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Every Saoirse Ronan Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

Warning! This article contains spoilers for See How They Run.Here’s every Saoirse Ronan movie ranked worst to best, including See How They Run. The American-born Irish actress made her acting debut in The Clinic, an Irish medical drama. Her first film role was in I Could Never Be Your Woman, a romantic comedy directed by Amy Heckerling that was filmed in 2005 but not released until 2007. Ronan’s career breakthrough came in 2007 with Joe Wright’s romantic period drama Atonement, an adaptation of the 2001 novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. Her role as a precocious teen and aspiring writer Briony Tallis brought her critical acclaim, including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. This made Ronan, who was 13 at the time, not only a first-time Oscar nominee but also one of the youngest actresses nominated in that category for her role in the Joe Wright movie.

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Saoirse Ronan has enjoyed a long and fruitful career since then, working with noted directors such as Wes Anderson and Greta Gerwig. Ronan is notable for her work in period films, but she’s also very versatile as an actress, appearing in comedies, action thrillers, sci-fi movies, and fantasy films. Since Atonement, Saoirse Ronan has received an impressive three additional Oscar nominations, all in Best Actress, for her work in Brooklyn, Lady Bird, and Little Women. She’s also flexed her comedic chops as a Saturday Night Live host in 2017 and has gained acclaim for her work on stage as Abigail Williams in The Crucible and Lady Macbeth in The Tragedy of Macbeth. Regardless of the medium, Saoirse Ronan manages to shine and has secured a reputation as one of the best actresses working today.

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Now with her latest film, See How They Run, with its impressive cast in theaters, it’s time to take a look at Saoirse’s vast filmography and see how her films compare to each other. This will only deal with films where she has a significant role, so movies like Muppets Most Wanted (where she only makes a cameo) and Weepah Way For Now (where she only serves as a narrator) are not counted.


27. The Host

The Host is an adaptation of the 2008 Stephenie Meyer sci-fi book of the same name. In the world of The Host, the human race has been taken over by parasitic aliens called “Souls.” Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) is captured and infused with a Soul called “Wanderer.” However, Melanie isn’t willing to give up her autonomy, and she and Wanderer end up fighting for control of her body.

The Host takes a fascinating sci-fi premise and turns it into a boring and melodramatic young adult movie. The backstory behind the “Souls” and the details of the world after the alien takeover isn’t delved into, robbing the story of necessary worldbuilding. The performances aren’t very compelling either, though a lot of that is due to Andrew Niccol’s weak script. The romantic relationships in The Host are underwhelming, and Saoirse Ronan doesn’t seem to have much chemistry with either Max Irons or Jake Abel. However, Ronan does her best with what she’s given, trying to bring life into her dual role as Melanie and Wanderer. Diane Kruger is also decent as Seeker, the antagonist determined to make sure every human is inhabited by a “Soul.” Overall, The Host is a slog to get through and fails to impress compared to other young adult film fare.

26. Justin And The Knights Of Valour

The animated film focuses on Justin (The Good Doctor‘s Freddie Highmore), a teen who dreams of being a knight like his grandfather, Sir Roland. However, his stern father, Reginald (Alfred Molina), is not supportive and wants Justin to be a lawyer instead. When his grandfather’s sword goes missing, Justin is determined to train to be a knight and go on a quest to retrieve it.

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Justin And The Knights Of Valour promises a tale of adventure, but the end result is quite dull. The story isn’t very engaging, and the dialogue is quite clunky, with a few jokes that don’t land. Justin And The Knights Of Valour boasts a talented voice cast, including Antonio Banderas and Charles Dance. However, they’re given subpar material to work with compared to other fantasy films, such as the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, that balance comedy with emotional depth. The most interesting character is Saoirse Ronan’s Talia, a teenage barmaid who’s adept at fighting and has a quick wit. Though some of her dialogue is a tad cringeworthy, Ronan still infuses the character with plenty of charisma and charm. Saoirse Ronan does her best in this lackluster fantasy tale.

