One of the most versatile film actors of the contemporary age is undoubtedly Naomi Watts. Born in Shoreham, England in 1968, she is a skilled performer who possesses the ability to utterly dissolve into any character, and as a result she invokes empathy from the viewing audience.
It is no surprise that Naomi Watts eventually persevered over adversity in the American (and worldwide) film industry. Her range is absolutely immeasurable. Stunning in appearance and rich with talent, Watts has built quite a respectable body of work. Here are 5 films that should not be missed.
It takes a rare skill to accept the role like this — a Russian tart with a heart — and make it work, but in Theodore Melfi’s sentimental comedy, Watts pulls it off. As the heavily pregnant Daka who visits Bill Murray’s titular sad sack every week and has sex with him for cash, she projects a credible mix of vulnerability, hardness and a salty Slavic pragmatism. The accent is perhaps a tad overripe, but that’s kind of the point.
Originally a short gradually expanded over five years of filming, this ultra-low-budget confection directed by Scott Coffey is the comic flipside of Mulholland Drive, a wry glimpse of the daily grind of an aspirant actor working her way through endless rounds of auditions in mid ’00s Hollywood. Watts, also one of the film’s producers, channels her own experiences and personality to create the unbreakable Ellie Parker, a talented, sunny but slightly gawky slogger with an uncanny ability to change clothes while driving.
Oddly, the thing most people remember best about this David Cronenberg thriller is a naked Viggo Mortensen battling a steambath full of assailants. But Watts is the movie’s real star, cast as a London midwife who bravely plunges into the shady world of Russian gangsters when she decides to investigate the death of a pregnant trafficked girl. Wearing scruffy attire and an expression of grim determination, she’s a steady human heartbeat amidst the frequent shots of dead bodies, gore and violence.
While We’re Young
By this point, it was no surprise to Watts fans that she could handle comedy as effortlessly as she could the big dramatic roles. In Noah Baumbach’s satirical take on male rivalry, the actress is second-banana to Ben Stiller, who plays her husband, and, to a lesser extent, Adam Driver as half of a younger, hipper couple (Amanda Seyfried plays Driver’s wife). But her fierce hip-hop dancing in a class is one of the movie’s comic highlights.
Watts reteamed with her 21 Grams director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, to play long-suffering Lesley, a co-star in the stage play being directed and produced by Michael Keaton in the Oscar-winning tale of a movie star in search of redemption. It’s not an especially showy role compared to those played by Keaton, Emma Stone or even Edward Norton, but once again Watts shows off fine comic chops and a team-player attitude by keeping perfect time with the ensemble’s jazzy rhythms. Her tearful flirting scene with Andrea Riseborough is a beaut.
Which one is the best? Me, it would be Birdman.