Scarlett Johansson’s 10 Best Movies of All Time According to Critics

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Scarlett Johansson is one of the most popular actresses of this generation. She is poised and powerful on-screen and plays roles that showcase her exceptional talent that transcends genres.

From thrillers to period dramas to action-adventure movies, she has excelled and proven she is one of the best in the world in her industry. Scarlett Johansson is also one of the top-grossing actresses in the world.

Born on November 22, 1984, in New York City, Ryan Reynolds’ ex-wife was raised with her twin brother, Hunter. The youngest of four siblings, she was born to Karsten Olaf Johansson, an architect, and Melanie Sloan, a producer. She holds dual American and Danish citizenship.

One of Scarlett Johansson's first acting jobs was as spelling bee champion Sarah Hughes on Conan O’Brien's talk show on March 15, 1994, when she was 9 years oldOne of Scarlett Johansson’s first acting jobs was as spelling bee champion Sarah Hughes on Conan O’Brien’s talk show on March 15, 1994, when she was 9 years old (Credit: NBC)

By the age of seven, Scarlett was auditioning for commercials and taking dance and tap classes. Her parents enrolled her at Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, which is famous for acting alumni like Carrie Fisher, Rita Moreno, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

When she was eight, she performed in an Off-Broadway production called Sophistry, and by nine years old, she appeared on the big screen in North (1994).

At the age of 13, she earned praise for her role in The Horse Whisperer (1998). So far in her career she has been in over 60 movies and has had over 200 nominations and over 130 wins.

18-year-old Scarlett Johansson at the premiere of Girl with a Pearl Earring18-year-old Scarlett Johansson at the premiere of Girl with a Pearl Earring in London, England, on October 30, 2003 (Credit: WENN)

Though Scarlett Johansson is famous for her movie performances, she has also earned critical acclaim for her performance on Broadway.

She won a Tony Award for Best Actress for her role in A View from the Bridge (2010) and played in the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Scarlett Johansson has also done a few voice-acting roles for animated movies.

The following is a list of Scarlett Johansson’s top ten movies, according to the critics at Rotten Tomatoes:

10. Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) – 73% Rating

Though Scarlett Johansson was only 17 during the filming of the Girl with a Pearl Earring, her performance is noted as one of her best for the maturity with which she handled the layered character of Griet.

In the period drama, Johansson plays a peasant worker employed by the renowned Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. The story is about the tension between their social class and their friendship.

Scarlett Johansson was only 17 when she was cast in the role of Griet in the 2003 drama film Girl with a Pearl EarringScarlett Johansson was only 17 when she was cast in the role of Griet in the 2003 drama film Girl with a Pearl Earring (Credit: Lions Gate Films)

She is hired to be an assistant and poses as a model. With borrowed pearl earrings from the artists’ mother-in-law, the picture becomes one of the hallmark masterpieces of the Dutch painter.

The movie was released in theaters on January 9, 2004, when Scarlett was 19 years old.

9. Match Point (2005) – 77% Rating

Match Point is a philosophical thriller. While most movies feature layers of good and evil, Match Point addresses the complicated issues of class and infidelity with a cast of characters who all struggle with their own moral vacancy.

Scarlett Johansson plays the role of Nola Rice, an American from Colorado who has gotten involved in London society.

Scarlett Johansson stars as Nola Rice in the 2005 psychological thriller film Match PointScarlett Johansson stars as Nola Rice in the 2005 psychological thriller film Match Point (Credit: DreamWorks Pictures)

When things start to fade with her boyfriend she gets caught up in an affair with another man. The movie premiered in Cannes on May 12, 2005, when she was 20 years old.

8. Hail, Caesar! (2016) – 85% Rating

Scarlett Johansson plays the role of DeeAnna Moran in the 1950’s era movie Hail, Caesar!. It is a quirky, comedic period drama about a fixer who helps scandal-plagued actresses like DeeAnna Moran who was knocked up by a fellow actor.

Blonde bombshell Scarlett Johansson wears a zebra print bathrobe on the set of Hail, Caesar!Blonde bombshell Scarlett Johansson wears a zebra print bathrobe on the set of Hail, Caesar! in downtown Los Angeles on January 16, 2015 (Credit: Cousart / JFXimages / WENN)

The movie is based loosely on the life of Esther Williams, who was a competitive swimmer-turned-actress. An antique MGM tank was found and used for the movie, which was the first time it had been used since Williams had used it in the 1950s.

