an all-star cast."

Roberts plays Jess Cobb, an investigator for the Los Angeles district attorney's office who — alongside her friend, FBI counterterrorism agent Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ejiofor) — is called to the crime of a scene where a woman lay dead. The young woman turns out to be Jess's daughter, Carolyn (Zoe Graham), and though Ray gets on the case immediately, it takes 13 years until he tracks down his primary suspect for good. Though the film is mediocre, Roberts was widely praised for her performance as a grieving mother. The Hollywood Reporter called it "her strongest performance in years," while The Detroit News said Roberts brought "a stark power to her supporting role that resembles nothing she's done before."

29. Satisfaction

"Satisfaction" was Roberts' first feature film credit, which makes it memorable in at least one regard. But will it leave you satisfied? Eh, probably not. The film has middle of the road score on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, so people who have seen it are clearly not big fans. As the New York Times stated, "Satisfaction" is, "a typical, low-budget summer movie, where everyone has a hot romance, a good body and an expensive haircut." The movie is forgettable and cliched, but not entirely unwatchable, if only for the vibrancy of a young Roberts and her screen partners — including Justine Bateman and Liam Neeson.

The movie focuses on The Mystery, an all-female rock band from Baltimore, made up of graduating high school seniors. Lead singer Jennie Lee (Bateman) and her bandmates — including Daryle (Roberts), the bass guitarist — are headed to Florida for a big audition but find themselves with a number of obstacles in their way. They make it, ace the audition, and are hired by the nightclub owner, Martin Falcon (Neeson), but have issues fitting in at the Atlantic Ocean beach resort. The Los Angeles Times called "Satisfaction" a movie filled with "ruinous cliches" and blamed the script — not the performances — for its ordinariness.

28. Mona Lisa Smile

According to Rotten Tomatoes, audiences liked "Mona Lisa Smile" far more than critics, but we had to fall somewhere in between and rank this in the middle of our list. The 2003 dramatic film is absolutely formulaic and predictable, as many critics suggest, but it is also somewhat enjoyable as long as expectations are tempered. The acting is strong, the period costumes are fun, and the subject matter is interesting, even if it is full of cliches. "Mona Lisa Smile" was perhaps not worth paying Roberts the $25 million she reportedly earned, per Forbes, but it is worth watching at least once.

The film is set in the 1950s and features Roberts as Katherine Ann Watson, a California graduate student who is hired to teach art history at the prestigious all-female Wellesley College in Massachusetts. There, she meets a collection of very different students, including feisty conservative Betty (Kirsten Dunst), wannabe lawyer Joan (Julia Stiles), and sexually liberal Giselle (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Katherine impacts the lives of her students, ruffling quite a few feathers in the process, but ultimately winning respect and praise. Though numerous critics compared the film to the far superior "Dead Poet's Society," like USA Today, others found something of worth in the film's message. "Katherine Watson is smart and brave and stands by her beliefs, and so of course she reminds us of ourselves," wrote Roger Ebert in his Chicago-Sun Times review.

27. Runaway Bride

The world had high expectations for "Runaway Bride," the 1999 film that reunited Roberts with her "Pretty Woman" co-star Richard Gere and director Garry Marshall. But "Runaway Bride" lacked the spark of "Pretty Woman," and it is a subpar romantic comedy that is nowhere near the quality of some of Roberts' other films in the genre. But even though the film was critically a miss, the studio was likely happy, given its enormous box office success. Per Box Office Mojo, "Runaway Bride" grossed nearly $310 million worldwide.

Roberts plays Maggie Carpenter, a woman who has been dubbed the "runaway bride" after leaving multiple would-be grooms at the altar. Gere's character, Ike Graham, is a reporter who has covered Maggie's story ... only to find out he included a number of factual errors. To regain his reputation, he heads to her hometown to write an in-depth article as Maggie preps for her next wedding. Predictably, it is not her fiancé Bob (Christopher Meloni) who steals Maggie's heart, but journalist Ike who ends up her groom. "It's a sitcom plot, loaded with sitcom jokes (an old lady gushes about Ike's 'tight butt') and directed by sitcom shtick master Marshall," wrote Rolling Stone's longtime critic Peter Travers, who also acknowledged that "Roberts rides above it all with her usual smiling radiance."