25. Violet & Daisy

Violet & Daisy follows the hardened Violet (Alexis Bledel in a post-Gilmore Girls role) and sweet but airheaded Daisy (Saoirse Ronan), a pair of young assassins who take down New York City criminal figures. Needing money to buy the newest dress designed by their favorite pop star, Barbie Sunday, the duo accepts a job to kill an unnamed loner (James Gandolfini) who stole from Donnie, a rival crime boss. Violet and Daisy think the job will be easy until they make the mistake of getting to know their target.

Director Geoffrey Fletcher was a poor attempt at being influenced by the Quentin Tarantino effect, but the film ends up being an imitation that tries too hard to be quirky and edgy. Violet & Daisy is made watchable thanks to the efforts of its central trio; the late Gandolfini gives a quietly great performance, and Bledel and Ronan do have scenes where they get to shine. Violet & Daisy has a premise with potential but unfortunately falls flat.

24. Stockholm, Pennsylvania

Stockholm, Pennsylvania focuses on Leanne Dargon (Saoirse Ronan), who was kidnapped as a 4-year-old by Ben McKay (Jason Isaacs) and renamed Leia. After 17 years, Leia is reunited with her biological parents, Marcy (Cynthia Nixon) and Glen (David Warshofsky). However, Leia is suffering from Stockholm syndrome and considers her captor her true parent, while her biological parents are strangers to her.

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Like the Brie Larson movie Room, another 2015 drama, Stockholm, Pennsylvania chronicles an abduction victim’s adjustment to “normal” life. However, this film doesn’t broach the topic with nearly as much depth or sensitivity. The first half of Stockholm, Pennsylvania does delve into some interesting psychological drama, but the second half devolves into something bizarre, with an out-of-left-field villainous transformation from Marcy and an ambiguous ending that’s truly unsettling. Saoirse Ronan is good as a young adult suffering from Stockholm syndrome and trying to process her new life outside of captivity, and holds her own against Cynthia Nixon, but even she can’t elevate this tonally inconsistent film.

23. Death Defying Acts

Set in 1926, Death Defying Acts focuses on Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a Scottish con artist, and her daughter, Benji (Saoirse Ronan). When illusionist Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) offers $10,000 to anyone who can quote his deceased mother’s last words to him, Mary and Benji set their sights on the reward and begin growing closer to the notably private man.

The premise has hints of intrigue but Death Defying Acts is largely dull. The romance between Mary and Houdini underwhelms with its lack of chemistry and seems needlessly shoehorned into the film. However, Death Defying Acts isn’t without its bright spots. Saoirse Ronan gives another charming performance as a precocious young character, and Timothy Spall is intriguing as Houdini’s gruff yet protective manager.

22. Lost River

Lost River, Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, focuses on a teen boy named Bones (Iain De Caestecker) and his single mother, Billy (Mad Men cast member Christina Hendricks) as they struggle to make ends meet in the crumbling town of Lost River. Bones dreams of leaving the town, though his mom is attached to the place she grew up in. While Bones discovers a secret underwater town, Billy’s new job introduces her to a seedy criminal underworld.

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Gosling’s film certainly has potential. The unsettling dark fantasy atmosphere is intriguing and there are some eye-catching visual touches. However, Lost River doesn’t quite live up to its potential. There are some solid performances here; Christina Hendricks brings a determined strength to Billy, Matt Smith’s villain Bully is convincingly menacing, and Saoirse Ronan is captivating as Rat, a withdrawn teen who cares deeply for her grandma. Lost River may be an uneven film with more style than substance, but despite the lackluster script, the cast makes this film watchable.

