Beginning with very minor roles in two of the hottest films of the mid-1990s – Dazed and Confused and Reality Bites – as well as alongside a young Matthew McConaughey in a sequel to Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Renee Zellweger rose to stardom. one of the most famous and acclaimed actors of her generation.
Winner of two Oscars, two Baftas and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, the 53-year-old Texan is back in the spotlight thanks to the recent arrival of her transformative turn in Amazon Prime Video’s The Thing With Pam.
To celebrate, Stuff to Watch has compiled what we think are its eight greatest performances – and where you can watch them right now.
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Bridget Jones Diary (neon)
Threatened with eclipse by the devilishly handsome and hilarious duo of Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, Zellweger, perfect English accent and all, brought Helen Fielding’s ill-fated singleton to life with aplomb in this rom-com from 2001 which still offers plenty of thundering laughs.
“Provides dashing pleasure to bruised romantics, regardless of age, gender or nationality”, wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine.
Chicago (iTunes, Google Play)
Steeped in a sense of dazzle and featuring fabulous performances from Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and, yes, Richard Gere, Rob Marshall’s 2002 adaptation of the hit 1970s musical inspired by the “trial of the Century” of the 1920s was truly Oscar, Baftas and All That Jazz winning merit.
While embracing Chicago’s theatrical roots through elaborate sets, stunning footwork, brassy vocals and glittering costumes, Marshall has also created something distinctly cinematic.
Cold Mountain (iTunes)
Zellweger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this 2003 American Civil War drama about a soldier injured while traveling home to his beloved. Nicole Kidman and Jude Law also star.
“You remember it for the warmth of its romantic desire and the mysteries that wrap around you until you are lost in another world”, wrote Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers.
Down with Love (iTunes, GooglePlay)
Zellweger stars alongside a charming Ewan McGregor in this truly delightful homage to 1960s Rock Hudson and Doris Day films. The quintessential twisted comedy, Peyton Reed’s evocative and provocative romantic comedy focuses on budding love.
“McGregor is divine as Catcher Block and Zellweger plays his role to perfection,” wrote Susan Walker of the Toronto Star.
Jerry Maguire (Amazon Prime Video)
“You had me at hello.” Honestly Cameron Crowe’s magnificent magnum opus of 1996, the best sports movie of the 1990s, Tom Cruise’s best two hours as an actor and one of the greatest romantic comedies in the wide range of genre classics of that time, caught me a lot. , long before the unforgettable show finale.
Much of its charm comes from a winning and seductive Zellweger as the widowed, practical, complicated, and somewhat tragically stricken mother-of-one, Dorothy Boyd.
Judy (GooglePlay, iTunes)
Zellweger deservedly dominated the 2020 awards season with this fabulous performance as faded performer Judy Garland.
Based on Peter Quilter’s play End of the Rainbow, it delves into the former Wizard of Oz star’s final years as she battles her demons and attempts to put on a string of shows in London.
“Judy isn’t exactly Renee Zellweger’s throwback vehicle, but it might as well be.” writes Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times. “And delivering a devastating, heartbreaking performance as a woman who made a career out of comebacks is the best kind of poetic justice.”
Nurse Betty (DVD rental at Alice’s, Aro Video)
Zellweger is joined by Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock for this dark comedy from 2000 about a young widow who takes her post-traumatic obsession with a soap opera star a little too far.
“A thoroughly original with a little something to say and a way of saying it that manages to be both delicious and bilious,” wrote Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post.
A Real Thing (iTunes, GooglePlay)
Zellweger stars alongside Meryl Streep and William Hurt in this mildly soapy but well-acted 1998 drama about a career woman who reevaluates her parents’ lives after being forced to care for her cancer-stricken mother.
“Frankly, poignantly believable” wrote Stephen Holden of The New York Times.