Cate Blanchett’s 15 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes


Cate Blanchett is one of the few major movie stars who seemingly always selects great projects. Even when Blanchett agrees to be in a blockbuster, like a big-budget high fantasy trilogy or an MCU installment, then it’s a great one, like The Lord of the Rings movies and Thor: Ragnarok.

In between those roles, she finds time for smaller, more intimate character pieces where she can really show off her talents as a performer. She’s been in plenty of well-received movies, and whether she’s playing a queen or literal goddess, Blanchett and the movies she stars in never disappoint.

UPDATE: 2022/09/28 20:02 EST BY SHAWN S. LEALOS

Cate Blanchett followed up a great 2021 with appearances in Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up with two voice roles. She will serve as the narrator in The School for Good and Evil in October, a Netflix movie based on the novel by Soman Chainani. After this, she takes on the role of Sprezzatura the Monkey in Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animated adaptation of Pinocchio. This will just add to the amazing filmography of Blanchett, who already has seven Oscar nominations for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, with two wins. With so many great performances, it is no surprise that she has more movies with a higher than 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes than most of her contemporaries.


15/15 Nightmare Alley (2021) – 80%

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In 2021, Cate Blanchett joined up with Guillermo del Toro for his remake of the classic film noir movie Nightmare Alley. Del Toro turned this into a noir/horror mix, with Bradley Cooper starring as a grifter named Stan who works at a carnival before finding success as a big city psychic. However, his downfall begins when he meets a woman named Lilith, played by Blanchett.

Blanchett was a pitch-perfect femme fatale in this movie. She had ulterior motives from the beginning and helped lead to the downfall of Stan. While Blanchett didn’t pick up an Oscar nomination for her performance, the movie was Oscar-nominated, while also picking up technical nominations as well. While critics mostly loved it, with an 80% rating, fans were left cooler at only a 68%.

14/15 Elizabeth (1998) – 83%

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In 1998, Cate Blanchett took on the role of the Queen of England in Elizabeth. This was Queen Elizabeth I, and the movie begins with the future Queen under arrest for conspiracy before her release and ascension to the throne. This first movie shows the first few years of her reign where she faces plots and threats from her enemies.

The movie was a huge hit for Blanchett. It was a modest success at the box office, but it was a massive critical favorite, picking up three Oscar nominations. This was where Blanchett won her first Oscar for Best Actress. She also returned for a sequel nine years later called Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

13/15 Notes on a Scandal (2006) – 83%

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Starring Judi Dench alongside Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal is a riveting psychological thriller about a lonesome teacher who uncovers a co-worker’s affair with an underage student. The plot is surprisingly complex and dramatic.

Patrick Marber’s script goes a long way towards making this a great film, but ultimately, it all rests on the powerhouse performances by both Blanchett and Dench to knock the story out of the park. The only downside is that it’s a tad melodramatic.

12/15 An Ideal Husband (1999) – 85%

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The year after starring as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett took on a role in a smaller movie called An Ideal Husband. This was a British movie based on the stage play by Oscar Wilde. In this movie, Blanchett stars as Lady Gertrude Chiltern, the wife of Sir Robert Chiltern, a man who faces possible consequences of his past that threatens his marriage.

Critics praised the movie for its comedy, and the cast was great, with Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam, Minnie Driver, and Rupert Everett joining Blanchett. Moore received a lot of praise for her role, while Everett picked up a Golden Globe nomination as well.

11/15 The Turning (2013) – 86%

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In 2013, Cate Blanchett took part in an Australian anthology drama series based on short stories by Tim Winton. Each part of the movie had a different director and crew. For Blanchett, she appeared in the short called The Turning. Blanchett was also supposed to direct one episode, but chose to act in the movie instead.

Critics praised the movie for its interlocking nonlinear narratives, and characters who recurred throughout the various short episodes. The original version checked in at three hours. A shortened version was released on TV, but it is the original movie that fans need to seek out.

10/15 The Aviator (2004) – 86%

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Cate Blanchett got two huge opportunities in 2004. First, she appeared in a Martin Scorsese-directed movie. Second, she got the opportunity to portray a Hollywood legend in Katharine Hepburn. This was for The Aviator, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as Howard Hughes, the iconic aviation pioneer who also directed the classic war movie, Hell’s Angels.

The movie received high critical praise and ended up nominated for 11 Oscars. It went on to win five of them, which included Blanchett winning Best Supporting Actress. Blanchett also picked up a BAFTA Award, but lost out on the Golden Globes Award to Natalie Portman (Closer).

