The 5 best Naomi Watts movies showcase Watts as a skilled dramatic actress with a number of very impressive roles under her belt. She has appeared in several genre types, showing her range across a spectrum of some very well-received, even cult-like movies in the process.
- “The Ring” (2002) As Rachel, Watts is a Seattle journalist who investigates what she believes to be an urban legend involving a video tape that kills anyone who watches it one week later. She’s also the mother of a gifted but introverted young boy and must manage her awkward relationship with the boy’s father. Throughout the film, Watts balances with great skill the many emotions these roles demand of her. Because of this, Rachel is a sympathetic and likable lead character who the audience really gets behind.
- “Eastern Promises” (2007) Another in a long line of successful dramas, this Naomi Watts movie features Watts as Anna Khitrova, a midwife who works at a hospital in London. Anna is taking care of a teenage girl who dies while giving birth and later finds a diary among her effects. The diary is written in Russian and holds clues that ultimately lead to the Russian mafia and puts Anna in danger the longer she possesses the diary. Watts is great as one of the leads and along with a superb, Oscar-nominated performance by Viggo Mortenson made “Eastern Promises” one of the best films of 2007.
- “I Heart Huckabees” (2004) Of the best Naomi Watts movies, “Huckabees” is the only comedy. A divergence from her usual dramatic fare, Watts shows she can nail the comedic timing and quirkiness necessary for a movie like this. Her character is Dawn Campbell, girlfriend to Brad Stand (Jude Law), a model who is the face of the Huckabees franchise and who is completely empty and unfulfilled on the inside. Her character undergoes a major change, and Watts pulls it all off wonderfully.
- “Mulholland Drive” (2001) There is no clean and easy way to describe this movie. Let’s just say it’s about Betty (Naomi Watts) who finds “Rita” (Laura Elena Harring) living in her aunt’s apartment. Rita escaped an attempt on her life and found refuge in the apartment, but doesn’t remember details of the incident or even her own name. Betty takes up the task of helping Rita rediscover her identity. A complete mind-trip of a movie ensues. This is one of the best Naomi Watts movies for not only the great storytelling and direction, but for Watts’ performance as a naïve woman who soon finds herself caught up in something very dangerous. This was also Watts’ breakout role and earned her several award nominations.
- “21 Grams” (2003) Much like “Mulholland Drive”, this Naomi Watts movie is nonlinear and offers no easy explanation. It is also widely considered to be one of Watts’ best, if not THE best, performances, ranking alongside “Mulholland Drive” in both critical acclaim and number of nominations for Watts. In “21 Grams”, Watts plays Cristina, a former drug and alcohol abuser who loses her husband and children in a car accident. She falls back to drugs and tries to cope with the tragedy. Watts is extremely compelling and her performance carries the film. If you are interested in seeing her at her best, this is a must-see Naomi Watts movie.