26. Something to Talk About

"Something to Talk About" is one of a group of disappointing movies Roberts made in the early to mid 1990s, wherein her undeniable talents were simply not matched by the material. Though it is slightly better than other movies of that time period, like "Ready to Wear" and "I Love Trouble," "Something to Talk About" is a paint-by-the-numbers movie that underwhelms, even for die-hard fans of Roberts' schtick. We have to agree with The San Francisco Chronicle's review, which said that "'Something to Talk' About never goes bad, though it does get corny in places, and it hits a couple of dull patches near the finish."

"Something to Talk About" is not a horrendous movie, and so we are not surprised that a small number of critics, such as Roger Ebert, took to it. Roberts stars as Grace King Bichon, a married mother who returns home to her family's farm when she finds out her husband Eddie (Dennis Quaid) has been having an affair. The affair seems to let loose a fire inside of Grace, who is pressured by her parents to forgive her husband and made painstakingly aware that the Southern townsfolk are gossiping about her. Roberts is charming as per usual, but it is Kyra Sedgwick as her no-nonsense sister Emma Rae King that steals the show — and she has the Golden Globe Award nomination to prove it.

25. Flatliners

Roberts was only a couple of years into her Hollywood career when she starred in the 1990 psychological horror movie "Flatliners," directed by Joel Schumacher, so we can cut her some slack on this one. Though the film is watchable, it is not necessarily one we would pull out every time we need a good scare. "Flatliners" is about a group of medical students who start conducting covert experiments to force people to the brink of death, so that they can uncover what lies in the beyond. Roberts plays one of the students, Rachel Manus, all of whom are being led by their peer Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland).

Even Roger Ebert — who gave the film three stars for being "original" and "intelligent" — noted the psychological horror's repetitiveness. "Eventually the movie falls into a disappointing pattern, in which we're supposed to hold our breath while yet another voyager balances between life and death," he wrote in his Chicago Sun-Times review. "One resuscitation is suspenseful. Two are fine. More than two wears out their welcomes." The visions the students have while flatlined also follow them back once they are resuscitated, which is interesting in concept and a bit boring in effect. After all, it difficult to sympathize with characters who keep purposefully taking the ultimate risk. In the Julia Roberts well, "Flatliners" is an unremarkable film, probably best known for being the picture on which she met future fiancé Sutherland (per Best Life).

24. Mirror Mirror

While we like when Roberts plays against type — and an evil queen fits the bill! — "Mirror Mirror" was a lukewarm attempt at a live action Snow White story. It was much more children-oriented than the darker "Snow White and the Huntsman," which also came out in 2012, but not compelling enough for adults to want to sit through a fairytale that has been told countless times before. As Rolling Stone noted in its review, "Who wants to see a fairy tale that weighs a ton? 'Mirror Mirror' reflects badly on everyone involved." Though the sets and the costumes were beautiful, there was little of substance beyond them.

Others were kinder in their reviews — especially when it came to Roberts' turn as the evil queen, appearing opposite Lily Collins as Snow White. "Roberts gets to act out the meanest, pettiest, and most amusingly wicked of urges, laying on the cartoon cruelty," said Entertainment Weekly. "Confidently still one of the Fairest of Them All among her own generation, the movie star has fun with the cute contradiction of a pretty woman playing an ugly competitor." Roberts may have chewed the scenery in the best of ways, but a film adaptation of a classic story needs to offer something new for it to be worthwhile. "Mirror Mirror" is all pomp and excess, with very little depth and is nowhere worthy of Roberts and her extraordinary talents.

23. Stepmom

Critics may have been mixed on "Stepmom," but audiences liked it a whole lot more. The 1998 drama is not without its flaws, but it is an effective tearjerker with solid acting by Roberts, Ed Harris, and Susan Sarandon, who received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her role in the film. As the Baltimore Sun noted, the movie's "success is due to its three appealing lead players, all of whom lend class and intelligence to the enterprise." Sarandon and Roberts have awesome screen chemistry, even if they are at each other's throats for the vast majority of the film.