The movie was released on February 5, 2016, when Scarlett Johansson was 31 years old.

7. Under the Skin (2013) – 84% Rating

In the sci-fi movie, Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an extraterrestrial who attempts to lure unsuspecting men into her van.

Set in Glasgow, Scotland, the low-budget film features the celebrity twenty-nine-year-old actress alongside a lot of normal people on the street.

Scarlett Johansson as an otherworldly woman who preys on men in Scotland in the 2013 science fiction film Under the SkinScarlett Johansson as an otherworldly woman who preys on men in Scotland in the 2013 science fiction film Under the Skin (Credit: BFI / Film4)

The film crew was known to jump out of the filming van with disclosure paperwork for people to sign. Simply called “The Female” with hardly any lines, the movie features Scarlett Johansson prowling the streets of Scotland as a man-eater.

It was a movie that received a lot of mixed reviews; some really loved the film while others really hated it.

The extremely mixed reaction to the movie was for director Jonathon Glazer, “The best reaction… the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard in my life.”

It featured a limited release in theaters on April 4, 2014, and was released to streaming on July 15, 2014. Scarlett Johansson celebrated her 30th birthday on November 22, 2014.

6. Jojo Rabbit (2019) – 80% Rating

Set in World War II Germany, Jojo’s Rabbit is an anti-hate satire that tackles profound ideas with irreverent humor. Scarlett Johansson’s character, Rosie, is a single mother hiding a Jewish teenager in her attic.

She uses wit and mischief to keep her son from falling prey to Nazi nationalism as her son is fascinated with the furor.

Scarlett Johansson plays Rosie, Jojo's mother who is secretly anti-Nazi, in the 2019 comedy-drama film Jojo RabbitScarlett Johansson plays Rosie, Jojo’s mother who is secretly anti-Nazi, in the 2019 comedy-drama film Jojo Rabbit (Credit: Avalon / WENN)

Recently divorced, Johansson drew from her new experience as a single mother into her role. The character is one of Johansson’s, age 34, first film roles as a mother.

“It’s a parent’s job to protect their kids,” Johansson told People. “I think that by not involving Roman’s character in the reality of what’s going on at home… I think I’m basically keeping him alive that way. I’ve never had a child in [a] film before. And then this year, I made two films where suddenly [I had] 10 and 11-year-olds — so I kind of became this insta-parent.”

“I think for actors, of course, there are ways of getting yourself where you need to go. Being a parent myself was just invaluably helpful to me. I had empathy for Rosie’s plate that I may not have had insight on otherwise. She was just a joy to play. She’s a warm, lovable character that felt really comfy to me. And I wanted that to come across, that she’s just comfortable and kind of sugary and warm,” she added.

Scarlett Ingrid Johansson heard of the movie from her Avenger’s co-star Chris Hemsworth who was raving about the director’s “unbelievably touching, unique, fresh script.”

Scarlett Johansson wears a Miu Miu ensemble with flowers embroidery details with crystals all over at the premiere of Fox Searchlights’ “Jojo Rabbit” at Post 43 on October 15, 2019, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: Avalon / WENN)

Though the script was complete by the time she signed onto place Rosie, she added her own experiences to the character to bring a layer of depth and poignancy to her character.

The movie was released in theaters and on streaming on November 9, 2019, just days before her 35th birthday on November 22, 2019.

5. Ghost World (2001) – 93% Rating

Ghost World was Scarlett Johansson’s breakthrough role in film acting. She acted in the movie that later became a cult classic when she was 16 years old.

The comedy features a pair of friends, navigating post-high-school graduation life who are faced with deciding what they want in life.

Scarlett Johansson as Rebecca Doppelmeyer in the 2001 black comedy film Ghost WorldScarlett Johansson as Rebecca Doppelmeyer in the 2001 black comedy film Ghost World (Credit: United Artists)

Johansson wanted to play in this teenage life drama because she felt that the characters were real and had depth as the friends are forced to deal with the emotional turmoil of a disintegrating friendship in the light of accepting adult responsibilities.