21. I Could Never Be Your Woman

Saoirse Ronan’s film debut in this rom-com/showbiz satire focused on Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer), a scriptwriter and producer for the teen show You Go Girl as well as a divorced single mother who is quite close to her 13-year-old daughter Izzie (Saoirse Ronan). After her boss Marty (Fred Willard) decides that the show can no longer cover controversial subjects, Rosie decides to cast a new character. She’s charmed by Adam (Paul Rudd, who played Josh in Clueless, Amy Heckerling’s hit 90s teen comedy), a natural comedian, and starts to fall for him despite the age difference between them. Meanwhile, Izzie deals with her own struggles, especially her crush on classmate Dylan (Rory Copus). According to director Amy Heckerling (via EW), the film is inspired by her own experiences as a single mother raising a daughter while making the Clueless TV show.

I Could Never Be Your Woman has some great casting but its story and script don’t quite land. There are definitely some unfunny lines and a few dated jokes, especially since the film experienced release date delays. Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd are both charming in the 2000s romantic comedy, but their relationship doesn’t have the depth and chemistry to truly be compelling. It’s nice to see a mini Clueless reunion with the casting of Stacey Dash as Brianna, the self-centered star of You Go Girl, but her character and performance fall flat. The idea of a showbiz satire mixed with a rom-com is fun, but the message comes across a bit heavy-handed here, especially with the bizarre inclusion of Mother Nature (Tracey Ullman) as someone Rosie has inner conversations with. The highlight of I Could Never Be Your Woman is Saoirse Ronan; in her first role, she already displays great comedic timing and is a winsome young actress.

20. Ammonite

Ammonite is a British period drama and speculative romance loosely based on the life of 19th-century paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet). Mary spends her days running a seaside shop where she sells fossils. She is asked to take care of geologist Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) during her convalescence from melancholia while her husband, Roderick (James McArdle), spends six weeks in Europe. Though Mary is reluctant to accept this new visitor at first, the two women soon develop an intense relationship.

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Despite the picturesque coastal England setting, Ammonite is a film without much life to it. The color scheme for the movie is quite drab, and the pacing inches along, with the story not truly starting until about 9 minutes in. Saoirse Ronan and Titanic‘s Kate Winslet are both formidable actresses, but they’re unable to light up the screen due to a lack of chemistry. Some of this could be based on the script and Francis Lee’s direction; there are often notable stretches without dialogue, and the character interactions between Mary and Charlotte come across as cold before the two women suddenly become intimate. The highlight of Ammonite is Fiona Shaw as Mary’s former lover, Elizabeth Philipot. She is a warm and delightful presence despite only being in a couple of scenes. Despite the talented cast, Ammonite fails to deliver a truly compelling period romance.

19. On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach is an adaptation of a 2007 novella by Ian McEwan, who also wrote the film’s screenplay. The story, set in 1962, focuses on a young newlywed couple. Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle, who played Edward, Prince of Wales in the Netflix movie Outlaw King), who spend their honeymoon on Chesil Beach in Dorset, England. The couple, both virgins, attempt to have sex for the first time on their wedding night.

On Chesil Beach had the chance to take its premise and examine the sexually repressed culture of early 1960s Britain, but it doesn’t take advantage of this opportunity. Florence’s backstory regarding her aversion to sex is alluded to, but the film would’ve been improved if there was an actual discussion between Edward and Florence about the topic. Instead, their disastrous attempt at sex leads to Edward shaming Florence for not desiring sex, and then two flash-forwards: one in 1975 where Florence has given up her aversion to sexual activity with no explanation, and another reminiscent of the “one that got away” ending to the Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone movie La La Land, set in 2007 and featuring Ronan and Howle in terrible old-age makeup. There are elements of On Chesil Beach that work; Saoirse Ronan puts on a decent performance, and while some flashback scenes feel superfluous, there are some scenes that feel impactful. In the end, On Chesil Beach is largely mediocre, with an uncomfortable climax and unsatisfying time jumps.

