By Vanisha Vasudhevan

Emma Stone: A Bioscope Journey From Rising Star to Timeless Icon

The Queen of personal favourites across the board.
emma stones movies

Emma Stone isn’t just any cookie-cutter Hollywood beauty—she’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of acting. With accolades like a BAFTA, a Golden Globe Award, and even an Oscar being the latest addition of remarkable achievement to her name, her achievements speak volumes. Keep reading for the best Emma Stone movies to watch.

Her journey began early, as she ventured into acting during her childhood in theatre productions. Transitioning to Los Angeles as a teenager, she swiftly secured roles in both television and film. Her notable appearances include memorable performances in Superbad, Zombieland, and Easy A, the latter marking her breakthrough and earning her a Golden Globe nomination. Yet, her versatility transcends teen comedies; she’s demonstrated her ability across various genres. From the poignant period drama The Help to the superhero realm with The Amazing Spider-Man and even acclaiming her latest Oscars for the role in Poor Things, her range is undeniable.

So, what sets Emma Stone apart? It’s not just her talent but also her relatable, down-to-earth demeanour that resonates with audiences. Her distinctive voice and candidness about her struggles with anxiety add to her authenticity. She isn’t merely a stellar actress; she’s a personable figure that many can connect with, a rarity in the glitz of Hollywood. If Emma Stone happens to be your go-to star on the silver screen, then this meticulously crafted list serves as the perfect guide to answering the question: “What are the best Emma Stone movies to watch?”

Top 11 Best Emma Stone Movies

Superbad (2007)

Do you know which was the first movie where Emma Stone rocked her iconic red hair? That’s in Superbad. In her debut role as Jules, she managed to steal the spotlight and make a memorable mark as a Hollywood newcomer. It’s one of those classic coming-of-age flicks where Seth (Jonah Hill), Evan (Michael Cera), and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are on a mission to make their last days of high school epic. Their grand plan? To get enough booze for a wild party and impress their crushes enough. But, of course, nothing goes as planned. Picture a botched fake ID, awkward encounters with clueless cops, a day-long beer run, and a bunch of car mishaps. All the while nailing her debut as the charming crush, perfectly capturing the awkwardness of teenage flirtation, impeccable comedic timing, and adeptness at physical comedy.

Zombieland (2009)

When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, and if there is any monster that could Riverdance, it would be in Zombieland. Forget just watching Emma Stone go on a killing spree with zombies; she’s also a pro at pulling off slick cons on unsuspecting guys. That’s the spooky essence expressed in Zombieland, featuring an all-star cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, and Bill Murray. The 21-year-old trades her typical girl-next-door look for a tough, no-nonsense attitude in this killer horror comedy. And if you’re craving more of her zombie-slaying antics, she’s back at it in the 2019 sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap, proving once again that she’s as tough as they come. The film was a hit with both critics and audiences, solidifying her reputation as one of Hollywood’s funniest young actresses.

Easy A (2010)

After several supporting roles in films like Superbad and Zombieland, Stone practically burst onto the scene in Easy A with her first leading role. While this is not her first foray into acting, this movie certainly shines as a standout moment in her career. She commands the screen in this comedy, portraying the quick-witted protagonist, Olive Penderghast. Drawing inspiration from The Scarlet Letter, the plot takes a wild turn after Olive tells a small fib about her virginity. What follows is a series of hilariously absurd events, including a memorable sing-along to “Pocketful of Sunshine, a legendary fake sex scene, and a complex plan for redemption. She radiates pure movie star charm in her debut leading role, captivating audiences with her sass, personality, and an abundance of laugh-out-loud punch lines.

The Help (2011)

It’s hard to ignore the fact that The Help has aged like fine wine. Even now, The Help still continues to resonate through snippets on TikTok, keeping its audience engaged. Since its release, the film, which initially garnered praise and received four Academy Award nominations, has also faced increasing criticism that has grown louder over the years for its white saviour narrative. Despite this, one cannot overlook the impressive lineup of talent that drives the story forward. Set in 1963, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the film follows the struggles of black maids. Emma Stone shares the screen with powerhouse actors like Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson, and Jessica Chastain. In her role as a journalist aiming to write a book about the challenges faced by black housekeepers in her town, she anchors the narrative. While the focus on her character’s journey may be a central issue of the film, regardless she delivers a quietly powerful performance as a well-intentioned and capable writer.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Taking on the role of the love interest in a superhero film isn’t for the faint of heart. However, in both instalments of Sony Pictures’s The Amazing Spider-Man series, Emma Stone steals the spotlight as Gwen Stacy. Beyond just retelling Peter Parker’s tragic backstory, the film showcases remarkable chemistry between Gwen and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield). She plays the role of the capable classmate of Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man, and happens to be the daughter of the sheriff who suspects the hero’s true identity. While opinions on Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man vary, Stone’s performance as Gwen, along with her chemistry with Garfield, stands tall, rivalling Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire’s iconic coupledom in The Spider-Man comics’ adaptation history. Additionally, the film ranked as the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2012, grossing a staggering US$758 million worldwide.