The movie debuted at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2001 when she was 17 years old.

4. Marriage Story (2019) –  94% Rating

In the Netflix drama film Marriage Story, Scarlett Johansson plays the character of Nicole Barber, a once-famous actress who is forced to rediscover herself amid divorce from her husband, who is a theater director.

It is an emotional journey of lost love that features deep emotions like loneliness, an emotional breakdown, and feeling lost.

Laura Dern, director Noah Baumbach, Scarlett Johansson, and Adam Driver promote Marriage StoryLaura Dern, director Noah Baumbach, Scarlett Johansson, and Adam Driver promote Marriage Story during the 76th Venice Film Festival August 29, 2019 (Credit: Avalon / WENN)

The movie had a particular timing as Scarlett Johansson, age 34, had just come through a divorce in her own personal life. At the time of filming, she felt that she was in a “more settled place” and could use her feelings for her role in the movie.

“By the time we had made the film, I was in a more settled place. But obviously, I had my own fresh perspective on the story,” Johansson told THR at Marriage Story‘s New York Film Festival premiere.

“When Noah first came to me, he hadn’t written the script yet, but it was clear that we would be kind of collaborating and work together. He wanted to kind of build this character out of something that came from a real place and so we talked a lot about, not just our experience with divorce, but we talked a lot about all kinds of intimate relationships. We talked a lot about our families, our own parents. We talked a lot about our past relationships. Nicole is a sum of all of those parts. She’s an amalgamation of all of those things.”

Marriage Story had a limited release in theaters on November 6, 2019, with a streaming release date of December 6, 2019. Johansson turned 35 on November 22, 2019.

3. Her (2014) – 94% Rating

Though not a live-acting role, Scarlett Johansson’s role in Her is still powerful and dynamic. Replacing Samantha Morton in post-production, she plays the character of Samantha, a voice for the main character’s new operating system.

“Samantha was with us on set and was amazing. It was only in post-production, when we started editing, that we realized that what the character/movie needed was different from what Samantha and I had created together. So we recast,” writer-director Spike Jonze said about the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Samantha.

Scarlett Johansson voices an artificially intelligent virtual assistant named Samantha who is personified through a female voice in the 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama film HerScarlett Johansson voices an artificially intelligent virtual assistant named Samantha who is personified through a female voice in the 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama film Her (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

As the main character, who makes living writing letters for other people, Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly becomes fascinated with the unique voice for this operating system. He discovers that “Samantha” is sensitive with a playful personality.

The movie was released on January 10, 2014, when the actress was 29 years old. The 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama film received a Rotten Tomato score of 94% and an audience score of 82%.

Critics agree it is a sweet, soulful, and smart look into modern human relationships.

2. Marvel Universe (2010 – present) – Rating 94%

In the 2010 American superhero film Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson made an explosive entrance as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In all the subsequent movies, she plays a superhero who is an expert spy and tactician. She’s also a master martial artist who is an expert in marksmanship and hand-to-hand combat.

Scarlett Johansson on the set of the 2014 American superhero film Captain America: The Winter SoldierScarlett Johansson on the set of the 2014 American superhero film Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Los Angeles on April 23, 2013 (Credit: Cousart-Rayne / JFXimages / WENN)

The Black Widow is also a skilled hypnotist with an enhanced immune system. All in all, Scarlett Johansson is the most badass woman in the Avengers and had the opportunity to continue to develop her impressive character through the decades, with fans and critics alike never growing tired of her performance.

Johansson showed her determination to win the role of the Black Widow in the Marvel movies by dyeing her hair red for auditions to convince producers she was right for the job. The Marvel series was not the first superhero role she tried out for.

She actually auditioned for the part of Sue Storm in Fantastic Four but lost out to Jessica Alba.

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the 2015 American superhero film Avengers: Age of UltronScarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the 2015 American superhero film Avengers: Age of Ultron (Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Her character, the Black Widow, was featured in the movies Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), a cameo in Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019) and a movie featuring her own story, the Black Widow (2021). She won awards for her role as Black Widow like the People’s Choice Awards, MTV Best Fight Award, and Teen Choice Award.