18. The Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey

Written and directed by Bill Clark, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is an adaptation of the 1995 book of the same name, written by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by P. J. Lynch. The movie focuses on 10-year-old Thomas McDowell (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and his mother Susan (Joely Richardson), who relocate to a rural town after the death of Thomas’ father, James (Elliot Cowan), in the First World War. When Thomas loses the wooden nativity set given to him by his father, Susan convinces grumpy and reclusive woodcutter Jonathan Toomey (the Sniper franchise’s Tom Berenger) to carve a replacement.

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Joely Richardson gives a decent performance as a widowed mother trying her best, and Tom Berenger is great as the closed-off Toomey who slowly warms to Susan and her son. Among the child cast, Saoirse Ronan is a standout performance as Celia Hardwick, a spunky young girl who befriends Thomas. Her performance is so delightful, and it’s a shame she isn’t in the movie more. Though The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey does have its cheesy moments, it’s ultimately a fine holiday movie.

17. City Of Ember

City of Ember, which is due for a sequel, is adapted from the 2003 post-apocalyptic novel The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. The titular city is constructed to shelter survivors from an unspecified global catastrophe. However, one day Ember’s generator starts to fail, and necessities like food are now in short supply. When the graduating students of Ember City School randomly choose their future career paths, friends Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway) decide to swap job assignments. Lina and Doon discover a mysterious box that could hold the key to escaping the city and finally seeing the outside world.

City of Ember is a YA dystopian sci-fi adaptation that’s visually interesting and has a compelling premise. The pace does move a bit slow at times, and it would’ve been nice to learn more backstory about Ember and its characters, but City of Ember still makes for an entertaining watch. It helps that Ronan and Treadaway are capable young performers who make it easy to root for them. It’s a shame that City of Ember failed at the box office because a film series based on this world would have been fascinating.

16. How I Live Now

How I Live Now is based on a 2004 novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff. The film focuses on Daisy (Saoirse Ronan), an American teenager sent to spend a summer in the English countryside with her cousins Eddie (Peter Pan actor George MacKay), Isaac (Tom Holland), Piper (Harley Bird), and Aunt Penn (Anna Chancellor). However, Daisy’s summer vacation is interrupted when nuclear war breaks out in Europe.

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The big elephant in the room is the romance between Daisy and Eddie. If the scriptwriter had simply changed Eddie to be a neighbor or farmhand unrelated to Daisy, their budding romance wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable. As it stands, it’s difficult to root for this relationship. However, Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay themselves give solid performances. Ronan’s sullen teen Daisy is rather unlikable at first, but once she lets her walls down and warms up to her cousins, her performance truly becomes enjoyable. George MacKay is a quiet yet strong presence as George, and Tom Holland is adorable and charming as Isaac. This film is also fascinating because it doesn’t shy away from the brutalities of war (similarly to the story of 1917, another George MacKay film) and how it can tear families apart. It’s interesting to see the idyllic English countryside turn into a war-torn battlefield. Though some moments don’t quite land, How I Live Now is decently enjoyable apocalyptic fare.

15. The Seagull

The Seagull is an adaptation of the 1896 Anton Chekhov play, focusing on a cast of characters in early 1900s Russia. Actress Irina Arkadina (Annette Bening) brings her lover, the successful author Boris Trigorin (Corey Stoll), on a visit to the summer estate of her brother, Pjotr Nikolayevich Sorin (Brian Dennehy). When the young actress Nina Zarechnaya (Saoirse Ronan) falls in love with Boris despite being in a relationship with Irina’s son, aspiring playwright Konstantin Trepylov (Billy Howle), a series of romantic entanglements ensues.

The cast is adept; Saoirse Ronan intrigues as the idealistic and fame-seeking Nina, Annette Bening captivates as the vain and selfish Irina, and The Invisible Man‘s Elisabeth Moss gives an especially great performance as Masha, a depressed spinster who harbors an unrequited love for Konstantin. However, despite the star-studded cast, the film doesn’t dazzle. The Seagull is visually uninteresting, except for its reliance on close-ups, though they aren’t always emotionally effective. Perhaps this might be a story that’s best told on the stage.

14. Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots is based on Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart, a biography written by British historian John Guy. The historical drama focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots (Saoirse Ronan) and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). In Mary Queen of Scots‘ true story, Mary Stuart returns to Scotland after the death of her husband, Francis II of France, to claim her right to the throne. This is a threat to the reign of Elizabeth I, and political intrigue, betrayal, and scheming ensue as both women must make difficult life choices in a bid for the crown.

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Though they’re separated for most of the film, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are in fine form here, both portraying strong, determined queens trying to pave their own way in a patriarchal society that seeks to control their every move. However, Ronan is especially a standout as Mary, playing her with a fiery determination but also not afraid to let her be softer and more vulnerable at times. When Elizabeth and Mary finally meet in the climactic scene of the Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie movie, it’s fascinating to watch both actresses on screen together after over an hour of buildup. The political intrigue and scheming on both sides can be interesting to watch, and Jack Lowden is very charismatic as Lord Darnley, Mary’s second husband. Though Mary Queen of Scots can drag at points, it’s still a decently entertaining film.

13. The Way Back

The Way Back is inspired by The Long Walk (1956), a memoir by Sławomir Rawicz, a former Polish prisoner of war who claimed to have escaped from a Soviet Gulag in World War II and walked 4,000 miles (6,400 km) to freedom. Directed by Peter Weir, who’s also known for the first Master and Commander movie, the film follows Janusz Wieszczek (Jim Sturgess), a young Polish army officer who is sentenced to 20 years in a Siberian Gulag labor camp. He soon plans an escape with a few other prisoners: American engineer Mr. Smith (Ed Harris); Russian criminal and avid Stalin supporter Valka (Colin Farrell); Tomasz (Alexandru Potocean), a Polish baker who dreams of being an artist; Kazik (Sebastian Urzendowsky), a Polish man who suffers from night blindness; Zoran (Dragoș Bucur), an architect from Yugoslavia, and Voss (Gustaf Skarsgård), a Latvian priest. Along the way, they encounter young Polish orphan Irena Zielińska (Saoirse Ronan), and the group must brave the elements in their trek to freedom.

The Way Back is a harrowing yet inspiring survival tale. Cloud Atlas actor Jim Sturgess has a strong leading performance here as the admirably determined Janusz. Though the other men aren’t fully fleshed-out characters, the talented ensemble still manages to make them interesting. Saoirse Ronan is also a standout; she brings a quiet strength to her role as Irena, a girl who’s survived tragic loss. Though it’s not the most exciting movie, The Way Back is a compelling tale shot in some incredible outdoor locations.

12. The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones is an adaptation of the 2002 Alice Sebold novel of the same name. Set in Norristown, Pennsylvania in 1973, the film focuses on the abduction, rape, and murder of 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) by her neighbor, serial killer George Harvey (Stanley Tucci, in a departure from his roles in the Hunger Games movies). Susie refuses to move on from what happened to her and pass on to the afterlife, especially when she sees how her death has deeply affected her family.

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Saoirse Ronan’s performance is superb; she masterfully transforms from a carefree teenage girl to someone who’s been haunted by a horrific incident that cut her life short. Mark Wahlberg is great as Susie’s father Jack, a man who is shaken by his daughter’s murder and will do anything to find the person responsible. Rachel Weisz is also solid as mom Abigail, Rose McIver does a fine job as younger sister Lindsey, and Stanley Tucci is terrifying and creepy as Harvey. Though some of her scenes are tonally jarring, Susan Sarandon is a delight as Grandma Lynn. The Peter Jackson movie does falter in its kitschy CGI depiction of Heaven, and AJ Michalka, who plays Susie’s best friend Clarissa, unfortunately, doesn’t get much screen time. Despite these faults, The Lovely Bones is a compelling watch.

