Maria Bello is an American actress known for her powerful performances in a variety of film and television roles. With over 30 years in the industry, she has built a reputation as a versatile and talented performer, equally adept at comedy, drama, and action.
Bello began her career in the early 1990s, working on a variety of television shows before making her film debut in 1998’s “Permanent Midnight.”
She quickly established herself as a rising star, earning critical acclaim for her performances in films such as “Coyote Ugly,” “The Cooler,” and “A History of Violence.”
In this list, we will explore some of the best Maria Bello movies, highlighting her most memorable performances and the films that have made the biggest impact on audiences and critics alike.
Best Maria Bello Movies
Whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering Bello’s work for the first time, these movies are sure to showcase her talents as one of Hollywood’s most respected actresses.
1. Payback (1999)
“Payback” is a 1999 action thriller film directed by Brian Helgeland. The movie stars Mel Gibson in the lead role, with a supporting cast that includes Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, and David Paymer.
Elisabeth Shue does not appear in “Payback,” but the film offers an intense and gritty story with strong performances.
In “Payback,” Mel Gibson plays Porter, a career criminal who is double-crossed by his partner and left for dead. Determined to seek revenge and retrieve his share of the money, Porter embarks on a relentless mission to track down those who wronged him.
The film follows his violent and cunning journey through the criminal underworld as he confronts various adversaries.
While Elisabeth Shue is not in “Payback,” here are a few reasons to watch the film:
Mel Gibson’s Intense Performance: Mel Gibson delivers a gritty and charismatic performance as Porter.
He brings a combination of toughness and wit to the character, making him a compelling and memorable anti-hero. Gibson’s portrayal adds depth and intensity to the film’s action-packed storyline.
Noir-Inspired Atmosphere: “Payback” draws inspiration from classic film noir, infusing the story with a dark and atmospheric tone.
The film features a gritty urban setting, morally ambiguous characters, and a sense of constant danger. This noir-inspired atmosphere adds to the tension and enhances the overall viewing experience.
Engaging Action and Thrills: “Payback” is known for its thrilling action sequences and gritty violence.
The film delivers intense and well-executed action scenes that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From shootouts and car chases to hand-to-hand combat, the film offers a satisfying dose of adrenaline-fueled entertainment.
Overall, “Payback” is an intense and gritty action thriller with a standout performance by Mel Gibson.
While Elisabeth Shue is not involved, the film’s engaging storyline, noir-inspired atmosphere, and thrilling action make it a worthwhile watch for fans of the genre.
2. Coyote Ugly (2000)
“Coyote Ugly” is a romantic comedy-drama film released in 2000. Directed by David McNally, the movie centers around Violet Sanford, played by Piper Perabo, an aspiring songwriter from New Jersey who moves to New York City to pursue her dreams.
While Elisabeth Shue does not appear in the film, I can provide information about it. In “Coyote Ugly,” Violet finds herself working at a popular bar called Coyote Ugly, known for its raucous atmosphere and the attractive female bartenders.
who perform energetic dance routines on the bar. There, she forms friendships with fellow bartenders, including the feisty and confident Cammie (played by Izabella Miko) and the free-spirited Zoe (played by Tyra Banks).
As Violet navigates the challenges of balancing her dreams of becoming a successful songwriter with her job at Coyote Ugly, she also embarks on a romantic journey with Kevin O’Donnell (played by Adam Garcia), an Australian customer who becomes enamored with her.
“Coyote Ugly” combines elements of comedy, romance, and music, showcasing the empowerment and camaraderie among the female bartenders as they pursue their passions.
The film features energetic dance sequences and a soundtrack filled with catchy songs, contributing to its lively and upbeat atmosphere.
While the film received mixed reviews from critics, it achieved commercial success, primarily due to its appealing premise, charismatic performances, and popular soundtrack.
“Coyote Ugly” became a cult classic and is often regarded as an entertaining and feel-good film, particularly appreciated by fans of romantic comedies and music-driven stories.
Please note that while Elisabeth Shue does not appear in “Coyote Ugly,” the film features performances from Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, John Goodman, and other cast members who contribute to the film’s overall charm.