All of her Marvel Universe performances landed in the top ten movies. According to critics, the 2019 American superhero film Avengers: Endgame is the best film starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow. It has a rating of 94%.

While she plays Black Widow in several of Marvel’s Avengers movies, she dreamed of being a Disney princess once upon a time. Frozen is one of her favorite Disney movies and she once commented that it would be fun to do a Broadway version of Frozen.

1. Lost in Translation (2003) – 95% Rating

In the critics’ favorite movie, Scarlett Johansson receives an impressive score of 95% for her role as Charlotte in the film Lost in Translation.

The movie was released on September 12, 2003, when the actress was only 18 years old. It was one of her first movies with an adult role and she recounts feeling a little out of the loop while filming the movie.

Scarlett Johansson as recent college graduate Charlotte in the 2003 romantic comedy-drama film Lost in TranslationScarlett Johansson as recent college graduate Charlotte in the 2003 romantic comedy-drama film Lost in Translation (Credit: Focus Features)

The age gap between Johansson and her co-star Bill Murray and his often-eccentric personality made it even more difficult for her as he was prone to intense mood shifts. Johansson was 17 when the movie was filmed. Bill Murray is 34 years older.

“It was hard; it was a hard shoot for me,” Johansson said in a 2017 interview with Howard Stern. “… I felt sort of out of the loop. I was 17 years old when I made that movie, you know.”

“I think it was because, you know, he kind of has his — he’s a comedian, he’s quirky … and he had a lot of, like, ups and downs, and he had a lot of energy, and he was really, like, kind of always on,” Johansson added.

“And I was, you know, a 17-year-old, and I was sort of like — I was more introspective, I guess. … Yeah, it was hard for me. I think that’s what was kind of isolating about it — is that everybody was so deferential [to Murray].”

Scarlett Johansson was 17 years old when she filmed "Lost in Translation" with her 51-year-old co-star Bill MurrayScarlett Johansson was 17 years old when she filmed “Lost in Translation” with her 51-year-old co-star Bill Murray (Credit: Focus Features)

“I was relaxed. … I was kind of in a different headspace, and it was hard to relate to one another,” Johansson concluded. “But I think, you know, what worked is that when the cameras were rolling and we actually came time to do the work, we worked really well together.”

Both in Tokyo at the same time, the couple portrayed by Johansson and Murray learns to form a bond as they attempt to escape the strain of adapting to a new culture. They find a more profound relationship that is meaningful and heartfelt.

Despite their personality differences and Johansson’s learning curve with an adult role, Murray and Johansson had a chemistry that translated well to the screen.

Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Coppola at the premiere of Lost In TranslationScarlett Johansson and Sofia Coppola at the premiere of Lost In Translation held at the Odeon Luxe West End in London, England, on October 28, 2003 (Credit: WENN)

They performed together really well when the cameras were rolling, and their acting made the movie an indie movie classic which won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her role as Charlotte.

“Nobody had any idea what the film was going to be like,” Johansson said about the movie’s success.

“I mean, probably our DP Lance Acord knew what it was going to be like, but I didn’t even know it would — you know, nobody knew that it would be so profound, I think. … I mean it was just kind of abstract, you know. It wasn’t immediately clear what we were capturing.”

Scarlett Johansson at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards at the beach in Santa Monica on February 21, 2015Scarlett Johansson at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards at the beach in Santa Monica on February 21, 2015 (Credit: WENN  / Michael Wright)

In February 2015, Scarlett Johansson joined Kerry Washington, Emmy Rossum, Emma Stone, and Kristen Bell at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards held on the beach in Santa Monica.

The then 30-year-old actress came dressed in a little black dress from the Bec & Bridge Pre-Fall 2015 collection and carried a gold Oroton clutch. 

Scarlett Johansson paraded her hot legs in a sexy black dressScarlett Johansson paraded her hot legs in a sexy black dress (Credit: WENN  / Michael Wright)

While we love Scarlett’s haircut and the plunging neckline of her dress, we don’t think her Pedro Garcia mule shoes were the right choice for an award show.

Scarlett Johansson showed off her toes in Pedro Garcia mulesScarlett Johansson showed off her toes in Pedro Garcia mules (Credit: WENN  / Michael Wright)

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