11. Byzantium

Byzantium is another vampire tale from Interview with the Vampire director Neil Jordan. Clara Webb (Gemma Arterton) and her daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) are 200-year-old vampires who go on the run after Clara kills Werner (Thure Lindhardt), a member of the vampire Brethren. The duo ends up in a seaside town and takes shelter in the guesthouse of lonely Noel (Daniel Mays). However, Clara and Eleanor’s arrival in town soon leads to mayhem for its residents.

Byzantium is a chilling yet fascinating take on vampire movies after the Twilight saga’s popularity. Gemma Arterton brings a great volatile yet caring energy as Clara, while Saoirse Ronan is excellent as Eleanor, who is quiet but harbors a great sadness. The two characters have a wonderfully complex mother-daughter dynamic. Byzantium also features an interesting version of the typical vampire-human romance through Eleanor’s relationship with Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a young man who’s dying of leukemia. There are flashbacks sprinkled throughout the film that explain Clara and Eleanor’s story, but rather than feeling forced, they are well-shot and impactful. However, the flashbacks are the source of a downside of the film: the amount of sexual violence towards women. It’s fine for Clara and Eleanor to have a tragic history, but some scenes seemed a bit much. Still, Byzantium is a finely-crafted tale featuring beautifully complex characters.

10. The French Dispatch

Saoirse Ronan reunites with Wes Anderson in this ensemble film. The French Dispatch, loosely inspired by real life, focuses on the French bureau of the fictional Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun newspaper as it publishes its final issue after editor Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray) dies. The film follows three different storylines: one about an incarcerated painter, one inspired by the May ‘68 protests held by French students, and one about a police commissioner’s son’s kidnapping.

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The anthology of segments is very entertaining, with credit due to the all-star cast Wes Anderson has assembled, including Tilda Swinton, Benicio del Toro, Jeremy Wright, Timothée

Chalamet, and Frances McDormand. Chalamet and McDormand are especially compelling to watch in “Revisions to a Manifesto,” where his passionate student activist strikes up a brief relationship with her curious journalist. Saoirse Ronan only has a brief role in The French Dispatch as Junkie/Showgirl #1, a member of a kidnapping gang who holds Gigi (Winston Ait Hellal), the precocious young son of The Commissaire (Mathieu Amalric) for ransom. However, Ronan still shines and gets to show off her lovely singing voice when performing a lullaby for Gigi. The French Dispatch is witty, charming, and quite aesthetically pleasing with its cinematography and set design.

9. See How They Run

This murder mystery comedy, set in 1953 London, is centered on the murder of Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody), the American director of an upcoming film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap. Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan), an excitable but inexperienced officer, and the weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) must work together to investigate the case. The two must navigate the glamorous yet scandalous theater world and find out who doesn’t want the Agatha Christie adaptation to go on.

A big reason why See How They Run works is because of its talented cast. Saoirse Ronan has great comedic chops as Stalker, an eager young officer who is a massive film buff and plays off Sam Rockwell’s entertainingly disheveled Stoppard well. Adrien Brody is great fun as the snarky and sleazy Leo Köpernick, shining despite his limited screen time. David Oyelowo is fantastic as the pretentious and stuffy playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris. However, the most pleasant surprise was Shirley Henderson’s cameo as author Agatha Christie, especially since she gets to strike the final blow that kills the murderer, usher Dennis (Charlie Cooper). See How They Run is a whodunit with plenty of entertaining twists and turns, fun theater and film references, and sharp, witty dialogue that lightly pokes fun at conventions of the whodunit genre while also gladly leaning into them.

8. Hanna

Raised in the northern Finland wilderness by her ex-CIA operative father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), 16-year-old Hanna has been trained as an assassin, so she can one day kill senior CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett). Hanna decides she’s “ready” to face their enemies and goes on a mission across Europe while evading Marissa’s agents. Along the way, Hanna starts to question her humanity when she finds out shocking secrets about her existence.