"Stepmom" is about a New York City family and the issues that arise when patriarch Luke Harrison (Harris), divorced from the mother of his kids, Jackie (Sarandon), introduces girlfriend Isabel Kelly (Roberts) into the fold as a co-parent. Jackie and Isabel spend much of the movie at odds, but eventually form a mutual understanding in the face of Jackie's impending death (she has terminal cancer). The movie brought in nearly $160 million in worldwide grosses, per Box Office Mojo, but no word on how many boxes of Kleenex were used by tearful moviegoers.

22. The Pelican Brief

Roberts was ecstatic when she got to present the 2002 Best Actor Oscar to Denzel Washington, proclaiming that she "loved her life" before announcing her pal's name. The root of their friendship may very well have started with "The Pelican Brief," a 1993 movie that saw the pair of uber-famous thespians take on a John Grisham thriller. The film was a considerable box office success, earning $195 million worldwide (per Box Office Mojo), and it was Roberts' first half-decent thriller. Clearly, the movie did not suffer from the fact that Washington refused to kiss Roberts so as to not alienate his core fan base of Black women (according to Dish Nation).

Roberts appears in the film as New Orleans law student Darby Shaw, who uncovers a massive conspiracy when she writes a law brief about the assassination of two Supreme Court Justices. After her law professor is killed due to the information, Darby finds herself pursued by mysterious forces. She partners with a Washington Post reporter, Gray Grantham (Washington), and together they piece together the necessary evidence for Grantham to write an exposé. Darby ends the film in witness protection, the bad guys go down in flames, and everything is tied up neatly. "The Pelican Brief" is not a great movie — it's not even one of the top three Grisham movie adaptations — but it is entertaining and easily digestible. "A clever device to take your mind off your problems for 141 minutes," said Roger Ebert in his three-star Chicago-Sun Times review.

21. The Mexican

When Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt were cast in "The Mexican," people had to imagine that the two beautiful screen stars would create flames. Unfortunately, the 2001 comedic caper movie gave audiences no big flames. It produced, at best, small sparks. "The Mexican" is neither's best work, as the pair's chemistry never gelled and the story is disjointed, but it is far from abysmal. As Slate acknowledged, the film is "a passably diverting entry in the Tarantino genre of splatter and yuks and soulfully bumbling hit men."

Pitt's Jerry Welbach works for the mob, a job he is forced into when he accidentally helps send mob boss Arnold Margolese (Gene Hackman) to prison. After Jerry has worked for Margolese's underling Bernie Nayman (Bob Balaban) for years, he is tasked with one final mission before he can get out: Go to Mexico and track down an antique gun. It's an idea so idiotic that it causes his girlfriend Samantha Barzel (Roberts) to leave him and head to Las Vegas. On the way there, Samantha is abducted by hitman Leroy (James Gandolfini), to give extra incentive for that pistol to come back undamaged.

20. Ocean's Twelve

Not quite as good as its predecessor, but still an entertaining crime caper, "Ocean's Twelve" is a mid-list entry on Roberts' list of best films. Here, she reprises the role of Tess Ocean, wife of gentlemanly thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and, in this film, the twelfth member of the crew. Roberts' part was one of the more interesting ones in the 2004 movie, as she not only played Tess, but also appeared as the voice of "Julia Roberts," s famous actress who looks like Tess. It is confusing, but a fun kind of wink and nod.

The film saw Danny gathering his team (and Tess) to attempt some European heists, so that he can pay off the money they stole in the first film — with interest. These include stealing a stock certificate in Amsterdam, and an irreplaceable Fabergé egg in Rome. "Ocean's Twelve" was a big box office hit, with Box Office Mojo reporting more than $362 million in worldwide grosses — not quite as high as "Ocean's Eleven," but still very good. When it came to critical consensus, however, the film underwhelmed in comparison to the previous one. As Newsweek noted, "This sequel is best enjoyed if you don't take the plot too seriously."

