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Why Laura From Pieces Of Her Looks So Familiar

"Pieces of Her" debuted earlier this year on Netflix and quickly emerged as a polarizing offering from the streaming service. While many raved about the show's numerous plot twists, others couldn't get behind the characters, who some believed to be underwritten. Nevertheless, the show spent five weeks on Netflix's Top 10, achieving the coveted Number 1 spot during its second week of release (via What's On Netflix). Based on the book of the same name, "Pieces of Her" follows Andy Oliver (Bella Heathcote), a woman whose life is turned upside down after her aged mother, Laura, saves her from a shooting in a diner. Stunned by her mother's act of heroism, Andy digs deep into her mother's history, discovering she's more than a mild-mannered, suburbanite. As the mystery series unravels through flashbacks, audiences learn more about Laura, and in turn, Andy.

At the heart of the series is the mysterious (and equally dangerous) Laura, a character who has an awfully familiar face. She's played by none other than Toni Collette, an actress who has delivered dozens of interesting performances throughout the decades. Born in Sydney, Australia, Collette made her debut in 1990 but it wasn't until the end of the decade that she was regularly sought out by Hollywood.

You remember Toni Collette from The Sixth Sense

Though Toni Collete was a rising star in her native Australia, she wouldn't become well-known to international audiences until she appeared in "The Sixth Sense." Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the psychological thriller immediately became a cultural phenomenon — in large part because of its twist ending — when it hit cinemas in the summer of 1999.

"The Sixth Sense" follows a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) who starts working with an awkward young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is endlessly bullied. As Willis' character digs deeper into the strange child's case, it's revealed that the boy can see ghosts. The further Willis investigates, the more serious the child's psyche becomes, which results in a shocking climax we won't spoil here (that is, if you've managed to avoid being spoiled about this over the past two decades). Collette appears in the film as the worried and anxious mother of the young boy.

The film proved to be a financial success, grossing over $670 million at the worldwide box office (via Box Office Mojo) for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Critically, the film emerged as a darling and nabbed six Academy Award nominations, including best picture. As faith would have it, the groundbreaking thriller won no awards during Hollywood's most iconic night. Collette was nominated for best supporting actress, though the prestigious award went to Angelina Jolie for "Girl, Interrupted." As of this writing, "The Sixth Sense" is the only role Collette was nominated for at the Oscars.

She moved you in About a Boy

After "The Sixth Sense" solidified Toni Collette as a star to look out for, Hollywood quickly snatched her up for a variety of projects. In 2002, the actress starred in a variety of supporting roles. She appeared in Ben Affleck's "Changing Lanes" as his character's mistress and as Juliane Moore's neighbor in Stephen Daldry's "The Hours." However, her most memorable role from the year was "About a Boy," romantic-comedy which also starred Hugh Grant.

In the film, Will (Grant) is a womanizer with no responsibilities. In a bid to meet women, he joins a group meant for single parents to bond with one another, despite having no children of his own. Through various chance encounters, he begins a relationship with Marcus, played by a young Nicholas Hoult. Marcus' mother is the depressed Fiona (Collette), who allows for Will and Marcus to bond as they both appear to care for one another. Eventually, Will gets his act together, helps Fiona come to terms with her pain, and gets the girl (Rachel Weisz).

Sometimes considered one of the best romantic films of all time (via Time Out), Collette stood out as the single mother who forms a friendship with Grant's man-child. "About a Boy" proved to be another film where Collette took on a complicated, empathetic role. That said, it's also hard not to deny how appearing in the British production as a mother was the start of Collette being typecast as an eccentric mom ...

Toni Collette played a caring mom in Little Miss Sunshine

Perhaps Toni Collette's most notable appearance in the 2000s was in "Little Miss Sunshine." After debuting at Sundance, the film received unanimous praise and went on to become a hit with general audiences when it released in the summer of 2006. In the indie darling, Colette played an overworked mother who supports her daughter's dream to compete in a prolific beauty pageant that takes place across state lines. The entire dysfunctional family packs up their belongings and embarks upon a comical and chaotic road trip in a Microbus.

