This week, Scarlett Johansson caps off a career year by starring in Lucy – the latest sci-fi action film from director Luc Besson. She plays an American student in Taiwan who gets dosed with an illegal drug that turns her into a superhuman badass.
In spite of her overwhelming celebrity, Scarlett Johansson is one of the most enigmatic stars working in Hollywood: she’s ethereal on-screen and a near mystery in her private life.
Here are 10 other performances that demonstrate her utter perfection as a star of the silver screen.
1. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
In this fantastical piece of historical fiction, we’re led to believe that Henry VIII was besotted with the sister of his ill-fated wife (Anne Boleyn, played by Natalie Portman). To make this movie work, it was essential that they cast an actress who could make Natalie Portman look like a Plain Jane by comparison. Guess who they got to play ‘the other Boleyn girl’?
2. We Bought a Zoo (2012)
In this film by Cameron Crowe, Matt Damon buys a house that has a zoo attached to it. But as members of the audience, we’d never buy Scarlett Johansson as someone who’d be mucking animal pens in a failing zoo.
3. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
Billy Bob Thornton is a quiet man with some of the worst luck imaginable. When Scarlett Johansson comes onto him during a short drive, you might think his fortunes are changing. But seeing as how she’s the underaged daughter of his friend, Scarlett’s feminine wiles are bad, bad news.
4. Ghost World (2001)
Thora Birch might have been top billed in this movie about a pair of suburban outsiders, but it’s Scarlett Johansson who shot to stardom off the back of it.
5. Girl with the Pearl Earring (2003)
Playing the subject of Johannes Vermeer’s most famous painting, Johansson breathes life into the mystery of a single image. It’s a beautifully shot film and her performance is achingly understated.
6. Lost in Translation (2004)
There’s no shortage of beautiful moments in this movie. But this one takes the cake. At the end of a whirlwind night on the streets of Tokyo, Bill Murray and Johansson end up at a karaoke bar. The pair of them sneak out of the booth to share a cigarette. And very gently, her head falls on his shoulder.
7. Her (2013)
Even as a disembodied voice, she’s everybody’s idea of a dream girl.
8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Standing next to Thor and The Hulk, Johansson and her tiny guns are kind of worthless in a battle against Gods. So it’s a good thing that in the second Captain America movie, The Black Widow is given a chance to show off some character depth and espionage skills. And as it turns out, she’s pretty tonk when she only has to fight other human-beings!
9. Match Point (2005)
‘Erotically-charged’ and ‘a Woody Allen Film’ are two phrases that rarely appear in the same sentence. But with this first of his collaborations with Scarlett Johansson, Woody was able to add this new, sexy, Mills and Boon-y dimension to his films.
The jury’s still out on whether Match Point’s actually that good, but this scene where Scarlett and Jonathan Rhys Meyers kiss in the rain is absolutely electric.
10. Under the Skin (2014)
Almost every shot in Under the Skin focuses on Scarlett Johansson. She plays a beautiful alien, roaming the streets of Glasgow in a van, her eyes scanning over seas of lonely men. Even when the camera turns onto the faces of her victims, you can see that there’s only one thing they’re thinking about: and that’s her.