5 Best Jennifer Jason Leigh Movies

The 5 best Jennifer Jason Leigh movies listed below are a cross-section of the cinematic history of an actress whose talent many may overlook. Moviegoers failing to notice Leigh's skill would be doing themselves a disservice because her talent has enhanced these modern classics.

  1. “Margot at the Wedding” Noah Baumbach makes movies about dysfunctional people and dysfunctional families  In “Margot at the Wedding,” Leigh plays Pauline, a woman who is on the verge of marrying a deadbeat musician and borderline pedophile played by Jack Black. That’s pretty dysfunctional. Her sister Margot, played by Nicole Kidman, does not approve and much sibling rivalry ensues.
  2. “Rush” In one of the best performances of her career, Leigh plays an undercover cop who becomes hooked on the narcotics she is ostensibly trying to get off the streets. It is a gritty, feel-bad crime drama and also one of the best Jennifer Jason Leigh movies.
  3. “Synecdoche, New YorkCharlie Kaufman writes some bizarre, mind-bending movies and his directorial debut was by far the most bizarre and mind-bending. As a result, it was not much of a commercial success. Of course, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good movie. Just a bit… befuddling for moviegoers. Leigh plays the role of Maria, friend of the main character's wife.
  4. “The Machinist”  When people talk about this movie, it’s usually about the disturbing amount of weight Christian Bale lost to play lead character Trevor Reznik. Leigh plays a large part in the narrative as Stevie, a prostitute to whom Trevor turns for comfort during his mental unraveling. It is a dark and twisting story and one of the best Jennifer Jason Leigh movies.
  5. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” We had to put at least one movie on this list that wasn’t a depressing head trip. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” was one of the iconic comedies of the 1980s and a breakout role for Leigh. It may not be as intellectual as the other films on this list, but at least it won’t send you scrambling for your antidepressants.
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