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The film, directed by Joe Wright, is an exciting entry in the revenge thriller genre. Hanna has thrilling, well-choreographed action scenes, but it’s also more than just an action film. It’s also a coming-of-age story that feels like a dark fairytale from the Brothers Grimm (though not quite as dark a fairytale as Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth). Saoirse Ronan is perfect as Hanna, who has plenty of humanity despite being a trained assassin. Cate Blanchett is incredible as the ruthless Marissa, and Eric Bana does a fine job as Hanna’s father. Jessica Barden’s Sophie, a confident teen who befriends Hanna while on a family vacation, steals the show whenever she’s on-screen. Hanna is also elevated by its music, a funky soundtrack from electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers. Hanna is a compelling watch with a simple yet engaging story.

7. Arrietty

Arrietty (known as The Secret World of Arrietty in North America) is a Studio Ghibli film based on The Borrowers, a 1952 novel by English author Mary Norton. It tells the story of Arrietty (Saoirse Ronan), a 14-year-old girl in a family of Borrowers, tiny people who secretly live in a house and have to borrow items from humans in order to survive. Though Arrietty has been told by her parents that humans are dangerous, she ends up befriending Shō (Tom Holland), a young boy who’s staying with his great-aunt Sadako (Phyllida Law) and housekeeper Haru (Geraldine McEwan).

The StudioCanal English dub of Arrietty boasts a talented cast of UK actors. Saoirse Ronan does a wonderful job voicing Arrietty, but credit also goes to the great performance from Secret Invasion‘s Olivia Colman as Arrietty’s nervous and protective mother, Homily, and Mark Strong as Pod, Arrietty’s quiet father. The film is beautifully animated and features an excellent soundtrack composed by Cécile Corbel that blends different genres, including Celtic folk music and medieval Turkish songs. Arrietty is a very endearing and delightful film that also tugs at the heartstrings.

6. Atonement

Saoirse Ronan’s breakout performance was in this film, and it’s easy to see why. Set in 1935 London and spanning 60 years, Atonement chronicles the fallout that occurs after Briony Tallis (Ronan) falsely accuses Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), the housekeeper’s son and romantic interest of her older sister, Cecilia (Keira Knightley), of sexually assaulting her cousin Lola (Juno Temple). The lie tears apart the young couple, though their paths cross again during World War II.

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Keira Knightley and Scottish actor James McAvoy deliver excellent performances and have amazing chemistry together, making them a young couple to root for. Saoirse Ronan gives an incredible performance that’s captivating and maddening all at the same time. Daria Marianelli’s score is quite beautiful and Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography is also stunning, adding to the incredible atmosphere. Atonement is a movie that’s gorgeous and heartbreaking all at once.

5. Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent is an animated biopic about the life of Vincent van Gogh. Set in 1891, a year after the artist’s death, the film follows a young man named Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), who is asked by his father, postman Joseph Roulin (Chris O’Dowd), to deliver van Gogh’s final letter. In the process, Armand investigates van Gogh’s final days and the mysterious circumstances of his death.

Written and directed by fellow painter Dorota Kobiela, Loving Vincent is a creative take on the biographical drama The Oscar-nominated animated film was hand-animated by a team of over 100 artists using van Gogh’s oil on canvas technique with character designs based on his paintings, turning the film into a work of art. The script and performances are also wonderful; framing the story like a noir detective plot was a fascinating choice, and Douglas Booth is fantastic as Armand, who starts off as someone lazy and uncaring but has a compelling character journey. She’s only in a few scenes, but Saoirse Ronan is fabulous as Marguerite Gachet, the daughter of van Gogh’s doctor and friend, Paul Gachet (Jerome Flynn). Ronan brings so much emotional depth to this character who clearly cared for van Gogh very much. Loving Vincent is a lovely film with beautiful layers to it.

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s movie The Grand Budapest Hotel is the first collaboration between Saoirse Ronan and the prolific director. The film is set in a mountainside resort in the fictional Eastern European country of Zubrowka in 1932. When hotel concierge Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) is framed for the murder of wealthy dowager Madame D (Tilda Swinton), he and newly-hired lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) embark on an adventure that includes stealing a priceless Renaissance painting bequeathed to Gustave.

