By Joseph Cheng

From Princess to Rebel: 10 Best Anne Hathaway Films

Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be *her*.
10 best anne hathaway films
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 06: Anne Hathaway attends the 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards at American Museum of Natural History on November 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

She’s a luminary of the silver screen with unparalleled versatility, captivating audiences with her innate charisma and multifaceted talents. These best Anne Hathaway films have cemented her legacy as a bioscope powerhouse. Her breakout role—The Princess Diaries, had grossed over US$165 million and was highly acclaimed by the film reviewers. Hathaway’s journey to stardom, though adorned with brilliance, was not without its trials and tribulations.

In The Devil Wears Prada, Andy Sachs’ unwavering dedication, diligence, and commitment to upholding a virtuous image inadvertently fueled a burgeoning animosity towards Anne Hathaway and gave rise to a fervent faction of detractors known as ‘Hathahaters’. So, yes, she faced criticism, thanks to her phenomenal performances.

As Hathaway’s career ascended, she effortlessly transformed herself, breathing life into characters that resonate deeply with audiences worldwide. She demonstrated her range and depth as an actress in Les Misérables. Her haunting rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” remains etched in cinematic history, earning her widespread acclaim and cementing her status as one of the most formidable talents of her generation. Without further ado, let the cinematic odyssey begin.

Top 10 Best Anne Hathaway Films

The Princess Diaries (2001)

The Princess Diaries was Anne Hathaway’s first-ever major film role. After just one single audition, Hathaway earned the role and instantly clicked with the director Garry Marshall; it happened when she was nineteen at the time. Much akin to the classic tale of The Ugly Duckling, The Princess Diaries follows Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), an ordinary high schooler thrust into an extraordinary family lineage, unaware of her royal heritage. Guided by her grandmother Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), she undergoes a remarkable transformation to embrace her royal responsibilities, from the way she walks to the way she talks. Though her journey is fraught with challenges, ultimately, everything falls into place. Amidst her newfound princess status, will Mia discover her fairy tale romance?

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Meryl Streep said to Anne Hathaway on the first day of production, “I think you’re perfect for the role. I’m so happy we’re going to be working together.” After pausing, she said, “That’s the last nice thing I’ll say to you.” Indeed, it was. Despite high fashion not being her strong suit, Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a fresh graduate with a journalism degree, secured a job of a million girls’ dream. She landed at Runway, the greatest fashion magazine, as a personal assistant to the editor-in-chief from hell, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). She must deftly manoeuvre through the labyrinthine world of fashion, defying impossible demands and enduring her piercing critiques. With time, Andrea discovers herself surrendering her personal life, connections, and principles in the relentless pursuit of meeting Miranda’s exacting standards. 

This movie directed by David Frankel had a profound influence on the fashion industry and those involved in it, from designers and stylists to fashion editors and enthusiasts, remains a movie classic for a reason after eighteen years.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Hathaway was still in her Princess Diaries 2 costume when she rushed to the audition for the romantic drama, Brokeback Mountain. She played the role of Lureen Newsome Twist, Jack Twist’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) wife, capturing the complexities of a woman entangled in a tumultuous relationship. Lureen evolves from a naive and hopeful young woman to a disillusioned and embittered wife, grappling with the consequences of her husband’s hidden desires. 

In a poignant scene towards the film’s conclusion, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), her husband’s former lover, reaches out to her by phone, a moment expertly captured by the camera as Hathaway’s character slowly comprehends the truth. Through her nuanced performance, she skillfully conveys the unspoken bitterness and anguish of a widow coming to terms with her husband’s hidden truth and his deep connection to another.

The film received three Academy Awards, including Best Director for Ang Lee. Despite its controversial themes in a conservative setting, Brokeback Mountain resonated with audiences for its honesty and powerful performances. It has become an enduring classic, celebrated for its profound emotional resonance and cultural significance as an iconic film.

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Breaking the odds. Directed by Jonathan Demme, Anne Hathaway portrays Kym Buchman, a woman battling addiction and sent to drug rehab for nine months and returns home for her sister’s wedding. Throughout Kym’s stay at the family home, where the wedding is being held, the sister, Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt), harbours a considerable amount of resentment towards Kym for constantly stealing the spotlight with her antics. 

