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Best Meryl Streep movies

  • Best Meryl Streep movies

    Actress Meryl Streep exists in a class all her own. After all, not many people have their own Wikipedia page just for all the awards they've won. Of course, Streep is much more than an industry darling in that she brings depth to each role she tackles. Even in her most forgettable films, she usually renders a powerful impression among critics and audiences alike. It's no wonder Streep is frequently touted as the world's greatest living actress, with the chops and professionalism to back up the accolade.

    I was an ugly little kid with a big mouth, an obnoxious show-off,” Streep has said of her younger self. That tendency to seek attention would pay off in a big way. Singing before rapturous audiences as early as age 12, she soon took to the stage for various high school plays. After graduating from Vassar College, Streep enrolled in the Yale School of Drama, and continued to pursue her passion for stage acting. From there it was off to New York's theater scene, where she quickly established herself as a formidable talent.

    In 1977, Streep made her major motion picture debut in the World War II drama “Julia.” Just two years later, she earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in “The Deer Hunter.” To date, she has a record-smashing 21 Academy Award nominations; she's won three. That's joined by eight Golden Globes, two British Academy Film Awards, two primetime Emmy Awards, a slew of other awards, and an even greater number of nominations. Streep has run the full gamut in terms of genres and styles, starring in musicals and tragedies and everything in between. That includes frequent collaborations with notable talents like Mike Nichols, Rob Marshall, Emily Blunt, and Robert De Niro.

    Meanwhile, Streep's personal life is no less extraordinary, albeit not in ways one might expect. In 1976, she began a relationship with actor John Cazale, only to watch him die from terminal lung cancer. She married sculptor Don Gummer soon after, and they have been together ever since. They have four children, including actresses Grace and Mamie Gummer. Streep is also an outspoken “humanist” and liberal, who's publicly advocated for women's equal rights, along with various other causes.

    It all has made for a life of considerable accomplishment, both on-screen and off. But which of Streep's films are the best? Check out the following list, which ranks the best Streep movies as of 2019 according to IMDb user ratings. Only feature films and TV movies with more than 1,000 votes were considered; any ties were broken by the number of overall votes.

    You may also like: 100 best movies of the 21st century, according to critics

  • #25. ...First Do No Harm (1997)

    Directed by Jim Abrahams

    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Votes: 1,546
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 94 min

    Even Meryl Streep's most ardent fans might have overlooked this 1997 TV movie about a mother's struggle to get proper medical treatment for her epileptic son. When she puts her son on a ketogenic diet—which seems to do the trick—it kicks off a dispute with the boy's doctor. The story of “...First Do No Harm” was inspired by the personal experiences of director Jim Abrahams, whose own son suffered from epilepsy.

  • #24. A Cry in the Dark (1988)

    Directed by Fred Schepisi

    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Votes: 8,412
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 120 min

    Voicing her best Australian accent, Meryl Streep plays real-life murder suspect Lindy Chamberlain in this harrowing drama. When their baby is killed by a dingo, Chamberlain and her husband must prove in court that they're not guilty of filicide. The oft misattributed line from, “The dingo ate my baby,” has been the stuff of parody ever since the release of “A Cry in the Dark.”

  • #23. The House of the Spirits (1993)

    Directed by Bille August

    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Votes: 19,538
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 140 min

    This romantic drama follows the life of a young woman named Blanca (Winona Ryder), as she comes of age in Chile under a brutal military regime. Meryl Streep stars as Blanca's mother, Clara, who claims to possess psychic abilities. While “The House of the Spirits” was a relative flop domestically, it performed far better in Europe.

  • #22. Suffragette (2015)

    Directed by Sarah Gavron

    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Votes: 34,449
    - Metascore: 67
    - Runtime: 106 min

    Meryl Streep appears briefly as activist Emmeline Pankhurst in this period film, which tells the true story of women's suffrage in early 20th-century Britain. When peaceful protests fail to yield results, a group of suffragettes resort to violence in their pursuit of equality. 

  • #21. Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

    Directed by Rob Marshall

    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Votes: 53,868
    - Metascore: 66
    - Runtime: 130 min

    Working alongside a number of former collaborators, Streep plays Cousin Topsy in this musical sequel. It sees beloved nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) descending from the skies and dropping in on the Banks family once again. When asked to star in “Mary Poppins Returns,” Meryl Streep's email reply opened with the emphatic line: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”

  • #20. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

    Directed by David Frankel

    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Votes: 341,049
    - Metascore: 62
    - Runtime: 109 min

    Representing one of her most iconic roles, Meryl Streep plays icy editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly in this wildly successful comedy. Taking direct inspiration from real-life Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, Streep delivers a famously savage performance in “The Devil Wears Prada.” When the two later met on camera in 2017, Wintour refused to discuss the film and its brutal portrayal.

  • #19. One True Thing (1998)

    Directed by Carl Franklin

    - IMDb user rating: 7.0
    - Votes: 10,669
    - Metascore: 63
    - Runtime: 127 min

    Adapted from a novel by Anna Quindlen, this understated drama follows an ambitious woman (Renée Zellweger) as she quits her job to care for her cancer-stricken mother (Meryl Streep). Responding to criticisms that Streep's acting could be overly technical at times, one reviewer noted that she infused her character with natural warmth and comic presence. The performance in “One True Thing” earned her one of her many Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, though she lost to Gwyneth Paltrow from “Shakespeare in Love.”

  • #18. The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

    Directed by Karel Reisz

    - IMDb user rating: 7.0
    - Votes: 10,968
    - Metascore: 64
    - Runtime: 124 min

    Meryl Streep spent months learning a British accent for her role in this historical drama. Depicting parallel storylines, “The French Lieutenant's Woman” centers on the affair between two Victorian-era lovers and also the two actors portraying them modern times. This was the first movie to earn Streep an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role.

  • #17. Julie & Julia (2009)

    Directed by Nora Ephron

    - IMDb user rating: 7.0
    - Votes: 96,866
    - Metascore: 66
    - Runtime: 118 min

    Nora Ephron turned her love of food into a respectable box office hit, with Streep tackling the role of famous chef Julia Child in “Julie & Julia.” It was after Meryl Streep delivered a spontaneous Julia Child impression that she landed the part, and honed her cooking skills in the studio's working kitchen. The performance earned Streep her record-breaking 13th Oscar nomination.

  • #16. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

    Directed by Steven Spielberg

    - IMDb user rating: 7.1
    - Votes: 275,303
    - Metascore: 65
    - Runtime: 146 min

    Meryl Streep lent her processed voice to this sci-fi adventure, which incorporates a blend of live-action and CGI animation. Hoping to be turned into a real boy, an advanced robot (Haley Joel Osment) tracks down the Blue Fairy (voiced by Streep). Robin Williams, Chris Rock, and Ben Kingsley also brought animated characters to life with their respective voices in “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.”

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