Jennifer Lawrence’s Best Indie Movies, Ranked

Jennifer Lawrence — or “JLaw” as many call her — stole our hearts before she could even get her hands on that Oscar trophy at the 2013 ceremony. It may have happened when she tripped in walking on stage. Since then, she has been a powerhouse in Hollywood. In fact, Lawrence would continue to appear on Time’s 100 most influential people in the world list in 2013, but in the years leading up to her bigshot status, she appeared in many small independent films. Same Silver Linings Playbook was made on a rather tight budget. She will surely continue to appear in other blockbusters in addition to the x-men franchise.

Right now we can’t wait to see Lawrence’s next gangster movie mob girl, directed by Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino, and based on the true crime story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Teresa Carpenter from the early 90s. As we count the days until the release of this seminal article, let’s take an extra moment to appreciate Lawrence’s other independent endeavors over the years. Here’s a closer look.

Related: Best Jennifer Lawrence Movies, Ranked

5 The Burning Plain (2008)

Gang of thugs

The Burning Plain is a gripping film about regret and crippling loss. Charlize Theron plays Sylvia, a woman on the verge of suicide, struggling with the mistakes of her past. When a man with ties to a life she left long ago contacts Sylvia with shocking news, she’s forced to come to terms with a life she’s been fleeing for decades. In a first screen appearance of her career, Lawrence plays Mariana, who later changes her name to Sylvia and is played years later in Theron’s storyline. Interestingly enough, it was during the press tour for this film that JLaw made a joke to the press that Kim Basinger was dead, causing the internet to swirl.

4 The House of Poker (2008)

Phase 43 Movies

The House of Poker is a period drama set in 1976 that explores a typical day in the life of a decidedly atypical teenage girl named Agnes (Lawrence). For her, every day is a grueling struggle for survival, as her mother (a superb and dependable Selma Blair) is addicted to drugs, her home has been overrun by degenerates, and her only father figure is a pimp. Lawrence’s daughter-mother chemistry with Blair is not to be missed.

“She always looked me in the eye and always listened and responded to everything you said, even when she wasn’t on camera,” Lawrence once told Collider, regarding his scenes with Blair. “Emotional scenes are part of acting, so I wasn’t scared of anything. She makes it so much easier. When you work with an actress of that caliber, it uplifts you as well.”

3 Like Crazy (2011)

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indian brush

Also featuring the late great Anton Yelchin, Like crazy follows a young American and a young Briton (Felicity Jones) who fall in love, until she is deported to England after overstaying her visa. Now they face the challenges of a long-distance relationship. Lawrence plays Samantha, a girl who falls in love with Yelchin’s character after growing apart from Anna de Jones. Lawrence’s supporting role here reveals star qualities, even if she’s not necessarily the female lead in Like crazy.

Related: Robert Pattinson’s Best Indie Movies, Ranked

2 Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence Bradley Cooper Silver Linings Playbook 2012 Weinstein Company
The Weinstein Society

“I’m just the crazy bitch with a dead husband!” You could say it was that outrageously lovely scene of Silver Linings Playbook which won Lawrence his Oscar at the age of 22. Alongside a stellar cast including Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver and even Chris Tucker, Lawrence stars as Tiffany, a young widow from Pennsylvania who befriends Pat (Cooper), a man with bipolar disorder, who has just moved back in with her parents. Pat is determined to win back his ex-wife, so he and Tiffany start training for a dance competition. JLaw steals the show, hence the Oscar, and there’s only one other performance that could possibly top her…

1 The Winter Bone (2010)

Lawrence-Winters-Bone-2010-Anonymous Content
Anonymous content

Walk in winter bone. “Is it our time? asks the Oscar-nominated John Hawkes character in a climactic scene with the police during the film. Well, it was definitely time for JLaw to shine with their award-winning caliber debut turn that opened the doors to bigger splashes including The hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook. This small independent effort follows a girl from the Ozarks of Missouri whose childhood was marred by a family tragedy. Lawrence’s portrayal of a determined and resilient young woman in search of her father is not to be missed.

“My mother read the book [by Daniel Woodrell]five or six years ago,” Lawrence told magazine interview. “And when she read it, she said, ‘Jennifer, if they ever make a movie out of it, you’d be perfect for it.’ And you know, I didn’t listen to it, because she’s my mother, but five years later, I got the script and the audition.” The rest is history.


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