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Annette Bening’s Best Roles

Annette Bening is the ultimate 21st century woman – both on and off the screen.

Though she may have gotten off to a late start (she was 30 when she nabbed her first film role), she’s turned out a host of seasoned performances since playing sweet-natured wife Kate Craig in The Great Outdoors. Four Academy Award® nominations later, Bening has etched out a niche as the queen of making it look easy.

To celebrate the release of 20th Century Women (on DVD and Digital Download 26th June) a multilayered, heart-stirring and funny coming-of-age film starring Annette Bening, we take a look at Bening’s top 5 best roles…

20th Century Women (2016)

Set in Santa Barbara in the late 1970’s, the film follows Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening) a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent  son, Jamie at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion.  Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women in Jamie’s upbringing; Abbie (Greta Gerwig) a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home, and Julie (Elle Fanning), a savvy and provocative teenage neighbour.

Poignant, artfully-shot and filmed with warmth and wit, 20th Century Women is a must-see film.

The Kids Are Alright (2010)

Lesbian couple Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together for almost 20 years and have two teenage offspring named Joni and Laser, who were conceived via artificial insemination. Unbeknown to their mothers, Joni and Laser seek out their biological father (Mark Ruffalo).

Bening shows acting brilliance in a particularly important dinner scene and later without any words during one of Moore’s monologues.

American Beauty (1999)

Often considered the hallmark performance of her career, in American Beauty, Bening plays the terrifyingly ferocious Carolyn Burnham with startling honestly.  Playing the archetypal career woman and successful homemaker stuck in an unhappy marriage as her husband Lester (Kevin Spacey) suffers a mid-life crisis, she’s actually a study in unhappiness and Bening plays her with incredible despair in an outstanding performance.


The American President (1995)

Before Aaron Sorkin wrote the script of the critically acclaimed Social Network, there was this little political romance. Playing determined and intelligent lobbyist Sidney Ellen Wade, Bening romances the president (Michael Douglas) in one of the smartest and most entertaining romantic comedies of the past 50 years.

Being Julia (2004)

The film that features one of the all-time best Bening performance is Being Julia. Playing an aging stage actress searching for a way to regain her limelight, Bening is doing what she does best in the most theatrical and glorious way – manipulating men and ruling the stage. Julia Lambert is a character for the ages, and her no-holds-barred final scene with bumbling Avice Crichton (Lucy Punch) is stuff of future movie legend.




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