19. Conspiracy Theory

Roberts made a lot of thrillers in the 1990s, with varying levels of success, but "Conspiracy Theory" is one of the better ones. While it is somewhat forgettable and often drowning in cliches, it is a watchable piece of fluff that unsurprisingly pulled in nearly $137 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo). The Detroit News said it best: the plot works if "you just go along with the silliness to savor the performances."

The 1997 political thriller stars Mel Gibson as Jerry Fletcher, a New York cab driver with a penchant for conspiracy theories. Roberts is a lawyer for the Justice Department named Alice Sutton, who pretends to listen to Jerry's inane ramblings because he once saved her from a robbery. Jerry is eerily obsessed with Alice, so their inevitable romance storyline has a major ick factor. But the main crux of the movie, wherein one of Jerry's theories comes true and the duo pieces together the parts as they run from secret operatives, works as well as most big-budget blockbusters. ”'Conspiracy Theory' does show off enough glossy style (car headlights melting into blurs, etc.) and incidental cleverness to keep viewers largely hooked," wrote The New York Times.

18. Money Monster

We're all suckers for Roberts and George Clooney's acting partnership, and so we had high hopes for "Money Monster," a 2016 crime thriller that reconnected the movie stars. Though not all of our expectations were met, the film is a moderately enjoyable blockbuster with an interesting plot and an unexpected use of comedy. And as Vox said in its (unflattering) review, "Julia Roberts is as good as she's been in years."

The film, which was directed by Jodie Foster, centers on television host Lee Gates (Clooney), a charismatic financial expert who is taken hostage after a company he endorsed loses a great deal of money. Roberts plays Lee's producer Patty Fenn, who attempts to assuage the assailant, Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell) while remaining acutely aware that cameras are still rolling. You somewhat feel for Kyle, who is angry at having lost his entire life savings, but there is still a tenseness to the film, even if it paints big finance as more of a villain than the man with a gun and explosives. "As a solid B-movie elevated by A-list talent and pushed along by a brisk running time — it's only 98 minutes — 'Money' has its own rewards," wrote Entertainment Weekly.

17. Duplicity

We have mixed feelings about the 2009 rom com/crime hybrid "Duplicity," but it earned its place on this list because Roberts was quite dazzling in her role. In fact, she earned a Golden Globe nomination and rather positive reviews from critics. Overall, it is a spy thriller with some good acting and fun twists, but a hard-to-follow plot whose puzzles are perhaps overly complex.

"Duplicity" features Roberts as corporate spy (and former CIA officer) Claire Stenwick, who is romantically entangled with another corporate spy (and former MI6 agent), Ray Koval (Clive Owen). Because the film does not present the story in a chronological fashion, it is relatively confusing and requires much brain power. Many of the twists are interesting, however, as the two work together and apart on their various missions. "'Duplicity' doesn't have depth — but it does have Julia Roberts, in full Hollywood movie-star mode. And for filmgoers with scaled-back expectations, that news may be enough," wrote Entertainment Weekly. Come for the big con that the two main characters are running — which involves stealing a formula and selling it for millions — but stay for the witty banter and lighthearted romance.

16. Mystic Pizza

"Mystic Pizza" was only Roberts' second feature film, but that does not mean it is to be skipped. The romantic comedy, which came out in 1988, is nothing fancy, but it is a pleasant coming-of-age story. The movie revolves around three girls — sisters Kat (Annabeth Gish) and Daisy Araújo (Roberts) and their friend Jojo Barbosa (Lili Taylor) — who waitress at a Connecticut pizza parlor called Mystic Pizza. The three women each have romantic struggles, leaning on each other in their times of crisis. There is also a plot with the parlor and a famous food critic, but the bulk of the movie is relationship-driven. Variety called it "genuine and moving."

As Daisy, Roberts is the more carefree sister. Daisy's love interest is Charlie (Adam Storke), who does not quite know how to handle his insensitive family's views about him dating a girl of Portuguese descent. Roberts is quite good in the film, and she was even nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. Gish and Taylor are also effective in their roles, and the stars have an easy chemistry. "I have a feeling that 'Mystic Pizza' may someday become known for the movie stars it showcased back before they became stars," wrote film critic Roger Ebert of the lead trio.