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The cast is excellent; Ralph Fiennes is hilarious as the hotel’s sophisticated and meticulous concierge, Tony Revolori gives an understated but still entertaining performance, and Adrien Brody is excellent as Madame D’s calculating son, Dmitri. Saoirse Ronan is quite charming as Zero’s girlfriend Agatha, a pastry chef. The Grand Budapest Hotel also has many qualities of Wes Anderson’s iconic visual style, including a beautiful color scheme. With a sharp and witty script and Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful, Russian-folk-inspired soundtrack, The Grand Budapest Hotel is an absolute treat.

3. Brooklyn

Brooklyn is a romantic period drama based on Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel of the same name. Set in the early 1950s, Brooklyn follows Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to New York City in order to find work. Though she experiences great homesickness, Eilis manages to make a life for herself in Brooklyn and starts a romance with Tony (Emory Cohen, from the Ryan Gosling movie The Place Beyond the Pines), a good-natured Italian-American plumber. However, when tragedy strikes and Eilis must return home, she finds herself torn between two worlds.

Brooklyn is a beautiful tale that is richly told. Saoirse Ronan gives a brilliant performance as Eilis, divided between a new life in America and a familiar life in Ireland. Emory Cohen is very endearing as Tony; the romance between his character and Eilis is sweet and captivating. Brooklyn is a wonderful period drama that tugs at the heartstrings without being too cloying or sappy, not only because of the talented performances but also due to Nick Hornby’s excellent script and John Crowley’s great direction.

2. Lady Bird

Barbie director Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut is set in Sacramento, California in 2002. Lady Bird focuses on Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), a 17-year-old girl, as she goes through her senior year at an all-girls Catholic high school. Meanwhile, Lady Bird also navigates a complicated relationship with her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf).

Related: Greta Gerwig’s Favorite Movies (& How Each One Influenced Her Work)

Lady Bird is filled with excellent acting. Saoirse Ronan really shines here, giving a performance that’s simultaneously hilarious and heartfelt. Laurie Metcalf is superb as Marion, who is frustrated by Lady Bird but loves her anyway. Beanie Feldstein is charming as Julie, Lady Bird’s best friend. Lucas Hedges is endearing as theater kid Danny and Timothée Chalamet gives an entertaining performance as the pretentious and popular Kyle. Lady Bird does a wonderful job exploring the dynamic between Lady Bird and Marion, as well as her friendship with Julie and the general highs and lows of being a teenage girl. It’s a great comedy with a lot of heart and emotional depth.

1. Little Women

Saoirse Ronan’s best film is this adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1868 novel of the same name. The story focuses on the March sisters, Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Beth (Eliza Scanlen), and Amy (Florence Pugh), as they grow up in 1860s Concord, Massachusetts. This film marks the second collaboration between Saoirse Ronan and writer/director Greta Gerwig.

There have been previous adaptations of Little Women, but Greta Gerwig sets herself apart from the pack with her take on the tale. Gerwig’s decision to tell the story in nonlinear order was a fun choice, creating parallels between the March sisters’ youth and adult lives and making good use of color palettes: warmer tones for the lively younger years, and cooler tones once the sisters enter adulthood. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women script is well-written, filled with plenty of hard-hitting emotional moments but also a good amount of humor and warmth.

Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Florence Pugh, and Saoirse Ronan are very talented and have good chemistry as sisters. Laura Dern turns Marmee, the girls’ mother, into more than a bland parental figure. Timothée Chalamet is very charming as Laurie, having great chemistry with both Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh. And Saoirse Ronan delivers a career-best performance as the stubborn and ambitious feminist Jo. Though Little Women got snubbed by the Oscars, it endures as a beloved movie and is already a standout entry in Saoirse Ronan‘s impressive filmography.

Next: What Happens to Jo March After Little Women’s Ending


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