Pick Six: Awesome British Actresses

The film world is quite heavily made up of different cultures, actors and directors and overall it is America, Japan and India that produce the most films per year. With this in mind, here is a tribute to some of the acting talents that have come out of the small but talented Britain.

Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan started off her career with the role of Kitty in Pride & Prejudice alongside Judi Dench and Kiera Knightly (two other fantastic British actresses). Since then her filmography has spiraled high with her appearing in the beautiful drama Never Let Me Go. She even managed to co-star with Ryan Gosling in Drive and with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby. Not forgetting her fresh performance in An Education and her grittier role in the recent Inside Llewyn Davis. She has a range of skills and quite often plays a strong leading lady. Her control and composure on-screen always gives her characters a distinct personality that makes you emote. This characteristic made her a great choice for films that tackle sensitive issues because she never goes over the top; she is always truthful in her portrayals. To add to her credit she can also pull off subtle comedy. Her upcoming films Far From the Madding Crowd and Suffragette look to be still further examples of her admirable talent.

Emily Watson

Emily Watson

Emily Watson’s long film career has shown her talents over a variety of roles. From her sexy and humourous portrayal of Lena in Punch-Drunk Love to voice acting in the Corpse Bride to her motherly roles in The Water Horse, War Horse and the recent The Book Thief. Her grace and tenderness on the screen makes her a joy to watch and even though she commands all of her scenes with a controlled face, her expressive eyes never fail to speak with the sparkle they emit. She is a motherly figure and always maintains a very practical characteristic in all of her roles. She sometimes comes across as quite stern and unreadable but she has a beautiful soft side that is worth the wait to see. Her acting carries a sentimentality with it that allows her to capture an audience and that also allows her to handle a sensitive film like Oranges and Sunshine. Her upcoming films are set to see her carrying on in the same wonderful vein.

Emily Mortimer

Emily Mortimer

Emily Mortimer started out as a television actress and since then she has risen into the films industry and has played many characters over the years. Some notable works are her roles in Dear Frankie, The Pink Panther’s and Lars and the Real Girl. She has also been able to partake in voice acting roles including a character in Cars 2 and the young heroine in the English version of Howl’s Moving Castle. She is a strong actress but she emits a vulnerability in her voice and looks on screen that gives her a very real, strong and truthful feeling. She is sensitive to the story and to the other characters and this makes her very easy to watch.

Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter is one of the strongest British actresses on the film scene today and her filmography is so incredibly vast it’s difficult to pack it into a mere paragraph. Not only is her acting strong, but also the way that she makes her characters so perversely intriguing. Her grotesque imagery completely captures her audience and continues to hold them. Her talents lie on quite a strange side where she encapsulates characters with mental issues or who are just completely crazy, but she does this in a way that shows the characters story and not just the fact that there is something wrong with them. Most notable are her appearances in Fight Club, Corpse Bride, Harry Potter, The King’s Speech and 2012’s Great Expectations.  She will be starring alongside Carey Mulligan in the upcoming Suffragette.

Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson is one of the funniest British actresses today and her wit and dry humour dominate her characters especially in films such as Love Actually, Nanny McPhee and The Love Punch. Her ability with the roll-off-the-tongue script gives her a captivating feature that many an audience enjoys. She can also be serious and has starred in one of Jane Austin’s classic adaptations of Sense and Sensibility alongside Kate Winslet as well as being a frowning headmistress in An Education. She can also be scarily serious as was seen in her portrayal of P.L Travers in Saving Mr. Banks. On screen she is always sophisticated and she has a very skilful way of acting. She’s not afraid to lend a joke in her own direction and is generally sarcastically modest. These are qualities that have made her well-known and loved.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones is a woman who, to use the words from her own mouth, likes to feel sexy and she definitely felt and looked just so when performing her role in 2002’s Chicago. She is a very talented actress who commands the screen with her controlled expressions and her authoritative readings of the scripts. She has played a few roles of leading ladies such as in The Terminal, No Reservations and Death Defying Acts. She delivered a stunning portrayal as Dr. Victoria Siebert in crime/thriller Side Effects and despite only being a supporting role, she definitely stole the show. Not only is she talented at her job, but she also has unique trademarks including her deep, sultry voice and her unique dancing skills.

Who are your favorite British actresses? Let us know below. 

Written By Louise Grimshaw

I’m Louise, lover of films, writing and of cold weather. I’m a film student, both in education and self-taught and I’m a blogger, which basically means that my life is about watching films and then writing about them. Ahh perfection.

  • Tom

    Nice list! Very nice choice of Catherine Zeta-Jones.

    May I offer also Kate Winslet, as I think she has some serious range even though some of her recent choices haven’t turned out to be great (Divergent; Labor Day).

  • Brittani

    Juno Temple! She’s up and coming, but I love her so much. Great list!

  • rich

    i’d put judi dench before zeta-jones.

  • rich

    recently saw emma thompson in a stage version of sweeney todd. she played mrs. lovett. fabulous show.

  • Louise Grimshaw

    Thank you! Oh aye, Winslet is a great actress. It took a while deciding who to put on the list and in doing so I didn’t want it to seem as though I disregard the other actresses out there!

  • fernandorafael_c2c

    Great list, Louise! Love all these ladies. Kate Winslet, Emma Watson and Judi Dench would be in mine, but I absolutely adore Mulligan and Thompson. Totally agree on Zeta-Jones in Side Effects. I wanted more of her!

  • http://www.videovortex.wordpress.com/ TheVern

    Nice list. I really enjoyed Emily Moritmer in Match Point. I would have put Winslet over Mulligan. She has been good in her roles but not great in my opinion

  • ruth

    What a lovely list, Louise!! I agree w/ all of them, props for including Watson and Mortimer (glad you’ve seen the underrated Dear Frankie!). I’d add Emily Blunt to the list who’ve been impressive in most things I’ve seen her in.