Kristen Stewart knows there are some bumps that come along with being a continually working actor. Not every project you work on is going to be a masterpiece. Sometimes a script may have promise, but the project just doesn’t quite gel on set. Other times, you take a gig that you know may help raise your profile with the general public, even if you know the average score of your filmography on Rotten Tomatoes will lower. Indeed, despite making her first onscreen appearance over 20 years ago as a child, Stewart claimed in an interview with The Sunday Times that “I’ve probably made five really good films out of 45 or 50 films? Ones that I go, ‘Wow, that person made a top-to-bottom beautiful piece of work!’”
While Stewart said she’d probably have to pay a visit to her own IMDb page to figure out the total number, she makes no bones about the fact that sometimes picking a role can be “a total crap shot.”
The thing is ...maybe she’s not totally wrong? In a profession where many can lose their self-awareness and humility, it’s nice that Stewart keeps a level-headed outlook on her oeuvre. But what are the “five” films she thinks are actually good? Or it is possible she’s being a bit too self-deprecating? Let’s take a (possibly too) in-depth look at the quality of filmography below.
The Films She Probably Doesn’t Think Of As Her Best
The Hollywood Franchise Flicks: The Twilight Saga, Charlie’s Angels, Snow White and the Huntsman, Zathura: A Space Adventure, and her uncredited childhood role as “Ring Toss Girl” in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.
Too much of the internet is devoted to debate about the Twilight films, and we will not be adding to that discourse. Plus, we already know how Stewart feels about them, and are pretty sure she doesn’t consider them among her top-tier work. Her participation in these other films sort of feels like info to store away for bar trivia night. Like, who even know that Stewart starred in Zathura, a 2005 spin-off of Jumanji, let alone that it actually existed?
The Rest of the Popcorn-Munching Mainstream Fare: Cold Creek Manor, Catch That Kid, Undertow, Jumper, The Messengers, American Ultra, Underwater.
A shortlist, but Stewart has done her fair share of mainstream genre films ranging from horror movies to action thrillers. Few of which are particularly well remembered.
The Indies That Just Didn’t Quite Work: The Safety of Objects, Speak, Fierce People, In The Land of Women, The Cake Eaters, What Just Happened, The Yellow Handkerchief, The Runaways, Welcome To The Rileys, On The Road, Anesthesia, Camp X-Ray, Café Society, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Lizzie, JT Leroy, and Seberg.
The nice thing about doing indie films is that if they’re not a success, not too many people sees them. As it turns out, Stewart has made a lot of them. Not all of them are total disasters by any means, but they aren’t going down as the crowning achievement on anyone’s IMDb pages, either. These are probably some of the films she’s talking about when she uses the term “crap shot.” A few of them looked good on paper, and do underscore Stewart’s knack for taking big chances with her work, but just didn’t work.
The Films We Know She Thinks Are Good
The Two She Mentions: Stewart did reveal at least two of the five films she thinks are among her best: her two collabs with French director Olivier Assayas: Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper.
Which isn’t a surprise. Both films were warmly received by critics, and Clouds even won Stewart the French equivalent of the Oscar. While they weren’t box office hits by Hollywood standards, they did cement Stewart’s reputation as an actress capable of far more than vampire flicks among the culturati.
And, Probably, The One She’s Promoting: We’re also going to assume her latest film, Spencer, in which Stewart plays Princess Diana, is among her chosen five. It’s received a stellar critical response, and may very well snag Stewart an Oscar nomination.
Which Leaves These...
Panic Room (2002): Yes, Stewart has her first major role as the 11-year-old daughter of Jodie Foster’s character in this David Fincher thriller. It’s the kind of film Hollywood rarely bothers to make anymore: a well-made genre film with top-tier talent meant to be a box office hit. There’s nothing really bad to say about it, but is it in Fincher’s top five movies? No. Is it in Foster’s top five? Probably not. So we’re probably not placing it among Stewart’s either.
Into The Wild (2007): A well-received film, but Stewart’s part is relatively small.
Adventureland (2009): Director Greg Mottola followed Superbad with Adventureland, a nostalgia-driven dramedy about a wasted summer working at a C-rate amusement park in the 1980s. While it wasn’t a huge hit, the critics loved it. Critics particularly singled out Stewart’s performance, which proved to be important to her career (the first Twilight film came out the year before). There’s a good chance, actually, that this may be in her top five.
Still Alice (2014): This is the movie that won Julianne Moore her Oscar—and it was basically built around one really great performance. A nice thing for Stewart to have on her résumé (she played one of Moore’s character’s daughters), but probably not one that comes to her mind as one of the five.
Certain Women (2016): Co-starring Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Lily Gladstone and directed by adored auteur Kelly Reichardt, this is a film few people saw besides the critics. But the critics really loved it. There’s a strong possibility that Stewart considers it “a top-to-bottom beautiful piece of work!”
Happiest Season (2020): Yes, we’re talking about the Hulu holiday rom-com you watched with your family last year. People loved the film, it did what it set out to do, and critics were kind. The greatest movie ever made? Probably not, but if we’re wrong about Stewart’s affection for working on Adventureland or Certain Women, there’s a possibility she could consider this one of her favorites instead.