Brie Larson has spent a lot of time in film, television, and music making many appearances on television shows, sitcoms, dramas, and even working with Disney every now and then. She’s also a very prominent musician and has managed to finally break out in Hollywood over the last seven years as a surefire heavy hitter. Working her way from supporting player in to headlining acclaimed award winning films, Brie Larson has earned her stripes as a bonafide dramatic actress who is now an Oscar contender.
We’re rooting for her to take the gold home come February, but even if she doesn’t win, she has so many more amazing performances up her sleeve, and her potential for future wins are limitless. Being able to make the transition from art house films to mainstream cinema easily, Larson is something of a chameleon prone to stealing scenes, and I’m glad she’s finally getting her credit.
Here are five of her best performances yet.
5. 21 Jump Street (2012)
As Molly Tracey, Larson plays a charming high schooler who is a part of the drama class officer Schmidt (Jonah Hill) accidentally gets in to. While investigating the source of a brand new drug circulating around the school, Schmidt gains affection for the intelligent and sarcastic classmate, who forms a liking for him as they prepare for their production of “Peter Pan.” Larson is mostly a supporting player but steals plenty of scenes from Hill, including an awkward moment where she’s hinting at dating him for prom, her hilarious introduction, and of course, her emotional drug fueled confrontation of Schmidt as he engages in a shoot out with violent drug dealers. It’s a charming role I wish we’d seen again in the sequel.
4. Trainwreck (2015)
As Kim, she’s the younger sister of protagonist Amy who is committed to living a normal life free of psychoses as Amy finds herself spiraling in to loneliness and sadness. Living with a womanizing father their entire lives, Kim is mainly detached from their father, and inadvertently finds stability with a very sensitive but loyal husband and her somewhat unusual step son. Larson’s character holds her own against Schumer, playing off of her well, and adding some welcome and much needed dramatic weight to more serious moments that Schumer can’t really deliver.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Envy Adams is mainly the antagonist of the Edgar Wright cult film who is only in the movie for twenty minutes, but Larson owns every minute. As Adams she’s a snake like performer filled with sexuality and a devious persona she uses to manipulate and taunt main character Scott. Adams is multi-layered, alluring, and a powerful female presence who intimidates Scott and his object of affection Ramona Flowers, and Larson succeeds in her role, making it look easy from the moment she crashes on to the screen. Larson is even able to sing a few bars of the movie’s hit track “Blacksheep.” Though she’s cut early, you can hear the uncut version of Larson singing “Blacksheep,” online, and she’s fantastic as always.
2. Short Term 12 (2013)
As Grace, Larson plays a supervisor for a temporary group home who has to play her cards carefully. She can’t alienate the troubled and abandoned teenagers in the home, but she can’t bond with them or confide in them either. Grace constantly has to keep the line of confidante and stranger evident, prompting a lot of conflict within her and the people she works with. Still broken from a life spent being sexually violated by her father, Grace is still figuring herself out, and spends her time trying to help keep the other teens in the home from breaking, including a young man a few days away from going home, and a young rebellious girl who has a lot more in common with Grace than she ever realized. Larson, as Grace is personable, lovable, and struggles to function day in and day out while also working hard to keep the young people she’s in charge of from giving up on themselves and life altogether. It’s a remarkable turn to an excellent underrated drama.
1. Room (2015)
Based on the hit book, “Room” is probably Larson’s most down to Earth and powerful dramatic turn yet. “Room” is an unorthodox and wholly originally dramatic thriller about what happens when you’re the victim of a horrendous crime and how you adjust when you re-enter your life. For Larson’s character, she’s a woman who was kidnapped and kept in a furnished shed for seven years. She lived for five of those with son Jack, who is unfortunately the child of the man who kidnapped her. The two share a very close and somewhat damaged relationship, and when she decides to break out of her prison, she and Jack are forced to adjust to their world in different ways. Jack has to comprehend a humongous limitless world outside of his small shed, while Larson’s character realizes that the world kept going on during her seven years captive, and has no idea where she fits anymore. “Room” is raw, emotional, and powerful drama about trauma, life, and the powerful bond of a mother and her child. Larson commits to a myriad amazing moments including her plot to break free from her room, and her argument with her mother, as played by Joan Allen. Larson’s performance is a banner moment in her career, earning a well deserved Oscar nomination.