French actress Mélanie Laurent has been active in the film industry since the turn of the twenty-first century. She’s worked with some of the most famous directors of their respective regions, be they from France or America — concerning the latter region, it’s worth noting that Laurent debuted in Hollywood after garnering widespread praise for her work in Don’t Worry, I’m Fine (2006).
While American audiences are most likely to recognize Laurent for her portrayal of Shosanna Dreyfuss in Inglourious Basterds (2009), she’s worked with some of Hollywood’s most talented directors ever since. On top of Quentin Tarantino, there’s also Mike Mills and Denis Villeneuve. But no matter the name directing her, Laurent always performs to a brilliant extent. That should be showcased in this list: the ten greatest films featuring Mélanie Laurent, ranked.
10 Don’t Worry, I’m Fine
Although it’s somewhat unknown in the grand scheme of Mélanie Laurent movies, Don’t Worry, I’m Fine received rave reviews upon release from critics. Even today, more hardcore film fans hold the project in high regard, with good reason, as it features an engaging story with impressive performances to boot.
Putting Laurent on the Map
Directed by Philippe Lioret from a script he co-wrote alongside Olivier Adam, Don’t Worry, I’m Fine was adapted from the novel of the same name. However admirable their efforts, the two names most prominently worth noting with regard to Don’t Worry, I’m Fine would be Mélanie Laurent and Kad Merad. At the 32nd César Awards, they won Most Promising Actress and Best Actor – Supporting Role, respectively, and their victories were well-earned through and through. Not currently streaming or available to rent.
9 The Concert
One of the more underrated movies of Laurent’s career is The Concert (2009), directed by Radu Mihaileanu. That same filmmaker co-wrote the script alongside four other creatives, with its plot homing in on a conductor named Andrei Filipov. Recently fired for hiring Jewish players, he begins the film as a maintenance worker. He then recruits his old players to pose as a legitimate orchestra and play a concert in France.
A Heartwarming Musical Comedy
Although The Concert is sometimes ineffective in its attempts to blend comedy and drama, an amiable tone is established in the first scene. By the end of the movie, the heartwarming atmosphere will have flourished into a memorable overall experience by dint of well-written dialogue and carefully crafted character dynamics — Laurent co-stars as Anne-Marie Jacquet, a violinist. And while it’s by no means her most popular or acclaimed, The Concert should still be cited among the finest films to feature Mélanie Laurent. Stream it on The Roku Channel.
8 The Beat That My Heart Skipped
With Jacques Audiard in the director’s chair, The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) featured Tonino Benacquista as his co-writer. They remade the film from Fingers (1978), written and directed by James Toback. While the original was well-received, the remake at hand is arguably held in even higher regard.
An Impressive List of Awards
At the 31st César Awards, this crime drama received nominations in eight total categories. It even won a BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language. It was pretty impressive, and each accolade was well-earned as the film follows a criminal who aspires to become a pianist. Though not the most popular title of Laurent’s career, it is among the most acclaimed. Her role is relatively small, but given the renown of The Beat That My Heart Skipped, this placement on the list is essentially a given. Not currently streaming.
A woman wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there. As she’s running out of oxygen, she must rebuild her memory to find a way out of her nightmare.
Release Date May 12, 2021
Runtime 1hr 40min
A science-fiction thriller, Oxygen (2021), was directed by Alexandre Aja from a script by Christie LeBlanc. Its plot starts when a woman (played by Laurent) awakens in a cryogenic pod without remembering how she got there. She can’t even remember her name. The story expands in thrills upon the realization that she’s trapped, and that her oxygen levels are depleting.
Oxygen Features Thrilling Plot Points the Whole Way Through
With an intriguing inciting incident, well-timed plot twists, and poignant flashback sequences — from a screenwriting perspective alone, Oxygen excels as a masterclass of thrillers. It also features slick sound design and smooth tactics of continuity transitioning. When accounting for the powerful performance provided by Laurent, there’s no denying this French-language thriller is one of the finest films of her career. Stream it on Netflix.
6 Days of Glory
Although her role in Days of Glory (2006) is rather insignificant to the overall plot, Mélanie Laurent nonetheless performs to an admirable degree for as long as she’s on the screen. A war drama, the film follows Algerian soldiers who joined the Free French Forces amid World War II. On top of the film’s impressive production value, critics praised the plot for paying homage to the contributions of the soldiers from North Africa, who often go unnoticed throughout the history books of Hollywood.
