Kate Winslet is taking a crack at US television with her new HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, which is based on the 1941 novel by James M. Cain about a Depression-era housewife. Although you can already expect a great performance from Winslet, the early feedback is that Mildred Pierce is not getting decent numbers in terms of ratings.
But nevertheless, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that Winslet is one of the most talented actresses of her generation and all you need to do is to go back to her filmography, which is filled with a lot of really quality performances. Below are her top five performances. Don’t expect to see Titanic mentioned, because James Cameron’s monstrously over-budgeted movie is really no great shakes.
Heavenly Creatures is a relatively little known film. The reasons are simple – Kate was a virtual unknown when this film was made, and its director, Peter Jackson was just beginning to make heads turn, mainly because of his impressive direction of this disturbing story of two teen girls’ obsession with each other. The movie is in equal turns hauntingly beautiful and disturbingly twisted. Winslet’s performance as Juliet Hulme gained the critics’ praise, which is already quite notable since Heavenly Creatures is actually Winslet’s first film, her debut film performance. Heavenly Creatures announced the arrival of a talented actress in Winslet, something that she will prove time and time again in her succeeding movies.
Sense and Sensibility
If Heavenly Creatures announced Winslet’s arrival as a promising actress, Sense and Sensibility cemented her reputation as an actress with a very bright future. The movie, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s literary classic, showcased Winslet’s adeptness in real period drama. She was able to hold herself well against such an accomplished actress as Emma Thompson. Winslet will eventually gain an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for this movie.
Kate regularly receives well-received performances in her movies but the one performance that really showed them what she is capable of is The Reader. This movie bagged her the Best Actress Oscar. Her performance in The Reader is very nuanced and showed her masterful control of emotions and her command of the quiet moments is a joy to behold.
Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind
Kate Winslet has never been one to be pigeonholed in one particular genre. She likes to do different roles in different genres and if there’s one director that could define genre-bending then it is director Michel Gondry. Eternal Sunshine… defies categorization, in parts drama, romance, comedy and science fiction. But whatever genre it is, Kate presented another noteworthy performance that is one of her best.
Kenneth Branagh’s kilometric adaptation of Hamlet may be hard to swallow mainly for its length and a faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. But Winslet’s role as Ophelia is so masterfully performed that it may be one of the most definitive performances for Shakespeare’s doomed character. (Read our article on how to understand Shakespeare.)
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