3. The Cooler (2003)
“The Cooler” is a 2003 romantic drama film directed by Wayne Kramer. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays one of the lead roles in the film alongside William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin.
In “The Cooler,” William H. Macy stars as Bernie Lootz, an unlucky and down-on-his-luck man who works as a “cooler” in a Las Vegas casino. His job is to spread bad luck to gamblers on winning streaks.
Maggie Gyllenhaal portrays Natalie, a kind-hearted and optimistic waitress at the casino who forms a romantic connection with Bernie.
As the film progresses, Bernie’s luck begins to change, and he finds himself falling in love with Natalie.
Their relationship faces obstacles and challenges, including the involvement of Shelly Kaplow (played by Alec Baldwin), the ruthless casino boss who disapproves of their relationship.
Maggie Gyllenhaal delivers a heartfelt performance as Natalie, infusing the character with warmth and empathy.
Her portrayal captures Natalie’s resilience and genuine affection for Bernie, adding depth to the romantic storyline.
“The Cooler” was well-received by critics, with particular praise for the performances of the cast, including Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The film explores themes of love, redemption, and the power of human connection in the midst of a gritty and intense Las Vegas backdrop.
Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Natalie showcases her ability to bring authenticity and emotional depth to her characters. Her chemistry with William H. Macy contributes to the film’s romantic core and enhances the overall viewing experience.
“The Cooler” remains a notable entry in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s filmography, highlighting her talent and versatility as an actress. Her performance adds an emotional resonance to the film, making it a compelling and memorable viewing experience.
4. Secret Window (2004)
“Secret Window” is a psychological thriller film released in 2004, directed by David Koepp and based on the novella “Secret Window, Secret Garden” by Stephen King.
The movie stars Johnny Depp as Mort Rainey, a writer who is struggling with writer’s block and going through a difficult divorce.
When a stranger named John Shooter (played by John Turturro) accuses Mort of plagiarizing his work, Mort’s life begins to unravel as he becomes increasingly obsessed with proving his innocence.
The film explores themes of paranoia, identity, and the blurred lines between reality and imagination, as Mort’s mental state deteriorates and he becomes increasingly unsure of what is real and what is not.
The movie features a tense and atmospheric score by Philip Glass and a strong performance by Depp, who conveys Mort’s descent into madness with nuance and skill.
“Secret Window” received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its tension and psychological depth, while others criticized its reliance on cliches and predictable twists.
However, the movie has since gained a cult following and is regarded by many as a solid entry in the psychological thriller genre.
5. Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
“Assault on Precinct 13” is an action thriller film directed by Jean-François Richet and released in 2005. The movie stars Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, and Maria Bello in the lead roles.
The film is a remake of the 1976 film of the same name directed by John Carpenter, and it follows a similar plot.
A group of police officers and prisoners are forced to team up when a vicious gang attacks a police precinct on New Year’s Eve.
As the officers and prisoners fight to survive the night, they must put aside their differences and work together to fend off the attackers and protect themselves and each other.
The film is noted for its intense action sequences, strong performances, and gritty, atmospheric style.
While the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it remains a popular example of the action thriller genre and a tribute to the original film directed by John Carpenter.
6. The Dark (2005)
“The Dark” released in 2005 that prominently features Maggie Gyllenhaal. Maggie Gyllenhaal has had a prolific career, but this particular film does not match her filmography.
If you have any other movies or topics you’d like to discuss or explore, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to assist you.
7. A History of Violence (2005)
“A History of Violence” is a thriller film directed by David Cronenberg and released in 2005. The film stars Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a small-town family man who becomes a local hero after he thwarts a robbery attempt at his diner.
However, his newfound fame attracts the attention of some dangerous men from his past, and he is forced to confront the violent history he has tried to leave behind.
Maria Bello plays Tom’s wife, Edie, who must come to terms with the fact that the man she thought she knew may not be who he seems. The film explores themes of identity, violence, and the consequences of one’s actions.
Bello’s performance in “A History of Violence” was widely praised by critics, who noted her nuanced portrayal of a woman struggling to reconcile her love for her husband with her growing sense of unease about his past.