15. Everyone Says I Love You

It is hard to recommend a Woody Allen film these days, for obvious reasons, but if we divorce the movie from the creator, "Everyone Says I Love You" is objectively a good film. The 1996 musical would actually be even higher on this list if not for Roberts' relatively small role in the ensemble. Though "Everyone Says I Love You" was a box office flop, bringing in just under $10 million worldwide (per Box Office Mojo), critics were big fans of the movie. "It would take a heart of stone to resist this movie," wrote Roger Ebert, who awarded the film four stars.

"Everyone Says I Love You" features a multitude of famous actors singing (not always well) across cities like New York, Paris, and Venice. Roberts plays Von Sidell, a woman that Joe Berlin (Allen) falls for when visiting Venice with his daughter D.J. (Natasha Lyonne). D.J. helps Joe learn about the married Von, as she has insider information after eavesdropped on her therapy sessions with a friend's mother. Allen's romancing of the much-younger Roberts, using this secret information, is gross for sure, but the movie itself is entertaining and flirty — especially the parts featuring Edward Norton as a lawyer who falls for his boss's daughter. Plus, it is fun to see Roberts flex her inexpert singing voice in a musical.

14. August: Osage County

"August: Osage County" has performances far outweigh the middling reviews. Roberts, in particular, is in fine form in the 2013 film, which focuses on a large, dysfunctional family dealing with the disappearance of patriarch Beverly Weston (Sam Shepherd). She plays Beverly's daughter Barbara Weston-Fordham, who returns to her rural Oklahoma home after her dad's disappearance. Meryl Street plays her obnoxious cancer patient mother Violet, who only gets more insufferable once the family learns of Beverly's death.

The rest of the large ensemble includes Barbara's husband Bill (Ewan McGregor), daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin), and two sisters, one of whom (Ivy, played by Julianne Nicholson) is in love with their cousin Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch). This is a dark movie, a tragicomedy in which all players shine even when the material does not. For her role in the film, Roberts was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, British Academy of Film and Television Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, in addition to receiving recognition from a number of critics groups. "It is Roberts who makes 'August: Osage County' watchable," said the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's the one performance in this open-wound roundelay that doesn't, in fact, feel like a performance."

13. Ocean's Eleven

"Ocean's Eleven" is great fun and, by most accounts, a very good heist movie. The only reason it is not higher on our list is because Roberts part is rather small, making it more of a movie Julia Roberts was in rather than a "Julia Roberts movie." Nonetheless, it would be criminal to leave this movie out, given that Roberts is on the poster and that it is one of her most exciting movies. As Rolling Stone's Peter Travers wrote, "Forget Oscar, 'Ocean's Eleven' is the coolest damned thing around." The 2001 heist movie brought in a whopping $450 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo) and earned solid reviews.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, "Ocean's Eleven" is a remake of a 1960 film of the same name, an ensemble heist film that gathers some of the best and brightest actors in Hollywood. Led by charming ex-con Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his pal Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), a crew of thieves plan and execute a multi-location casino heist, stealing $160 million from casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Roberts appears as Danny's estranged wife Tess Ocean, who is now dating Benedict. Roberts is not given a ton to do, but she and Clooney work well together and she certainly stands out in the testosterone-heavy film. The New York Post wrote that their scenes "exhibit star chemistry rarely seen since Hollywood's Golden Era."

12. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

The 2002 film "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is many things — a biography, a neo noir mystery, a dark comedy, George Clooney's directorial debut — but above all else, it is just a plain good movie. The flick is fully engaging, stylistically cool, and incredibly interesting. That it only grossed $33 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo) is a travesty. "This is a beautifully composed movie, shot through with sadness. A fair distance from flawless, but fascinating nonetheless," noted the BBC.

"Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is a loose adaptation of television game show king Chuck Barris' autobiography, in which the creator of "The Dating Game" and "The Gong Show" discussed his (alleged) time as a CIA assassin. Played in the film by a stellar Sam Rockwell, it is unclear whether Barris is actually telling the truth or not — but does it really matter, anyway? We care less about whether Barris was actually killing people overseas and more about the absorbing way that writer Charlie Kaufman balances humor and darkness in this very good picture. Roberts plays Patricia Watson, a two-faced operative whom Barris outsmarts.

