Laura Dern is a highly acclaimed American actress who has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema with her captivating performances and memorable characters.

Born on February 10, 1967, in Los Angeles, California, Dern comes from a family deeply rooted in the film industry, and she has established herself as one of the most talented and versatile actresses of her generation.

Throughout her career, Laura Dern has showcased her exceptional acting skills and her ability to embody a wide range of complex and diverse characters.

From her breakthrough role in “Blue Velvet” (1986) to her recent performances in critically acclaimed television series like “Big Little Lies,” Dern has consistently delivered powerful and captivating portrayals that have earned her numerous accolades and widespread recognition.

In this list, we will explore some of Laura Dern’s best movies, highlighting her most notable and unforgettable roles.

From her emotionally charged performance in “Rambling Rose” (1991), for which she received an Academy Award nomination, to her captivating presence in “Jurassic Park” (1993) and her compelling portrayal in “Wild” (2014), these films represent some of the highlights of Dern’s illustrious career.

Dern’s ability to immerse herself in her characters and bring authenticity and depth to her performances has made her one of the most respected actresses in the industry.

Her versatility shines through as she effortlessly transitions between challenging roles, portraying both vulnerable and resilient characters with equal grace and conviction.

Through her work, Laura Dern has proven herself to be a true force in the world of acting, continuously captivating audiences with her magnetic presence and outstanding performances.

Best Laura Dern Movies

Her contributions to film and television have solidified her status as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, and her filmography is a testament to her remarkable talent and dedication to her craft.

1. Mask (1985)

“Mask” is a 1985 drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The movie is based on the true story of Rocky Dennis, a young man with a rare craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, a condition that causes the bones in his face to grow abnormally.

The film stars Cher as Rocky’s mother, Rusty Dennis, and Eric Stoltz as Rocky.

In “Mask,” Cher delivers a powerful performance as Rusty, a fiercely devoted mother who fiercely loves and supports her son Rocky despite the challenges they face.

The film explores their complex relationship as they navigate the difficulties of Rocky’s condition and the judgment and discrimination they encounter from others.

   

“Mask” is known for its emotional depth and its exploration of themes such as acceptance, resilience, and the meaning of family. It portrays Rocky as a vibrant and courageous individual who defies societal expectations and lives life to the fullest.

The film received critical acclaim, particularly for the performances of Cher and Eric Stoltz. Cher’s portrayal earned her the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination.

The makeup and prosthetics used to transform Eric Stoltz into Rocky were also highly praised for their realism and authenticity.

“Mask” remains a poignant and affecting portrayal of the strength of the human spirit and the power of unconditional love. It serves as a testament to the indomitable nature of individuals who face extraordinary challenges and find beauty and joy in their lives despite adversity.

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Mask
  • Mask (Director's Cut) - DVD Used Like New
  • Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott (Actors)
  • Peter Bogdanovich (Director)
  • Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

2. Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet is a psychological thriller film released in 1986, directed by David Lynch and starring Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, and Dennis Hopper.

The film tells the story of a young man named Jeffrey who returns to his hometown and becomes embroiled in a dark and twisted mystery involving a nightclub singer named Dorothy Vallens and a psychotic drug dealer named Frank Booth.

The film features a surreal and unsettling atmosphere that is a hallmark of Lynch’s style, and explores themes of desire, violence, and the dark underbelly of suburban America.

MacLachlan delivers a strong performance as Jeffrey, bringing a sense of curiosity and naivety to the character as he delves deeper into the mystery.

Rossellini also delivers a powerful and haunting performance as Dorothy, conveying both vulnerability and strength in her portrayal of a woman caught in a dangerous situation. Hopper’s performance as Frank Booth is particularly memorable, creating a chilling and unforgettable villain.

Blue Velvet is a visually stunning film, with Lynch’s direction capturing the eerie and unsettling mood of the film with masterful precision.

The film’s use of music, including the haunting score by Angelo Badalamenti and the inclusion of classic pop songs, also adds to its emotional resonance.

Overall, Blue Velvet is a disturbing and unforgettable film that showcases Lynch’s unique vision and style. With its strong performances, powerful themes, and striking visuals, the film is a must-watch for fans of psychological thrillers and art-house cinema.

3. I Am Sam (2001)

“I Am Sam” is a drama film released in 2001, directed by Jessie Nelson. The movie stars Sean Penn in the lead role, along with Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning, and Dianne Wiest in supporting roles.

The film tells the story of Sam Dawson (played by Sean Penn), a mentally challenged man with the intellectual capacity of a 7-year-old. Despite his limitations, Sam is a loving and devoted father to his daughter Lucy (played by Dakota Fanning).