As the festivities unfold, tensions rise and family secrets surface, testing the bonds of love and forgiveness. The actress delivers a raw and compelling performance, capturing the complexities of addiction and familial dynamics in this emotionally charged drama. For this, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Rachel Getting Married.

Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar stands as one of the best Christopher Nolan filmography, a gripping science fiction saga that surpasses the constraints of space and time. Set in a dystopian future where Earth is ravaged by environmental catastrophe, a team led by Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), including Dr Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), a brilliant scientist and astronaut, are tasked with a monumental mission to find a habitable planet for humanity’s survival. With her character’s unwavering determination and intellect, Hathaway brings depth and emotion to the screen as she grapples with the weight of her decisions and the sacrifices required for the greater good.

The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Original Score for Hans Zimmer’s masterful soundtrack, which enhances the film’s themes of love, sacrifice, and the vastness of space, intensifying the emotional impact of key moments. 

Love And Other Drugs (2010)

This is the second film Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway co-starred together. Directed, produced, and co-written by Edward Zwick, Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal), a charming pharmaceutical salesman unexpectedly crosses paths with Maggie Murdock, a spirited Parkinson’s patient played by Hathaway. Their encounter sparks a romantic relationship, prompting both Jamie and Maggie to contemplate the possibility of a long-term commitment. As the protagonist falls for a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, he experiences a deep emotional and ethical awakening, learning valuable lessons in maturity, integrity, and accountability. Bonus, the movie was based on a true story.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

In Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, Hathaway delivers a mesmerising performance as Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman. The actress masterfully embodies a complex character, seamlessly blending seduction, ferocity, and wit. Her Selina is not merely a skilled thief, but a politically astute and morally ambiguous figure, navigating Gotham City’s treacherous underworld with finesse. Her dynamic interactions with Jen (Juno Temple), add depth to her character, showcasing moments of camaraderie and vulnerability amidst the chaos. Hathaway’s portrayal infuses gravitas into Selina’s alter ego, presenting her as a formidable force to be reckoned with, while also portraying her as a desirable love interest for Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). Their chemistry crackles on screen, adding another layer of intrigue to an already compelling narrative. Her portrayal of Catwoman contributes to the film’s enduring legacy as a modern classic in the superhero genre.

Colossal (2016)

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a woman battling alcoholism and relationship woes, who discovers her strange connection to a giant monster terrorising Seoul, South Korea. As she grapples with her newfound power, Gloria confronts her inner demons, forms an alliance with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), and seeks redemption. In a riveting performance, she sensitively portrays Gloria’s emotional journey, adding nuance to the character and elevating Colossal into a thought-provoking exploration of identity and responsibility.

Ocean’s 8 (2014)

In Ocean’s 8, directed by Gary Ross, Hathaway delivers a standout performance as Daphne Kluger, a glamorous and unsuspecting celebrity ensnared in a high-stakes heist orchestrated by Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) and her crew. Hathaway’s portrayal of Daphne is a dazzling display of her versatility as an actress, effortlessly blending vanity with charm. As the target of the elaborate scheme to steal a $150 million Cartier necklace at the Met Gala, Hathaway infuses Daphne with a captivating blend of self-absorption and sophistication. Her interactions with the ensemble cast, including celebrated musician Rihanna, add layers of humour and intrigue to the narrative. She effortlessly embodies the role of the self-absorbed yet charming actress, bringing charisma to the screen. Her portrayal of  Daphne is a memorable addition to the ensemble cast, showcasing her ability to command the screen with charisma and grace.

Les Misérables (2012)

“I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living!” The famous quote of Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Misérables left an indelible mark on audiences. Starting as a dorm worker struggling to support her child, Fantine descends into the depths of despair, compelled to sell not only her possessions but also her hair and even her teeth to make ends meet. Hathaway embodied Fantine’s plight with raw emotion and haunting vocals and walked with grace and genuineness into the depths of hopelessness and salvation. Her performance resonated deeply with audiences and critics alike, cementing her status as one of Hollywood‘s most versatile talents. Golden Globe, BAFTA, Academy Awards—Anne Hathaway swept all conceivable awards for her performance in Les Misérables. Over the years, the Tom Hooper movie continues to captivate audiences, leaving a lasting legacy in the realm of musical cinema.