Reese Witherspoon has been in the show business since 1991 and is one of the highest-paid actresses in the world. Witherspoon earned her current state by excelling in comedic and dramatic roles throughout her long-standing career. If you only got to know the actress recently and only saw her on Apple TV’s The Morning Show (2019- ), don’t worry. We have ranked the best Reese Witherspoon performances in movies and on TV, from best to worst, so that you know which Reese Witherspoon movies and TV shows to check out.
1. Walk the Line
The 1st place goes to Walk the Line (2005), without any doubt. Witherspoon played a real-life person in this musical biopic, June Carter Cash, an American singer/songwriter and Johnny Cash’s 2nd wife. This role earned the actress her 1st Academy Award nomination and win.
2. Legally Blonde
Perhaps the most unforgettable Reese Witherspoon performances are from Legally Blonde (2000), and its 2003 sequel, where she plays Elle Woods, a sorority sister and fashion student bent on getting admitted into Harvard to win her ex-boyfriend back. This is the most excellent comedic performance of the actress as she embodied the character with such charm and charisma. No wonder we’re getting a 3rd film next year.
Another one of Reese Witherspoon performances that earned her an Academy Award nomination was in 2014’s Wild, where she played a real-life person again. This time the person was Cheryl Strayed, who wrote a memoir about her solo backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. The actress perfectly portrays a woman who recently lost her mother and whose marriage is in shambles.
4. Big Little Lies
HBO’s Big Little Lies (2017-2019) sees another outstanding performance by Witherspoon. She plays a mostly pain-in-the-ass, uptight, and judgmental but die-hard friend Madelaine MacKenzie. The actress was nominated for all types of important awards but mostly lost them to her co-star Nicole Kidman. Still, that doesn’t mean that Witherspoon was performing poorly. It’s the opposite. Like Kidman’s, every performance in that series deserved an award, including Witherspoon’s.
5. The Morning Show
The most recent performance of the actress could be seen in The Morning Show, where she stars alongside Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell. Witherspoon plays Bradley Jackson, co-host of The Morning Show with Alex Levy (Aniston). Both actresses have been nominated for Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys for their respective roles. It is impossible not to see how Witherspoon shines in her role.
6. Cruel Intentions
Among all Reese Witherspoon movies in her earlier career, Cruel Intentions (1999) was the one that gave her lots of fame and attention. In the film, she plays a good girl Annette Hargrove. Although her co-stars’ (Sarah Michelle Gallar and Ryan Phillippe) performances were praised more, some reviewers also pointed out Witherspoon’s amazing take on her character.
7. Just Like Heaven
Just Like Heaven (2015) was harshly criticized by critics for its lack of depth, but Witherspoon still gave a pretty good performance as a doctor who begins to appear as a ghost in her old apartment, where an architect lives now. And the architect (Mark Ruffalo) falls in love with her ghost. Despite the movie being of bad quality, Witherspoon and Ruffalo were the ones who made watching the movie a worthwhile experience.
8. Sweet Home Alabama
Sweet Home Alabama (2009) is usually considered one of the worst Reese Witherspoon movies, where the plot was so bad that it could not even be saved by Witherspoon’s charm. Witherspoon plays a successful New York fashion designer who tries to hide her Southern roots. Although the actress displays a good performance here, the movie does not allow her to shine.
Fear (1996) involves another one of Reese Witherspoon performances that feels like wasted potential. Although her performance is pretty good in this movie, her performance still doesn’t hide the fact that this movie is very predictable.
10. This Means War
The worst movie the actress has ever been in is most likely This Means War (2012), a romantic comedy spy film where she plays Lauren Scott, a woman who dates 2 friends simultaneously. The movie completely wastes Witherspoon’s talent and becomes another unforgettable film.