A Thoughtful War Drama
With impressive performances and engaging action sequences, Days of Glory received widespread reverence from critics and audiences alike. At the 79th Academy Awards, this thoughtful war drama received a nomination for Best International Feature Film. And despite coming up short, Days of Glory nonetheless remains among the finest films by everyone involved. Stream it on Plex.
Release Date June 9, 2011
Written and directed by Mike Mills, the romantic comedy-drama Beginners (2011) features fantastic performances from its three primary actors. Alongside Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer as the leads, Laurent provides the supporting actress effort in Beginners. She plays Anna, while McGregor’s character is Oliver — the two develop a romantic relationship while dealing with issues regarding their respective fathers.
Widespread Acclaim From Critics
Upon release, Beginners received praise from a wide variety of industry pundits. Famous film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 ½ stars out of a possible four, and justifiably so. Plummer undoubtedly stole the show, even winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. But every name in Beginners performs brilliantly, and that includes Mélanie Laurent. Rent it on Prime Video and YouTube.
Among the many co-writers of the female-led heist movie Wingwomen (2023) was Mélanie Laurent. And when she wasn’t on the screen as the lead, Laurent was also sitting in the director’s chair. Alongside Adèle Exarchopoulos, Manon Bresch, and Isabelle Adjani, she performs brilliantly in a French-language heist film that runs the gamut of emotion. It features engaging action sequences, for starters, while also providing heartfelt moments of poignancy in tandem with hilarious lines of dialogue.
Laurent’s Most Underrated Film
After making her filmmaking debut with The Adopted (2011), in which she also appeared, Laurent directed Breath (2014) to widespread acclaim from critics. By far and away, Wingwomen is the most underrated movie under her directorial belt — it’s also among the greatest films in which she’s appeared. Stream it on Netflix.
The 20 Best Netflix Movies of 2023, Ranked
With films running the gamut of genres, countries, and styles, Netflix released some certifiable gems throughout 2023.
Release Date December 31, 2013
With a thought-provoking plot and a haunting finale, Enemy (2013) is among the most memorable movies for everyone involved. Directed by Denis Villeneuve from Javier Gullón’s script, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a dual role. Identical in appearance but polar opposites regarding personality, Adam Bell and Anthony Claire are a history professor and an actor, respectively. Upon realizing that Anthony exists, Adam kicks off a psychologically thrilling journey by delving into the former’s affairs.
Memorable Performances Across the Board
Although Gyllenhaal steals the show, Laurent sometimes steals the scenes in which she appears as Mary, Adam’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, other performers among the cast include Sarah Gadon and Isabella Rossellini. Under Villeneuve’s direction, each actor performs to a memorable degree in a taut and thrilling work of neo-noir surrealism. Stream it through Cinemax on Prime Video.
2 The Mad Women’s Ball
Here in The Mad Women’s Ball (2021), the actress at hand co-stars as Genevieve. She also co-wrote the script and directed the overall project. It’s impressive, especially considering the acclaim of this supernatural thriller. Based on more than fifty reviews, The Mad Women’s Ball holds an 86% approval rating on critical consensus website Rotten Tomatoes.
The 23 Best Thrillers of 2023, Ranked
2023 found a variety of movie genres flirting with thrillers, so there are a lot of films to consider for the best of the year.
Compelling Characters in an Engaging Thriller
Based on Le bal des folles by Victoria Mas, the plot follows Eugénie (played by Lou de Laâge), a young woman who schemes to escape the asylum in which she’s been unjustly institutionalized. Thrilling plot points play out from there, with Laurent’s keen direction and co-starring performance proving her prowess both on the screen and behind the scenes. Undoubtedly, The Mad Women’s Ball is among the finest features in her filmography. Stream it on Prime Video.
1 Inglourious Basterds
Release Date August 19, 2009
One of the greatest films of the twenty-first century is Inglourious Basterds (2009), written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. In the film that put her on the map of international prominence, Laurent plays Shosanna Dreyfuss, a Jewish woman from France who seeks vengeance for the crimes committed against her family by the Nazis. It’s a compelling plot, with Brad Pitt’s character, Lieutenant Aldo Raines, leading the titular regime on a revenge tour of their own.
An All-Around Masterpiece
With career-defining performances, unforgettable dialogue, and a carefully crafted color palette of beautiful reds and greens — from every fathomable perspective of filmmaking, Inglourious Basterds excels as a masterclass despite a disastrous production. With widespread critical acclaim and tremendous money garnered in movie theaters, it’s perhaps the most important film of Mélanie Laurent’s career. As the revenge-seeking Jew, she nearly steals the show with her all-time greatest performance. Rent it on Prime Video.