Scarlett Johansson at the 70th Venice International Film Festival

Scarlett Johansson at the 70th Venice International Film Festival (Photo by Silvi Photo on Shutterstock)

Scarlett Johansson is undoubtedly one of the most talented and versatile actresses in Hollywood today. With a career spanning over two decades, she has delivered memorable performances in various genres, from action-packed blockbusters to intimate indie films. Today, we at StudyFinds decided to take a closer look at some of the best Scarlett Johansson movies of all time, highlighting her incredible talent and range as an actress. From her breakout role in “Lost in Translation” to her iconic portrayal of Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Johansson has proven time and time again why she is considered one of the greatest actresses of her generation.

But what are some career-defining films that skyrocketed Johansson to icon status? We combed through nine expert sources to bring you today’s ranking of the top seven best Scarlett Johansson movies of all time. Don’t agree with our list or feel we missed out on a good suggestion? No worries. We would love to hear from you in the comments below! Now, onto the list. 

Ranking the Best Scarlett Johansson Movies of All Time

1. “Marriage Story” (2019)

The heartbreaking film “Marriage Story” is the first film on our list and one that, according to Gold Derby, earned Johannson her second Academy Award nomination. Playing the role of Nicole Barber, Johannson expertly portrays the complexities of a failing marriage and the emotional turmoil that comes with it. Her performance is raw, powerful, and utterly captivating, drawing audiences into the heartbreaking story of love lost.

“Marriage Story” (2019)

Movie Web calls Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” “turbulent,” as Johannson and her co-star Adam Driver excellently portray lost love and the resentment two people can hold for one another. Their on-screen chemistry is palpable, making the audience feel every emotion as they navigate the difficult waters of divorce. Johannson’s portrayal of Nicole is both sympathetic and fierce, showcasing the actress’s incredible range and depth. Driver’s performance as Charlie is equally captivating, portraying a man struggling with his own demons and insecurities while still trying to maintain some semblance of control.

Screen Rant adds that the Netflix Original is “highly emotional” and was “lauded upon release” for its raw and authentic depiction of divorce. The film’s intense emotional impact lingers long after the credits roll, leaving viewers reflecting on their own experiences with love and heartbreak. Overall, “Marriage Story” is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates powerful performances and thought-provoking storytelling.  

2. “Lost in Translation” (2003)

Sofia Coppola’s “captivating tale” of beauty and intimacy, “Lost in Translation,” is next. Described by Collider as a story of an “unlikely but heartwarming bond” between two lost souls in a bustling city, the film follows the relationship between a lonely, aging actor and a neglected young woman. Set against the backdrop of Tokyo, the movie explores themes of loneliness, connection, and the search for meaning in life.

“Lost in Translation” (2003)

Screen Rant adds that “Lost in Translation” was the film that, in a lot of ways, “opened many eyes to Scarlett Johansson’s talents,” even winning her a BAFTA. The film’s dreamy cinematography and melancholic soundtrack perfectly complement the emotional depth of the characters, drawing viewers into their shared moments of vulnerability and understanding. Through subtle gestures and poignant dialogue, Coppola masterfully captures the complexities of human relationships and the universal desire for companionship. As the characters navigate their own personal struggles and cultural differences, they ultimately find solace and a sense of connection in each other, proving that sometimes the most meaningful connections can be found in the most unexpected places.

The Manual writes that the film is a great romance movie if you’re looking for a “little bit of a twist,” with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson starring as the unlikely pair at the center of it all. Their chemistry on screen is palpable, drawing viewers in with their raw and authentic performances. “Lost in Translation” beautifully showcases the beauty of finding connection in the midst of isolation, reminding us all that true companionship knows no bounds. The film’s bittersweet ending leaves viewers with a sense of hope and possibility, illustrating that even fleeting connections can leave a lasting impact on our lives.

3. “Her” (2013)

The science fiction film “Her” is the next to appear on our ranking even though Johansson’s voice is the only thing that appears in this film. According to Movie Web, it was enough to make an impact. Despite not physically appearing on screen, Johansson’s voice performance in “Her” was truly captivating, bringing the artificial intelligence character of Samantha to life with warmth and depth. Her vocal performance added a layer of complexity to the character that would have been difficult to achieve with just any actress. Her ability to convey emotion and nuance through voice alone is a testament to her talent, and though “Her” may not showcase Johansson’s face, her voice is truly the star of the film.

“Her” (2013)

Gold Derby describes “Her” as a “triumph of voice acting for Johansson” in Spike Jonze’s film. The way she brought Samantha to life with just her voice was truly remarkable, making the character feel real. It’s no wonder that critics and audiences alike praised her performance, recognizing the depth and emotion she was able to convey solely through her vocal delivery. In the end, Johansson’s talent as a voice actress truly shines in “Her,” proving that she is a versatile and skilled performer in every sense of the word.

Screen Rant notes that a lot of the film’s praise came from Johansson’s performance upon its release. Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Theodore was also exceptional, but it was Johansson that truly stole the show. “Her” would not have been the same without her incredible performance, solidifying her as one of the best voice actresses in the industry. 