The film itself was also highly regarded, earning multiple award nominations and cementing Cronenberg’s reputation as a master of psychological thrillers.
Overall, “A History of Violence” is a gripping and thought-provoking film that showcases Bello’s talents as an actress and her ability to convey complex emotions with subtlety and depth.
8. World Trade Center (2006)
“World Trade Center” is a 2006 drama film directed by Oliver Stone.
The movie tells the true story of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and focuses on the experiences of two Port Authority Police Department officers, John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, who were trapped in the rubble of the collapsed towers.
While Elisabeth Shue is not part of the cast, “World Trade Center” offers a poignant and powerful depiction of the events and their impact.
In “World Trade Center,” John McLoughlin is portrayed by Nicolas Cage, and William J. Jimeno is played by Michael Peña.
The film follows their harrowing ordeal as they struggle to survive beneath the rubble while their families anxiously await news.
It also explores the heroic efforts of the first responders and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of tragedy.
While Elisabeth Shue is not in “World Trade Center,” here are a few reasons to watch the film:
Realistic and Emotionally Charged Storytelling: “World Trade Center” offers a realistic and emotionally charged portrayal of the events of September 11, 2001.
The film captures the terror, confusion, and humanity of the situation, honoring the courage and sacrifices made by individuals during that time.
It serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
Stellar Performances: Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña deliver powerful performances as John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, respectively.
They bring depth and authenticity to their characters, capturing the physical and emotional struggles faced by the trapped officers.
The performances of the supporting cast, including Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal as the officers’ wives, also contribute to the film’s emotional impact.
Tribute to First Responders and Survivors: “World Trade Center” pays tribute to the first responders and the survivors of the attacks.
The film showcases the bravery, selflessness, and dedication of the rescue workers who risked their lives to save others.
It also highlights the resilience and strength of the survivors and their families, offering a sense of hope amidst the devastation.
Overall, “World Trade Center” is a powerful and emotionally charged film that depicts the events of September 11, 2001, through the experiences of two trapped police officers.
While Elisabeth Shue is not involved, the film’s realistic storytelling, stellar performances, and tribute to the first responders and survivors make it a compelling and impactful watch.
9. The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
“The Jane Austen Book Club” is a romantic drama film released in 2007. Directed by Robin Swicord, the movie is based on the novel of the same name by Karen Joy Fowler.
While Elisabeth Shue did not have a role in the film, I can provide information about it.
“The Jane Austen Book Club” tells the story of six Californians who form a book club to discuss the works of renowned author Jane Austen.
Each member of the club brings their own personal experiences and relationship struggles, which parallel the themes and characters found in Austen’s novels.
The group includes Bernadette (played by Kathy Baker), Jocelyn (played by Maria Bello), Sylvia (played by Amy Brenneman), Prudie (played by Emily Blunt), Grigg (played by Hugh Dancy), and Allegra (played by Maggie Grace).
As they delve into Austen’s novels, their discussions spark personal insights and newfound connections.
The film explores themes of love, friendship, and self-discovery through the lens of Austen’s timeless works. It delves into the characters’ romantic entanglements, marital issues, and the search for happiness and fulfillment.
“The Jane Austen Book Club” received mixed to positive reviews from critics. While it may not have achieved significant commercial success, it found an audience among fans of Austen’s novels and those who appreciate heartfelt stories about relationships and personal growth.
The film’s ensemble cast delivers strong performances, capturing the complexities and nuances of their respective characters.
The adaptation successfully weaves together the themes and narrative threads from Austen’s works with the contemporary lives of the book club members.
Overall, “The Jane Austen Book Club” offers a charming and heartfelt exploration of love and relationships, highlighting the enduring appeal of Jane Austen’s novels and their ability to resonate with audiences across different generations.
10. Grown Ups (2010)
“Grown Ups” is a 2010 comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. Although it does not feature Maggie Gyllenhaal, the film boasts a star-studded ensemble cast including Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider.
In “Grown Ups,” the story revolves around a group of childhood friends who reunite after many years to pay tribute to their late basketball coach.