11. Charlie Wilson's War

We may not have loved Roberts' pairing with Tom Hanks in 2011's "Larry Crowne," but we get why the two mega-celebs chose to work together again — because their first effort, "Charlie Wilson's War," was a really good film. The 2007 biographical drama is based upon the true story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson (Hanks) and his efforts to finance Afghan freedom fighters going up against the Soviets. Wilson's allies in his efforts include CIA operative Gust Avrakotos (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and beautiful Southern socialite Joanne Herring (Roberts).

It's easy to appreciate the movie's exploration of Wilson and co.'s role in the covert operations of the Afghan-Soviet War, and even more so appreciate Hanks playing a Texas bachelor with a wild streak. Hoffman earned much of the notice — and an Academy Award nod — but Hanks and Roberts both also scored Golden Globe nominations for their roles in "Charlie Wilson's War." The movie, helmed by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Mike Nichols, is also far more satirical comedy than outright political drama, which differentiates it from so many other political films. "'Charlie Wilson's War' is that rare Hollywood commodity these days: a smart, sophisticated entertainment for grownups," wrote renowned film critic Todd McCarthy in his review for Variety.

10. Michael Collins

It is an interesting thing that some of Roberts' best films have been her most commercially unsuccessful. That is the case with "Michael Collins," which is a very good movie that brought in only $11.1 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo). The 1996 period drama is a biographical film that centers on revolutionary/soldier/politician/straight up dreamboat Michael Collins, who was a key feature in the Irish battle for independence. The film won multiple awards at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for two Oscars, one for cinematography and one for score.

Though "Michael Collins" is very much Neeson's film, Roberts held her own as Kitty Kiernan, Collins' love interest who also has eyes for his friend Harry Boland (Aidan Quinn). The film got solid reviews, but falls a few notches on our list because it does not give Roberts much to do. As The Austin Chronicle noted, the part "is so limited that it tends to slow down the action of the film." As a movie, "Michael Collins" is solid, but as a Julia Roberts vehicle, it just does not adequately use enough of the colors in her pack of crayons. The Chicago Sun-Times' renowned critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars in his review, but called the character of Kitty "unnecessary" and agreed that her scenes "function as a sop to the audience."

9. Pretty Woman

It is almost jarring that "Pretty Woman" only a slightly above average score on Rotten Tomatoes, as it has emerged as a classic film in the 30-some years since it came out. It is also one of the defining films of Roberts' career, one in which she gives a standout performance that earned her an Academy Award nomination and set her up to become America's sweetheart. We are by no means saying that "Pretty Woman" is a perfect film, but Roberts' Vivian Ward is unquestionably one of the most memorable characters she has ever played. It is also an example of how Roberts contagious energy and illustrious charm is able to elevate a movie. Plus, that hair and that smile have never looked so good. As Rolling Stone noted at the time, "The Roberts smile — full-lipped, a mile wide and gleaming — is the closest the movies have yet come to capturing sunshine."

"Pretty Woman" is at its core a love story between lonely businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) and Vivian Ward, the sex worker he hires to spend the week with him. It relies on many classic Hollywood tropes, but the palpable chemistry between the main stars makes "Pretty Woman" work better than it should. "Here is a movie that could have marched us down mean streets into the sinks of iniquity, and it glows with romance," wrote Rogert Ebert.

8. My Best Friend's Wedding

"My Best Friend's Wedding" was a gigantic hit at the box office, reeling in just shy of $300 million in grosses (per Box Office Mojo), and was well-received by critics and audiences alike. The 1997 romantic comedy earned Roberts a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical. It remains one of Roberts' best romantic comedies to date, and much of its success is due to her winning performance.

