There aren’t many actresses currently working who have shown off the level of skill and versatility over the past few years that Lily James has. The talented lady has appeared in everything from fantasy classics to action flicks to period dramas to wacky movies about zombies.
Although things like the Academy Awards or Golden Globes haven’t come calling for her just yet, Lily James remains a hot commodity and did win a SAG Award for her performance with the ensemble of Downton Abbey. When looking at her film career, the ratings at IMDb paint a picture of what her best work is.
10 Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (6.6)
In terms of financial success, this was one of Lily James’ biggest movies. The highly-anticipated sequel to 2008’s Mamma Mia! (which grossed a whopping $615.7 million), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again raked in $395 million of its own even though it was released a full decade after the original.
Based on the iconic Broadway play of the same name using music by ABBA, this expanded on that tale. James stars as the young version of Donna (played by Meryl Streep) during flashbacks that depict her arrival to Kalokairi and her meeting with the possible fathers of her daughter Sophie.
9 Burnt (6.6)
On the flip side of the previous entry, Burnt wasn’t a big hit at the box office. The 2015 drama also tells a much smaller story, centering on an extremely talented but troubled chef (Bradley Cooper) trying to fix his career after ruining it with things like drug abuse.
While it’s not as well-known as some of Cooper’s other work, Burnt does boast a talented cast. He’s joined by Matthew Rhys, Alicia Vikander, Uma Thurman, Emma Thompson, Sienna Miller, and more. Lily James has a small role as a woman named Sara.
8 The Exception (6.8)
This is where Lily James was truly given an opportunity to shine as she plays the lead in this romantic war film. Released in 2016, The Exception takes place during World War II and sees a German soldier who falls in love with a Jewish maid while investigating an emperor to see if he’s a spy.
The film was lauded for the chemistry between James as the maid and Jai Courtney as the officer. Christopher Plummer also delivered a strong performance, as he’s known to do. It only grossed $834,580 but was mostly met with positive reviews.
7 Yesterday (6.8)
A movie where the concept is that the entire world forgets who The Beatles are, including the lyrics to every song they ever wrote, sounds kind of ridiculous on paper. It’s even stranger when only one man remembers them and uses their music to become a star himself.
Despite that, it mostly worked. 2019’s Yesterday was both a commercial and critical success, praised for its charm and performances, even if it didn’t wow most audience members. In it, James plays Ellie, the love interest to the lead character Jack, played by Himesh Patel.
6 Sorry To Bother You (6.9)
There’s a good chance that even major Lily James fans aren’t aware that she appears in this movie. For one thing, it’s a rather small role that could even be considered a cameo and for another, it’s the only voice acting that she has done for a feature film.
Released in 2018, Sorry To Bother You tells the story of a young Black telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who only moves up in his job by using his “white voice.” It ends up leading him down an unexpected path of a corporate conspiracy. James lends her vocals to the “white voice” of Detroit, played by Tessa Thompson.
5 Cinderella (6.9)
This was the movie that ultimately turned Lily James into a big star and remains her most profitable film to date. That’s typically what happens when you land the lead role in an iconic Disney film. In 2015, one of their earliest live-action remakes was Cinderella.
James scored the role of the titular princess and was spectacular. Her performance (along with those of Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, and others) was heavily praised as one of the best aspects. Many consider this to be the best of live-action remakes done by the company so far.
4 Broken (7.3)
Although Cinderella was when people really noticed Lily James, this is the earliest film on this list. Released in 2012, Broken marked the first standout movie that she appeared in. She played the older version of Emily “Skunk” Cunningham, the main character.
Broken focuses on Skunk, a young diabetic girl in London who witnesses a violent interaction between her neighbors that ends up altering her life. In the movie, she got to work alongside the likes of Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth, and Rory Kinnear.
3 The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society (7.4)
2018 really seemed to be the year that Lily James got to shine. Along with the Mamma Mia! sequel and a standout performance in Little Woods, she took on the lead role in the uniquely titled, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, which is based on a novel of the same name.
The story takes place after World War II and follows a female author who forms interesting bonds with the residents of an island when she writes about their experiences during the war. James plays Juliet Ashton, the writer, and was once again praised for her acting.
2 Darkest Hour (7.4)
The top two movies on IMDb starring Lily James both came from 2017. First, there’s Darkest Hour, which was one of the most critically-acclaimed releases that year. Another World War II film, this centers around the earliest days of Winston Churchill as prime minister.
Most famously, Gary Oldman’s turn as Winston Churchill earned him the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actor. Meanwhile, Lily James took on the role of Elizabeth Layton, who was known for being Churchill’s secretary for several years.
1 Baby Driver (7.6)
There aren’t many movies that are simply cooler than 2017’s Baby Driver. Directed and written by the always outstanding Edgar Wright, he admitted that he had the idea for this film since he was much younger. It focuses on a young man, nicknamed Baby (Ansel Elgort), with tinnitus that causes him to constantly listen to music.
After getting in deep with a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), he works as a getaway driver for him to pay off his debt. Lily James plays Debora, Baby’s love interest. Their chemistry was a highlight along with the soundtrack, action, editing, and ensemble cast that includes John Hamm, Eiza González, Jamie Foxx, and more.
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