Julia Roberts was America’s sweetheart long before Sandra Bullock took over with Speed in 1994, yet both ladies have enjoyed decades-long careers in the movie business - something that’s especially difficult for actresses to maintain once age becomes a factor.
Roberts had appeared in a handful of films (Mystic Pizza, Steel Magnolias) and television series (Crime Story, Miami Vice) before striking gold with 1990’s Pretty Woman, where she starred opposite Richard Gere in the film that made her career and earned her an Oscar nomination as the “hooker with a heart of gold” in a movie that was just as quotable as it was memorable. (Can you believe next year will mark its 25th anniversary? Damn.)
This year’s The Normal Heart earned Roberts her 50th filmography credit. The film also stars such out-and-proud actors as Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Denis O’Hare, and Jonathan Groff. Also appearing in the film are Mark Ruffalo (Marvel’s The Avengers) and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights).
Let’s take a look at some of Roberts’ other films that we enjoyed.
Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)
This film has taken its lumps over the years, but we don’t care - we still enjoyed it. Several issues of continuity and believability have been raised about this film wherein Roberts’ character fakes her own death to get away from her abusive husband, and those questions have been answered rather well by “Hawk-58” on the IMDB page for the film. Besides, we fell head over heels in love with Laura's (Roberts) new boyfriend, Ben, who remains to this day one of the things we remember best about this film.
Dying Young (1991)
This tear-jerker is everything a sappy love story should be. Roberts and Campbell Scott star in this film about a young man who is suffering with cancer and hires a woman to be his caretaker. Of course they fall in love, and of course it tugs at your heart because there’s the potential for Scott’s character to die and leave unlucky-in-love Hilary (Roberts) all alone again after she’s finally found true love.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Roberts won an Oscar for her convincing portrayal as no-nonsense legal assistant Brockovich who overcomes multitudes of adversity (being a woman in her profession, choosing to dress how she wishes, being a single mom) in order to do the right thing by her clients. Brockovich makes "girl power" less cheesy, though you'd probably never expect her to fist-bump you over it.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
While she doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time in this film, Robert’s “Tess” is (spoilers!) Danny Ocean’s main motivation for carrying out his caper, giving an otherwise action-packed “dude movie” a romantic twist in the end. You never expected to say "aww" by the time this film wrapped up, but there it was anyway.
Oscar-nominated Closer is a wonderful film in that it takes an unflinching look at how relationships can go south for mature adults. Roberts and Natalie Portman are both torn between Jude Law and Clive Owen, with Owen’s performance being perhaps the angriest and most gut-wrenching of the film. The film follows these four characters and how their lives continue to intersect and come apart, displaying the true misery that results from being in love while indulging in lust.