   

When Lucy turns seven, her intelligence surpasses that of her father, leading to concerns about Sam’s ability to continue raising her.

“I Am Sam” explores themes of parenthood, intellectual disability, and the complexities of the legal system. As Sam fights to retain custody of his daughter, he enlists the help of high-powered lawyer Rita Harrison (played by Michelle Pfeiffer).

Who initially takes on the case for personal gain but eventually develops a deep connection with Sam and his daughter.

The film is known for its heartfelt performances, with Sean Penn delivering a remarkable portrayal of Sam, capturing the innocence, vulnerability, and unwavering love of the character. Dakota Fanning also shines as Lucy, displaying remarkable talent at a young age.

“I Am Sam” received mixed reviews from critics but garnered praise for its performances and its exploration of the themes of love, family, and the meaning of intelligence. The film’s message of inclusivity and acceptance resonated with audiences.

The movie showcases the challenges faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities and raises questions about societal perceptions and judgments. It highlights the importance of empathy, compassion, and understanding in dealing with those who may be different from us.

If you appreciate poignant dramas that tackle social issues and feature powerful performances, “I Am Sam” is worth watching. It offers a heartwarming and thought-provoking story that explores the complexities of parenthood and the triumph of love in the face of adversity.

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I Am Sam (New Line Platinum Series)
  • I Am Sam - DVD Brand New
  • Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianne Wiest (Actors)
  • Jessie Nelson (Director) - Kristine Johnson (Writer) - Claire Rudnick Polstein (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

4. Wild (2014)

“Wild” is a 2014 biographical adventure drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Reese Witherspoon.

The film is based on the memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed, which chronicles Strayed’s 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in order to find herself and heal after a series of personal tragedies.

   

In the film adaptation, Witherspoon plays Strayed, who embarks on the arduous journey with little hiking experience and a heavy emotional burden.

Along the way, she confronts the physical challenges of the trail as well as her own inner demons, finding solace and redemption in the process.

“Wild” is a powerful and moving film, anchored by Witherspoon’s compelling performance as Strayed.

The film is beautifully shot, capturing the stunning landscapes of the Pacific Crest Trail and the isolation and solitude of Strayed’s journey. The film also features a strong supporting cast, including Laura Dern in a memorable role as Strayed’s mother.

Overall, “Wild” is a poignant and inspiring film about self-discovery and redemption, and is a must-watch for fans of biographical dramas and outdoor adventure films.

Wild [DVD] [2014]
  • Polish Release, cover may contain Polish text/markings. The disk has English audio.
  • Spanish, Swedish, Danish (Subtitles)

5. Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story is a 2019 drama film written and directed by Noah Baumbach, and starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.

The film follows the marriage and subsequent divorce of a couple, Charlie (Driver) and Nicole (Johansson), as they navigate the complexities of separation, custody battles, and their own personal struggles.

Cotillard has a small role in the film as a celebrity actress who is being courted by Charlie for a theater production. While her role is brief, Cotillard delivers a strong and memorable performance, adding to the film’s overall sense of realism and complexity.

Marriage Story is a powerful and emotionally resonant film that explores the intricacies of modern relationships and the challenges of separation.

The film’s performances, particularly those of Johansson and Driver, are raw and authentic, and the film’s script is both honest and insightful. Cotillard’s appearance in the film is brief but effective, and adds to the film’s overall depth and richness.

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Marriage Story (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver (Actors)
  • Noah Baumbach (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

6. Little Women (2019)

“Little Women” is a film adaptation of the classic novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the movie was released in 2019.

It features an ensemble cast including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep.

The story is set in the 19th century and revolves around the March sisters: Jo (played by Saoirse Ronan), Meg (played by Emma Watson), Amy (played by Florence Pugh), and Beth (played by Eliza Scanlen).

The film explores their coming-of-age journeys, aspirations, and struggles as they navigate their lives in a post-Civil War era.

Jo March, an aspiring writer, serves as the central protagonist. She faces societal expectations, gender norms, and the pursuit of her artistic ambitions.

The story also delves into the complexities of sisterhood, love, and personal growth.

The film received critical acclaim for its performances, screenplay, direction, and faithfulness to the source material. It was nominated for several awards, including six Academy Awards, and won the Best Costume Design category.

“Little Women” resonated with audiences by highlighting themes of independence, sisterhood, and the pursuit of dreams.

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Little Women [Blu-ray]
  • Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh (Actors)
  • Greta Gerwig (Director) - Denise Di Novi (Producer)
  • Hungarian, Thai, Romanian, Slovene, Czech (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

7. 99 Homes (2014)

“99 Homes” is a 2014 American drama film directed by Ramin Bahrani. Laura Dern delivers a powerful performance in a supporting role in this thought-provoking film.