The friends, now adults, gather with their families for a Fourth of July weekend at a lakeside house.
The film follows their humorous and often absurd misadventures as they reconnect, reminisce about the past, and navigate the challenges of adulthood.
While Maggie Gyllenhaal is not part of the main cast, the film features other talented actors and actresses who contribute to the comedy and camaraderie on screen.
The chemistry between the cast members and their comedic timing creates a lighthearted and entertaining atmosphere throughout the movie.
“Grown Ups” received mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial success, appealing to audiences with its humor and relatable themes of friendship and family.
Although Maggie Gyllenhaal is not in the film, her absence is filled by the comedic talents of the main cast, who bring their own unique styles to the story.
If you’re interested in exploring Maggie Gyllenhaal’s filmography, I would be happy to provide information and recommendations about some of her notable and standout performances in other movies.
3 Reasons To Watch Maria Bello Movies
There are several reasons why watching movies featuring Maria Bello is a great choice. Here are three compelling reasons:
Versatile Acting: Maria Bello is known for her versatility as an actress. She has showcased her talent across various genres, including drama, thriller, comedy, and action.
Her ability to immerse herself in diverse roles and deliver authentic performances is commendable.
Whether she’s portraying complex characters in intense dramas or bringing a touch of humor to a comedic role, Bello consistently brings depth and authenticity to her performances.
Emotional Depth: Bello has a remarkable ability to convey deep emotions on screen. She can tap into the complexities of human experiences and bring a rawness to her characters’ emotions.
Whether it’s portraying vulnerability, strength, grief, or joy, Bello’s performances often resonate with audiences and leave a lasting impact. Her ability to evoke empathy and connect with viewers on an emotional level is a testament to her talent as an actress.
Compelling Characters: Maria Bello has portrayed a wide range of memorable characters throughout her career. From strong and determined women to vulnerable and complex individuals, her characters often have depth and layers that make them captivating to watch.
Bello’s filmography includes a mix of lead roles and supporting roles, allowing her to bring her unique charisma and talent to a diverse array of characters.
Whether it’s a troubled detective, a supportive friend, or a resilient survivor, Bello’s characters often leave a lasting impression.
In summary, watching movies featuring Maria Bello offers an opportunity to witness the versatility of her acting skills, experience the emotional depth she brings to her roles, and engage with compelling and memorable characters.
Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or thrillers, Bello’s filmography provides a wealth of performances to enjoy.
Best Maria Bello Movies – Wrap Up
Maria Bello is a talented and versatile actress known for her compelling performances across a wide range of genres.
With her strong on-screen presence and ability to bring depth and authenticity to her characters, Bello has established herself as a respected and accomplished actress in both film and television.
Throughout her career, Maria Bello has delivered memorable performances in various films, showcasing her range and versatility as an actress.
From powerful dramas to thrilling crime stories and heartfelt comedies, Bello has consistently captivated audiences with her performances.
Some of the best Maria Bello movies include:
“A History of Violence” (2005) – In this David Cronenberg-directed thriller, Bello plays the wife of a small-town diner owner whose life is upended when her husband’s past comes back to haunt him.
“The Cooler” (2003) – Bello stars alongside William H. Macy in this romantic drama about a casino “cooler” who falls in love with a waitress, played by Bello, against the backdrop of Las Vegas.
“The Jane Austen Book Club” (2007) – Bello is part of an ensemble cast in this comedy-drama about a group of women who form a book club and find their own lives mirroring the themes of Jane Austen’s novels.
“A History of Violence” (2005) – In this David Cronenberg-directed thriller, Bello plays the wife of a small-town diner owner whose life is upended when her husband’s past comes back to haunt him.
“Prisoners” (2013) – Bello portrays the wife of Hugh Jackman’s character in this intense crime drama about a father’s desperate search for his missing daughter.
These are just a few examples of the best Maria Bello movies, showcasing her talent and range as an actress.
Whether in dramatic or comedic roles, Bello consistently delivers powerful performances that leave a lasting impact on audiences.
As Maria Bello continues to take on new projects, her filmography will undoubtedly continue to grow, offering more opportunities to witness her exceptional acting abilities.