4. “Under the Skin” (2013)

Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi “Under the Skin” is next. Indie Wire describes this film as demanding a “mostly wordless performance from Johansson,” who is sent to Earth to “harvest the souls of unwitting men.” Her portrayal of an alien struggling with her place in the world is both captivating and unsettling. The film’s slow pace and eerie atmosphere draw viewers in, forcing them to confront their own beliefs and values. Johansson’s nuanced performance lingers in the mind, leaving audiences pondering the complexities of humanity and the choices we make. “Under the Skin” is a masterpiece of science fiction cinema, showcasing Johansson’s range and talent as an actress.

"Under the Skin" (2013)
“Under the Skin” (2013)

Taste adds that “Under the Skin” is “irrefutably one of her best” performances to date. Johansson’s ability to convey a sense of detachment and curiosity as the alien character is truly remarkable. The way she navigates the human world with a mix of wonder and confusion is both haunting and thought-provoking. As the film progresses, her character’s transformation and ultimate realization of her purpose on Earth are a powerful and unforgettable journey. “Under the Skin” is a film that challenges audiences to look beyond the surface and contemplate the essence of what it means to be human.

Movie Web writes that Johansson pulls off “such an emotionless character without making it seem deliberate.” The film’s unique blend of sci-fi and psychological thriller elements adds to the overall intrigue and depth of the story. “Under the Skin” is a cinematic experience that lingers long after the credits roll, leaving audiences questioning their own perceptions of humanity and existence.

5. “Jojo Rabbit” (2019)

Taika Waititi’s dramatic comedy/satire set in the final months of Nazi Germany, “JoJo Rabbit,” is the next film on our list that earned one of her first two Academy Award nominations in 2019, according to by Gold Derby. In the film, Johansson plays the role of Rosie, the mother of the titular character Jojo, who is a young boy caught up in the madness of World War II. Her performance in “Jojo Rabbit” received critical acclaim, with many praising her ability to balance humor and heartbreak in a complex role.

“Jojo Rabbit” (2019)

Movie Web adds that “Jojo Rabbit” is “satirical and daring,” giving Johansson a different genre to work in and succeed at. She has proven time and time again that she can tackle a variety of roles with grace and skill, earning her numerous award nominations and wins throughout her career.

Screen Rant raves about Johansson’s “funny and heartbreaking performance” in “Jojo Rabbit,” noting her dueling nature in the film as a motherly figure and a tough resistance fighter. Johansson’s ability to seamlessly transition between these two contrasting roles further demonstrates her versatility and dedication to her craft. It is no surprise that she continues to be a sought-after talent in the industry, with audiences eagerly anticipating her future projects. Johansson’s captivating presence on screen is truly a testament to her exceptional talent and passion for storytelling.

6. “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

Of course, we couldn’t truly make this list without featuring Johansson’s role as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Collider mentions, this film features her “heartbreaking last appearance” as Black Widow, which showcases Johansson’s incredible acting skills as she bid farewell to her iconic character. Her portrayal of the complex and badass superhero will forever be remembered as one of the highlights of her career.

“Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

Movie Web describes “Avengers: Endgame” as Johansson’s “crowning achievement” in the franchise, solidifying her place as a powerhouse in the superhero genre. The film not only highlighted her physical prowess as Black Widow but also her ability to bring a level of vulnerability and humanity to the character. Johansson certainly left fans eagerly awaiting her next project after this film.

The Direct names this the “the big kahuna of Marvel movies” and a “bombastic” finale to a series of films. The film’s emotional depth and intense action sequences truly showcase Johansson’s range as an actress and her dedication to the role of Black Widow. Her character’s arc in “Avengers: Endgame” was not only satisfying for fans but also left a lasting impact on the overall narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With her performance in this film, Johansson has truly cemented her legacy as one of the iconic figures in the superhero genre, setting the bar high for future projects. 

7. “Ghost World” (2001)

2001’s “Ghost World” is the final film to take up residence on our list and is described by Movie Web as still holding “a special place” in people’s hearts. The film, based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, follows the story of two teenage girls, Enid and Rebecca, as they navigate the complexities of growing up and finding their place in the world. With its quirky humor, poignant moments, and unique characters, “Ghost World” has become a cult classic beloved by many.

SlashFilm says this film came out when Johansson was only 15 years old, showcasing her early talent as an actress. Thora Birch also delivers a standout performance, capturing the rebellious spirit of Enid with raw emotion. The film’s exploration of friendship, identity, and the challenges of adolescence continues to resonate with audiences, making it a timeless coming-of-age story that remains relevant today.

Taste concludes that “Ghost World” is still a “beloved cult film twenty years later.” Its quirky humor and offbeat characters have cemented its place in the hearts of viewers who appreciate its unique charm. The film’s timeless themes of self-discovery and the complexities of growing up are still relatable, making it a must-watch for anyone navigating the ups and downs of young adulthood. As the years go by, “Ghost World” continues to attract new fans who are drawn to its authentic portrayal of the awkwardness and uncertainty that come with finding one’s place in the world. With its unforgettable performances and poignant storytelling, this cult classic is sure to remain a favorite for years to come.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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1 Comment

  1. Ed G says:

    What are the best Scarlett Johansson movies? The ones where she bares her boobs.