Birdman (2014)

Breaking away from her usual roles, Emma Stone earned her first Oscar nomination for playing the role of Sam Thomson in Birdman. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Alejandro González, Birdman revolves around a once-famous superhero actor whose career has plummeted. In a bid to reignite his stardom, he decides to write, direct, and star in a Broadway play. Sam Thomson, played by Emma Stone, is the daughter of washed-up movie star Riggan Thomson, played by Michael Keaton who is trying to make a comeback with a risky Broadway show. Stepping away from her usual charming characters, she dives headfirst into playing a prickly woman about to explode, leading to a memorable showdown with her father towards the movie’s end. The film is renowned for its technical prowess, particularly its seamless presentation that gives the illusion of being shot in a single continuous take. Critically acclaimed, it garnered nine Academy Award nominations, including her first nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

La La Land (2016)

best emma stone movies

Emma Stone’s Mia struck a chord when she said “Somewhere, there’s a place where I find who I’m gonna be. Somewhere, that’s just waiting to be found.” Undoubtedly, Stone’s most beloved and iconic role to date is that of Amelia “Mia” Dolan, in Damien Chazelle’s musical comedy La La Land. The film chronicles the journey of an aspiring actress and a jazz musician navigating their dreams in Hollywood. Amidst the challenges of pursuing success in the entertainment industry, Mia and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) must also navigate the complexities of their relationship, supporting each other through their individual paths. And if you’re still wondering about the mystery behind La La Land being famous, because the film garnered an impressive 13 Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actress nod, which she rightfully won. Along with its irresistibly catchy tunes, vibrant atmosphere, and captivating narrative, the movie pays homage to classic Hollywood musicals while offering a refreshing take on contemporary cinema.

Battle of Sexes (2017)

best emma stone movies

In Battle of the Sexes, the award-winning actress shakes things up once again, proving her knack for comedy in a whole new light. She steps into the shoes of tennis legend Billie Jean King, facing off against the charismatic and somewhat ridiculous Bobby Riggs, played by Steve Carell, dramatising the real-life 1973 tennis match between star players. It’s a clash of personalities as Riggs, the former champ, revels in his over-the-top chauvinism while Stone’s King battles against sexism and homophobia in the world of professional sports. She brings out King’s fierce determination but also her vulnerabilities, portraying her as this undaunted renegade secretly grappling with self-doubt. Despite the film following a similar genre to the majority of biopic formulas, her performance shines through, making it more than just your average retelling of history.

The Favourite (2018)

best emma stone movies

Emma Stone’s being a vicious villain back in 2018 was not on anyone’s bingo card. It was rather a sharp turn from her usual roles when she starred in The Favourite. This dark comedy, the first of many collaborations with director Yorgos Lanthimos, showcased her in a surprising light as the conniving Abigail Masham. In the film, she vies with her cousin Lady Sarah Churchill (played by Rachel Weisz) for the affection of Queen Anne (portrayed by Olivia Colman). Initially presenting herself as meek and innocent, Abigail’s true nature is revealed as she engages in a power struggle with Sarah, resorting to shocking tactics that include violence against innocent bunnies and an unexpected encounter with Samuel Masham (played by Joe Alwyn). Her portrayal of Abigail effortlessly melds inherent charm and razor-sharp humour into a persona tinged with cruelty and artifice. She seamlessly blends into Lanthimos’ brutal yet captivating world, suggesting that this type of role might have been her forte all along.

Cruella (2021)

best emma stone movies

This movie is a visual treat from start to finish. A lively journey unfolds in the origin tale of one of Disney’s most infamous villains, Cruella de Vil, from 101 Dalmatians. Originally depicted as a despicable character with a penchant for puppy-killing, Cruella has taken various forms over the years, from a desiccated hag in the animated version to a deranged Glenn Close obsessed with the spotted dogs in the live-action remake. But the Cruella of today is a more nuanced portrayal of the wickedly delightful persona of a punk rock designer with a penchant for mischief. Set against the backdrop of 1970s London, Estella (Emma Stone) is a savvy con artist dreaming of fashion fame. She teams up with fellow troublemakers, navigating the gritty streets together. But her life takes a turn when she befriends the famous Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson). Embracing her darker side, Estella becomes the bold and vengeful Cruella, standing out as one of the more memorable Disney remakes, while garnering a worldwide total gross of US$233.5 million, cementing its place as a commercial success.

Poor Things (2023)

best emma stones movies

Poor Things is a film you can watch a dozen times and still find something new every time you see it. This is an addition to her latest film venture, Poor Things, released in 2023, where Emma Stone reunites with none other than the award-winning director Yorgos Lanthimos of The Favourites. This dark comedy with fantasy undertones follows the story of Bella Baxter, a young woman portrayed by Stone, who is resurrected through an experiment conducted by the eccentric scientist Dr Godwin Baxter, played by Willem Defoe. Having previously taken her own life, Bella seizes her newfound opportunity for a second chance at life and embarks on adventures with a charismatic lawyer named Duncan, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo. Since its debut at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, Poor Things has garnered widespread critical acclaim, with particular praise directed towards her performance. As an added bonus, she also secured an Oscar for her excellent portrayal of the Frankenstein-esque tale of a Victorian woman.