Roberts appears in the film as Julianne Potter, a food critic known as Jules to her friends — like lifelong buddy and former boyfriend Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney), with whom she once made a pact to get married if both hit 28 as singletons. Just shy of Jules' 28th birthday, Michael informs her that he is getting married, and that he wants her to be there (and the wedding is in four days). This makes Jules realize that she loves Michael, and so she heads off to disrupt his wedding to sweet, innocent Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz). Jules ends up liking Kimmy — who makes her maid of honor — and though she does sabotage things, she also fixes them. It is a rom com where the girl does not get the boy, and yet, the audience leaves happy. "At a time when the Hollywood romantic comedy feels like an endangered species ... the buoyant, bittersweet 'Wedding' puts new fizz in an old form," said Newsweek.

7. Closer

"Closer" won the Best Cast award from the National Board of Review, but no awards body singled out Roberts for her work in the film (co-stars Natalie Portman and Clive Owen were both Oscar nominated). Despite that fact, it is one of Roberts' top performances — one in which she ditches her status as America's sweetheart and plays a truly unlikable character.

"Closer" focuses on four central characters, starting with British writer Dan (Jude Law), who has written a novel about Alice Ayres (Portman), a mysterious American woman he has been dating for a year. At a photoshoot with photographer Anna (Roberts), Alice overhears Dan trying to convince Anna to sleep with him. He then develops an obsession with the photog, which results in him pretending to be her in a sex chatroom, where he targets dermatologist Larry Gray (Owen). When Larry meets the real Anna due to the scheme, they fall in love and start dating. Each of the characters cheats and lies a few more times throughout the film, swapping partners in a merry-go-round that will leave you dizzy from all of the betrayal. As Rolling Stone's critic Peter Travers says in his review, the movie "vibrates with eroticism, bruising laughs and dynamite performances from four attractive actors doing decidedly unattractive things."

6. Steel Magnolias

While it is fair to say that "Pretty Woman" turned Roberts into a major movie star, it was her supporting turn in "Steel Magnolias," one year prior, that truly put her on the map. The 1989 female-led dramedy focuses on a group of Louisiana women who lean on each other through life's ebbs and flows. Roberts plays Shelby Eatonton-Latcherie, a Southern belle who is set to marry handsome Jackson Latcherie (Dylan McDermott). Throughout the film we see Shelby marry and have a child, despite doctors warning her that she should not bear children due to her type one diabetes. For her role in the film, Roberts won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

There are a number of other interesting characters in "Steel Magnolias," including gossipy salon owner Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton), and cranky grump Louisa "Ouiser" Boudreaux (Shirley Maclaine), but at the heart of the film are Shelby and her mother M'Lynn (Sally Field), who is overprotective in a way that is both loving and smothering. Shelby's health is a central focus — who can forget the iconic scene where M'Lynn yells for someone to bring Shelby some juice? — and her inevitable death is the movie's climax. Roger Ebert called the film "essentially a series of comic one-liners leading up to a teary tragedy," but admitted "the one-liners are mostly funny and the tragedy deserves most, but not all, of the tears." If you don't weep as the other women rally around M'Lynn after the funeral, we question your humanity.

5. Ben Is Back

It is a real shame that so few people saw "Ben Is Back" in theaters when it came out in 2018 — the film grossed only $10 million worldwide, per Box Office Mojo — but it is our sincere hope that a far wider audience has found this critically acclaimed gem of a film on streaming services. "Ben Is Back" is a deeply moving film about a mother who does everything she can to help her young son overcome his substance addiction. Roberts is absolutely heartbreaking in it. The Seattle Times said that she "takes hold of this movie like a lamppost in the winter darkness."

Roberts plays Holly Burns, whose 19-year-old son Ben (Lucas Hedges) is visiting from rehab for a surprise Christmas Eve visit. We later learn that Holly and the family dog Ponce saved Ben from an overdose and see that she will stop at nothing to help Ben survive. Even after Ben ditches her at a gas station, Holly grabs medical aid and tracks him with the hope of reviving him if he has overdosed again. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "Almost every 10 minutes something unexpected happens that turns the story in an arresting new direction, and yet 'Ben Is Back' never once feels manipulated or mechanical."