The film proved to be a massive success, grossing over $100 million on a budget of $8 million (via Box Office Mojo). Audiences absolutely adored the film as well, with "Little Miss Sunshine" opening to universal acclaim. The little indie darling that could eventually racked up four Oscar nominations, including best picture. It went on to win best original screenplay and best supporting actor for Alan Arkin.

After she appeared in "Little Miss Sunshine," Collette continued to appear in independent films like "Towelhead" and "Like Minds," which served as Eddie Redmayne's debut. The star continued to pop up in smaller films until she landed one of her biggest roles on television.

She played multiple versions of herself in The United States of Tara

Before she headlined "The Pieces of Her," Toni Collette's first stint as a lead on television was "The United States of Tara." Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and created by "Juno" scribe Diablo Cody, the dramedy series aired on Showtime from 2009 to 2011, racking up three seasons.

Collette appeared in the series as the titular Tara, an American mother and wife with dissociative identity disorder. With the help of her therapist, Tara discontinues her meditation after it makes her lethargic and prone to depression. As a result of not being medicated, Tara's various alters manifest when she is under distress. The series follows Tara's family supporting her and the many alters that exist within her. "The United States of Tara" was positively received when it debuted, with considerable praise given to Collette for her various performances as Tara (and Tara's alters). Her performance was widely recognized by critics, and it landed the future "Pieces of Her" star her first Emmy award for outstanding lead actress.

The series was ultimately canceled after Season 3, paving the way for Collette to appear in comedies like "The Way, Way Back," "Tammy," and the horror-comedy "Krampus."

The Pieces of Her star terrified us in Hereditary

Perhaps Toni Collette's most notable role is Annie Graham in Ari Aster's "Hereditary." Aster's directorial debut, "Hereditary" quickly emerged as an instant classic for horror fans when it hit cinemas in 2018. Slashfilm gave the psychological horror thriller a whopping 9 out of 10, with critic Steven Prokopy particularly praising Collete's performance, "The film's deliberate pacing, commitment to atmosphere over cheap scares, and stellar cast, led by the remarkable Collette, make this work an early contender for one of the best horror films of the year." Looper would later go on to rank "Hereditary" as one of the best films of that year.

The slow-burn horror film focused on the Graham family reeling from the death of their grandmother. As time passes and the grieving process unravels, the divided family slowly learns that they're haunted and are in grave danger. Collette played Annie, the matriarch of the Graham family, who finds herself dabbling in dark magic to find peace with the death of her mother.

Despite positive reception and a stellar box office showing — the indie horror film nabbed over $80 million worldwide on a budget of $10 million (via Box Office Mojo) — "Hereditary" didn't generate much buzz by the time awards season came around. Outlets like Film School Rejects have since lamented how Collette should have received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

You hated her in Knives Out

After she appeared in "Hereditary," the Australian actress joined another horror film, 2019's "Velvet Buzzsaw." And after dabbling with a murderous painting, Collette joined "Star Wars" director Rian Johnson's murder-mystery "Knives Out." 

Collette was just one-of-many in a star-studded cast that included Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Chris Evans. In "Knives Out," Collette appeared as the conniving, new age, "lifestyle guru" Joni, the widow of patriarch Harlan Thrombey's (Christopher Plummer) eldest son. Her daughter, Meg, was played by fellow Australian actress Katherine Langford. In "Knives Out," Joni and Meg fight alongside the rest of their greedy family to nab Harlan's assets after he passes away under mysterious circumstances. The mother-daughter duo are best remembered for their hypocritical, elitist views towards politics, money, as well as the immigrants and marginalized individuals who do the heavy-lifting for them.

The film proved to be a massive success in a crowded 2019 winter, nabbing over $300 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). A sequel is set to release on Netflix later this year, though don't expect to see the "Pieces of Her" star pop up in it, as Johnson has confirmed the project will be standalone in nature.