(Credit: Film4 Productions)

Olivia Colman’s 10 best films ranked in order of greatness

“I am just an actor – all I do is I memorise someone else’s words and tart around.” – Olivia Colman

English actor Olivia Colman is one of the most talented, relatable and revered women reigning the reel. With numerous accolades to her name and powerful roles to boast of, Colman is now at an all-time high. Born as Sarah Caroline Colman in Norfolk, she adopted Olivia Colman as her stage name and, like all great actors, she discovered her knack for acting at a very young age when she played the role of Jean Bodie in a school production. “The first time I did a school play was the first time I felt I was good at anything at all,” she once explained. “I just loved it.” A student of drama, it was at the dramatics club at Cambridge that she met her future co-stars, Robert Webb and David Mitchell. 

Olivia Colman made her debut in 2000 and has had her career grow exponentially with her incredible performances. From appearing in various sitcoms to feature films, Colman has been part of incredible projects in numerous mediums. Well-known for her performances in Broadchurch and The Crown, Colman has also been part of wonderful big screen efforts, one of which won her the well-deserved Academy Award. 

Well-known for her effortless acting, Colman has often been interviewed about her acting style. She usually laughs it off by saying, “I don’t have a process, I just feel it. My book on acting would be very short.” Her determination and perseverance are rooted in her genuine adoration for her craft. “You can over-think things. If the script’s good, everything you need is in there. I just try and feel it and do it honestly. I also don’t learn things for auditions, because I feel like it’s just a test of memorising rather than being real.” 

Colman has a very supportive family and a loving husband, one which she attributes large portions of her success to. In her speech the following year after receiving the Academy Award, Colman spoke of how proud he was of her, joking along the way-her witty remarks left the audience in splits. Colman also advocates body positivity and self-love and, while she is not like the conventional Hollywood stereotypes, her beauty lies in her simplicity and the fierceness of emotions with which she portrays the characters. “I eat a bit too much; my teeth aren’t perfect; I’ve got eye bags. I look like a normal 39-year-old woman – but in England, no one minds that.” 

On her 47th birthday today, let us wish this beautiful woman a very happy birthday and take a look at some of the best films she has starred in. 

10 best films starring Olivia Colman

10. Murder on the Orient Express (Kenneth Branagh, 2017)

Based on Agatha Christie’s famed murder mystery novel of the same name, the film revolves around the quirky Belgian detective Hercule Poirot on board the Orient Express where the man who wants his protection, Ratchett, is murdered the same night by getting stabbed nearly a dozen times. It is on Poirot to discover which of the passengers are involved in this gruesome murder. 

Respectful of Christie’s work and boasting of incredible production and setting of a lush old-fashioned train, the film, however, fails to leave a mark on the viewers due to its lacklustre execution. Christie’s whodunit suddenly becomes too predictable and overdone with no element of mystery and very little murder, but a whole lot of fashionable dresses and pearls. 

“I can only see the world as it should be.”

9. Iron Lady (Phyllida Lloyd, 2011)

A biographical drama revolving around the first woman prime Minister of the United Kingdom and also the longest-serving, British politician Margaret thatcher. Need I say more?

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher delivered a wonderful performance which won her an Oscar for the third time. Olivia Colman as her daughter carol is a vision as well. 

“If you take the tough decisions, people will hate you today, but they will love you in generations.”

8. Grow your Own (Richard Laxton, 2007)

After a family of political refugees is allotted a piece of land to cultivate their own vegetables, the English community at Blacktree Road gets indignant and grumpy. 

Subtle humour and incredible acting act as buoyant forces fo this film. To quote Tom Hawker, this film is “occasionally melancholy, often funny, this is touching, lyrical home-grown fare.”

7. I Give It A Year (Dan Mazer, 2013) 

Josh and Nat are married but constantly bickering with each other, getting embroiled in situations that have the least favourable outcomes for them. They soon discover they are best suited for other people and deal with this emotional and psychological turmoil as a unit. 

A comedy of manners film wrapped in comedic cynicism reflecting incredible performances is showcased in Mazer’s film which is probably not as par with Mazer’s ambition. 

“We have an incredible sex life, but that’s not the point. I love the Michael Jackson “Off the Wall” album, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to only listen to that the rest of my life.”

6. Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007)

When PC Nicholas Angel is reassigned duty at the ‘Village of the Year’ which is a sleepy town of Gloucestershire, he suspects something fishy when he sees people dying in a mysterious accident. He sets out with his somewhat wacky and buddy cop film-nerd partner PC Danny Butterman to find out the truth. 

In a true Edgar Wright fashion, the film is extremely wacky and somewhat comedic. Satiric and entertaining, this film sees Wright venturing into the buddy cop genre and boasts of a wonderful on-screen camaraderie. 

“The way we see it it’s all for the greater good.”

5. Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine, 2011) 

Brutal and vicious, the film is a journey of a man seeking redemption. Powerful and wild, the film has incredible performances from Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman who are wounded inside out. 

The film is about Joseph, a grieving widower who is extremely abusive and wild. He nurses personal demons and hides his pain with a bitter facade till he meets Hannah, a woman trapped in a vicious and violent marriage. Together, they hope for a better tomorrow. 

An animal can only take so much punishment and humiliation before it snaps.”

4. Locke  (Steven Knight, 2013)

Ivan Locke is the only character on-screen who carries out 36 phone calls throughout the 85-minute film to unfold the story. From confessing his infidelity to his wife to reassuring the mother of his child-to-be born Bethan, the audience witnesses his life story. 

Tom Hardy as Locke is phenomenal on-screen. With a compelling one-man show performance, the film is dark and experimental with top-notch execution. 

You make one mistake, Donal, one little fucking mistake, and the whole world comes crashing down around you.”

3. The Father (Florian Zeller, 2020)

Anthony is slowly losing his sense of reality due to dementia and gets on the nerves of his daughter Anne. amidst all his disillusionment and confusion, Anne moves to Paris to look after him. 

Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman deliver splendidly moving performances that bring out the spine-chilling horror of living with dementia and the act of slowly losing one’s grasp over reality. It is a difficult watch as we watch the brutality of life slowly unfurl on screen via the devastating storylines of the father-daughter duo caught in this heartbreaking conundrum.

I don’t know what she’s cooking up against me, but she’s cooking something up.” 

2. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)

David is taken to the hotel where the manager gives him 45 days to find himself a partner lest he is turned into a lobster. As he steers closer towards his due date, he elopes and falls in love with the loners in the woods. That has consequences as well. 

A great satire on love, relationships and breakups, it is one of Lanthimos’ finest. As Roger Ebert said, “In a world devoted to happy endings, where platitudes like “the right person is out there waiting for you” or “someday your Prince will come” are parroted as Unquestioned Truths, the film is a welcome breath of freezing cold, poisoned air.” 

“It’s no coincidence that the targets are shaped like single people and not couples.”

1. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018)

The sick Queen Anne is tired of her courtly responsibilities and depends solely on her advisor and lover Sarah. In comes Abigail, Sarah’s cousin, who pries for the Queen’s attention to gain her position. The cousins fight while Great Britain wages the war against France. 

With as many Academy Award nominations as that of Roma, the film made Olivia Colman bring home the Best Actress award for her phenomenal performance. With powerful performances from Olivia Colma, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, the film is, according to Peter Travers, ”a bawdy, brilliant triumph, directed by Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos with all the artistic reach and renegade deviltry… The Favourite belongs to its fierce, profanely funny female trio.”

“Some wounds do not close. I have many such.”

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