From Alice in Wonderland to Jane Eyre, to Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and Park Chan-wook’s Stoker, Mia Wasikowska is one of the most diverse actresses working in film at the minute and has worked with some of the best directors of our time.
Here is my ranking of her performances (not of the films themselves) to date:
1. Crimson Peak (2016)
Crimson Peak is much more than a generic horror film (which is no surprise with the legendary Guillermo del Toro behind it!), and is, instead, a real ghost story. It’s difficult for films to genuinely scare you whilst enticing you into its story, but that’s what Crimson Peak does perfectly.
Full of grotesque monsters and jumps in all the right places, the tone and pace are set superbly. The story does take a while to get into, but after a somewhat slow opening, the film completely immerses you into this incredibly atmospheric gothic horror.
2. Stoker (2013)
Chan-wook Park’s English-language debut, Stoker is the perfect thriller in that you know something bad is going to be revealed, but you never know what it is going to do next or where it is going to go. From the premise alone, it’s obvious that there is something very fucked up about these characters and their story, and from Park’s previous work, you know he won’t suppress from showing you just how messed up people can actually be.
The performances are excellent; Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode are as equally phenomenal, and each of their characters has a dark side which are developed brilliantly.
3. Jane Eyre (2011)
An elegant and atmospheric adaptation of a literary classic. The soundtrack and score are beautiful, as is the periodic reconstruction, making the whole aesthetic of this film come together brilliantly.
Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are the reason that this film works so well, both giving excellent performances. The two have a strong chemistry that most will find engaging and deliver their portrayals of Bronte’s characters perfectly.
4. Maps To The Stars (2014)
I’m finding it difficult to write my feelings down about this film. Part of me loved it, but the other part felt like it was trying to mix too many stories together – living with mental illness, the difficulties of being in the public eye, and then there’s an odd ghost story mixed into it. Without this misplaced subplot, I think I would have really engaged with this drama, but Cronenberg always has to go that bit further. He’s certainly an odd individual, but this is definitely one his most engaging films and it is enjoyable for the best part of it. There’s a really great cast, too, which is what makes this worth a watch.
5. Tracks (2014)
Mia Wasikowska gives an exceptional performance in this true drama about one woman’s trek across the beautiful landscapes of the Australian desert.
Whilst the film is probably realistic in terms of the pace and experiences of her journey, I found it quite disengaging at times and a little hard to keep interest in between the few, small events.
My ranking continued:
- 6. Only Lovers Left Alive – – Jim Jarmusch knows how to make a vampire film! I loved the real vampiresque style and the mood and the characters themselves are fantastic. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are both amazing alongside Wasikowska. And John Hurt! What a fantastic cast.
- 7. Restless – – “A powerful and emotional coming of age story”, yeah right. It isn’t original because there have been many films about a young person dying and they have been done better, nor did I feel the “deep and lasting love” between these two characters. I certainly didn’t care about either of them. It was just a bit weird and hard to follow. Most of all, I wasn’t even slightly moved about the inevitability of Mia Wasikowska’s character dying. This is usually the type of film I would absolutely love, but not this time.
- 8. The Double – – I love Richard Ayoade’s style of film-making; it suits this dark comedy thriller perfectly. I just wish I knew what the hell happened. Jesse Eisenberg is excellent as both leads, but it’s so frustrating when an ending doesn’t answer all of your questions.
- 9. Albert Nobbs – – A brilliant performance from Glenn Close and supporting roles from Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
- 10. The Kids Are All Right – – It may be a fresh idea, telling a realistic story of an unconventional but modern family, and led by a strong leading trio – Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo – but it seems that doesn’t always make for a good film. The issues are all dealt with well, but it never goes far enough to move you, as the audience, in any way. With a lack of a powerful enough drama and any comedy, it only makes for a nice little story. At least I found it hard to engage with, anyway. Starring a young Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson, as well, it’s easy to see why they’re both going far more recently, because the performances are probably the only thing I enjoyed about this film.
- 11. Lawless – – Also starring Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain in the female supporting leads, both are brilliant actresses but again their characters didn’t have enough of an impact to stand out much. There was no real chemistry between any of the characters and their relationships, therefore, didn’t matter enough. It all felt very empty, I felt, with this lack of depth entertaining me about as much as Tom Hardy smiled (not at all). You can read my full review here.
- 12. Alice In Wonderland –
Note: I still need to see Blackbird, Judy & Punch, Damsel, Piercing, The Man with the Iron Heart, Madame Bovary, Amelia, That Evening Sun, Defiance, Rogue, September, and Suburban Mayhem.