9/15 Little Fish (2005) – 90%

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An Australian drama set in the Little Saigon region outside Sydney, Little Fish is one of the smaller movies that Cate Blanchett has starred in, but it’s also one of the best films she’s ever made. It’s a dark tale about recovery and the drug trade; it uses tragedy as a mirror and comedy as a coping mechanism, balancing the two perfectly.

This movie rests almost entirely on the performances of its leads, including a striking Hugo Weaving and, of course, Blanchett, doing some of the best character work of her career with a role she can sink her teeth into.

8/15 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) – 90%

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Although the How to Train Your Dragon movies were never as popular as DreamWorks’ other big animated franchises like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, they are arguably better films. They have a visual style that is to die for, and while they’re not as funny as those other movies, they’re far more emotionally resonant, which is arguably more important.

The third movie, The Hidden World, which was released in 2019, advanced the plot by having Hiccup contend with his dragon Toothless’ newfound affection for a female dragon, and concluded the trilogy with the characters’ search for a dragon utopia.

7/15 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – 91%

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The first chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy introduces fans to the characters and their journey in a way that’s as enticing and structurally sound as the original J.R.R. Tolkien novel it’s based on. The actors are perfectly cast, and almost every scene is iconic.

The third act of The Fellowship of the Ring has its own climax that makes it feel like a movie in its own right, and not just the setup for future movies with the promise of exciting things to come.

6/15 Blue Jasmine (2013) – 91%

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Woody Allen’s more dramatic work isn’t usually as critically acclaimed or popular as his comedy, but Blue Jasmine is one of his biggest hits from the past decade or two. It’s the story of a Manhattan elite whose life comes crashing down when her shady businessman husband’s arrest comes at the cost of her lavish lifestyle and country home.

She’s forced to move in with her working-class sister in San Francisco and figure out how to carry on with her life. Unsurprisingly, Cate Blanchett’s incredible work in the disillusioned, narcissistic, deeply flawed lead role landed her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

5/15 How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) – 92%

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In the second How to Train Your Dragon movie, Cate Blanchett joined the voice cast (which already included plenty of A-listers, from Gerard Butler to Jonah Hill) in a pivotal role. The plot revolved around Hiccup’s search for his long-lost mother, Valka, and that’s who Blanchett was brought in to play.

Writer-director Dean DeBlois clearly took some inspiration from The Empire Strikes Back in progressing the plot from the first movie into the second, which gave the sequel a shot in the arm. The first one was great – visually stunning with well-developed characters – but it was lacking a certain degree of excitement, and the sequel improved on that.

4/15 Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – 93%

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Marvel hired Taika Waititi to direct the third Thor installment, and he thrust the character into a brightly lit, visually stunning absurdist comedy. Thor: Ragnarok is filled with slapstick gags, random one-liners, and meta character moments.

Cate Blanchett played the villain, Thor’s long-lost sister Hela, and clearly spent the shoot reveling in the opportunity to play a cartoonish, mustache-twirling villain in the vein of Maleficent or Ursula. The MCU might have a “villain problem,” but not when Cate Blanchett is around.

3/15 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – 93%

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The Return of the King is an astonishing achievement in film. For starters, it holds two significant Academy Awards records; winning all 11 of the awards it was nominated for, it became both the movie with the highest clean sweep in Oscars history and the movie with the most Oscar wins of all time.

It’s easy to see why. Shooting three movies back-to-back and then doling them out once a year was a risky experiment back then, and The Return of the King brought that experiment to an end in a satisfactory way. It was the Avengers: Endgame of its day.

2/15 Carol (2015) – 94%

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One of the greatest taboo-busting LGBTQ-themed movies in recent memory, Carol tells the 1950s-set story of the forbidden love shared by a young female photographer and an older woman in the middle of bitter divorce proceedings. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are terrific in the lead roles and share a very real on-screen chemistry.

Todd Haynes’ typically brilliant direction, Phyllis Nagy’s passionate screenplay (adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt), and Edward Lachman’s elegant cinematography all serve the central duo’s impeccable acting.

1/15 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – 95%

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It’s not surprising that all three Lord of the Rings movies ended up ranking high on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is a little surprising that The Two Towers topped it. The Fellowship of the Ring is a classically structured call-to-adventure tale and The Return of the King is the trilogy’s staggeringly epic and satisfying conclusion.

The Two Towers is a fine movie, which bridges the two other parts of the story well, but few fans consider it to be the best one. Still, it has that breathtaking Battle of Helm’s Deep sequence and deepens the relationships shared by all the characters.

NEXT: Lord Of The Rings – The Top 10 Battles, Ranked


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