“99 Homes” explores the devastating impact of the 2008 housing market crisis in the United States.

The story centers around a desperate single father named Dennis Nash, played by Andrew Garfield, who is evicted from his family home by a ruthless real estate broker named Rick Carver, portrayed by Michael Shannon.

In his struggle to regain stability for himself and his family, Dennis finds himself working for Carver, becoming embroiled in the corrupt world of real estate foreclosures.

Laura Dern plays Lynn Nash, Dennis’s mother, who is deeply affected by the loss of their family home.

While her role may be smaller compared to the lead characters, Dern’s portrayal captures the emotional toll and vulnerability of a mother grappling with the aftermath of eviction and the uncertain future that lies ahead.

“99 Homes” is known for its gripping narrative, strong performances, and its examination of the human cost of the housing crisis.

The film shines a light on the complex ethical dilemmas faced by those caught up in the system, exploring themes of greed, desperation, and the lengths people are willing to go to survive in a harsh economic climate.

Laura Dern’s performance in “99 Homes” adds emotional depth to the story, as she portrays a mother navigating the aftermath of losing her home. Her portrayal resonates with authenticity and brings a human element to the film’s exploration of the housing crisis.

“99 Homes” is a compelling and socially relevant film that showcases Laura Dern’s ability to contribute to a thought-provoking narrative even in a supporting role.

The film sheds light on a pressing issue and stands as a testament to Dern’s versatility as an actress, as she continues to make significant contributions to the world of cinema.

99 Homes [Blu-ray]
  • Michael Shannon, Clancy Brown, Tim Guinee (Actors)
  • Ramin Bahrani (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3 Reasons To Watch Laura Dern Movies

Versatility: Laura Dern is known for her versatility as an actress, able to tackle a wide range of roles in both film and television.

She has played everything from vulnerable, emotionally complex characters to strong and powerful women, and has received critical acclaim for her performances in a variety of genres.

Collaborations with Great Filmmakers: Dern has worked with some of the most talented filmmakers in the industry, including David Lynch, Steven Spielberg, Alexander Payne, and Quentin Tarantino.

Her collaborations with these directors have resulted in some of her most memorable performances and have helped to cement her reputation as one of the most talented actresses working today.

Advocacy for Social Justice: In addition to her acting work, Dern is also an advocate for social justice and has used her platform to speak out on a variety of issues, including gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change.

She has been recognized for her activism with numerous awards, including the ACLU Bill of Rights Award and the Equality Now Champion for Change Award.

Overall, watching Laura Dern in movies can provide an enriching and inspiring experience for viewers, showcasing her range as an actress and her commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

Best Laura Dern Movies – Wrap Up

Laura Dern is a highly acclaimed actress known for her versatility and ability to bring depth to her roles. Here is a wrap-up of some of her best movies:

“Blue Velvet” (1986) – Directed by David Lynch, this psychological thriller features Laura Dern in a supporting role as Sandy Williams.

Her performance as an innocent and curious high school student caught in a dark and mysterious world is memorable and showcases her early talent.

“Wild at Heart” (1990) – In this surreal road movie directed by David Lynch, Laura Dern takes on the lead role of Lula Pace Fortune, a young woman who embarks on a passionate and tumultuous journey with her lover Sailor (played by Nicolas Cage).

Dern’s performance captures the fiery spirit and vulnerability of her character.

“Rambling Rose” (1991) – Laura Dern received critical acclaim for her role as Rose in this coming-of-age drama.

Her portrayal of a young woman with a troubled past who brings both chaos and love to a conservative household earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

“Jurassic Park” (1993) – Laura Dern stars as Dr. Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist, in Steven Spielberg’s iconic science fiction adventure film.

Her character showcases intelligence, bravery, and resourcefulness in the face of danger, making her a memorable part of the Jurassic Park franchise.

“The Fault in Our Stars” (2014) – In this romantic drama based on the novel by John Green, Laura Dern plays the role of Hazel’s (played by Shailene Woodley) supportive and loving mother.

Her performance brings warmth and emotional depth to the film, providing a strong foundation for the story’s themes of love and mortality.

These are just a few highlights from Laura Dern’s filmography. She has appeared in numerous other notable films, including “Blue Velvet,” “Smooth Talk,” and “Marriage Story,” showcasing her range and talent as an actress.

Laura Dern’s ability to portray complex and relatable characters has solidified her as one of the most respected and accomplished actresses in the industry.