4. Notting Hill

When it comes to romantic comedies, "Notting Hill" is not only at the tops of Roberts' stack, but amongst the best the genre has to offer. The 1999 was critically acclaimed, and even made Vanity Fair's 2018 list of the 25 best romantic comedies of all time (and for what it is worth, "My Best Friend's Wedding" was also on there). Roberts kind of plays herself — or at least, a version of herself — but the Golden Globe Award nomination she earned for playing movie star Anna Scott in the film was well deserved. The film itself, and co-star Hugh Grant, were also nominated.

"Notting Hill" pairs the glamorous Anna with a mild-mannered British divorcé, bookstore owner William Thacker (Grant). The two meet when Anna visits William's Notting Hill bookstore, and later again, when he spills juice on her in the street. Romance blooms from there, but things end abruptly due to the fact that Anna has an equally famous movie star boyfriend in Jeff King (Alec Baldwin). After a night together turns into a big tabloid scandal, Anna unfairly blames William — only to return years later professing her love. Roberts and Grant have sparkling chemistry which, together with a smart script, helped make "Notting Hill" a classic. "It's funny, sympathetic, mostly smart, and it boasts a likable cast of characters led by two performers who have star power and know how to use it," wrote the Chicago Tribune.

3. Erin Brockovich

There is no doubt that "Erin Brockovich" will go down in history as the ultimate Julia Roberts' performance, if only because it is the role for which she very deservedly won an Academy Award (and Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA). The film capitalizes on every one of Roberts' many talents, from her dramatic chops to her ability to kill a one-liner to her general likeability and charm. Beyond the performance, it is an extremely enjoyable legal drama that both captivates and surprises. "There is never a dull moment. Not with Roberts taking charge," said The Hollywood Reporter, which also called Roberts a "force of nature" in the film. Newsweek wrote that Roberts is "playing a brash, tenacious, trash-talking heroine unlike any she's played before, and she's utterly convincing in the part."

Based upon real people and events, "Erin Brockovich" is the story of a woman who fought and won a case against a big energy company (Pacific Gas & Electric Company) that was accused of contaminating the groundwater in Hinkley, California. The character Erin — a single mother of three with no law education, a controversially skimpy wardrobe, and a biker boyfriend (Aaron Eckhart) she uses as a babysitter — is just as much a focus as the case, and it is hard not to root for the tough, bright underdog.

2. Wonder

"Wonder" could have easily turned out to be a shmaltzy mess of a film, as so many films of the coming-of-age genre tend to be, but it is far from it. In fact, it's one of Roberts' best reviewed films, earning it a spot near the top of our (very long) list. 

Based upon a 2012 novel, "Wonder" centers on a boy named Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), who suffers from a facial deformity disorder that has required 27 surgeries just so he can have the use of his senses. Auggie is 10, but has been homeschooled, so when he starts middle school, his family is understandably worried. Roberts plays Auggie's mother, Isabel, opposite Owen Wilson as his father, Nate. One thing that keeps the film from veering into the shlocky category is that it is told from a variety of perspectives, starting with Auggie's but also including that of his older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), his friend Jack (who betrays him at one point), and even the school's bully Julian (Bryce Gheisar). "Wonder is a story of connection, not suffering. Dramatizing one boy's effect on the people around him, it invites the viewer into that fold," wrote The Hollywood Reporter.

1. The Normal Heart

"The Normal Heart" is a beautifully crafted television movie, made by HBO and based upon Larry Kramer's 1985 same-titled play. The 2014 film is about the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, tracing its evolution in New York City between 1981 and 1984. Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, an openly gay writer and activist who is mobilized by the onset of a disease affecting his community. Ned's fight for visibility is largely started after he visits Dr. Emma Brookner (Roberts), who asks for his help spreading awareness at a time when the disease was thought to be a rare cancer. A doctor fighting against a homophobic medical industry, government, and culture, Dr. Brookner plays a vital role in this devastating and important movie. According to Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, the film is "written, directed and acted with a passion that radiates off the screen."

"The Normal Heart" is Roberts' best reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes, and her performance was lauded. Her work earned her nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards, Critics Choice Television Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The film itself won best television film at the Emmys and Critics Choice Television Awards and was nominated by the Golden Globes. The film is not an easy watch — many of the characters die by the end, and it is hard not to feel anger at the inaction that cost so many lives — but "The Normal Heart" is definitely a must-see picture.