1. The Princess Diaries (2001)

IMDB rating: 6.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 49%

Storyline:

In The Princess Diaries, Hathaway portrays Mia Thermopolis, a shy and clumsy teenager who lives in San Francisco. Her life takes an unexpected turn when her estranged grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews) visits her and reveals that Mia is the princess of a small European country named Genovia. The movie revolves around Mia’s journey towards embracing her royalty, overcoming bullying, and finding love, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal teenage life.

Why it’s a major performance:

The Princess Diaries marked Anne Hathaway’s big-screen debut. The role displayed Hathaway’s innate ability to combine comedy with emotion, bringing a depth of character that cemented Mia Thermopolis as a memorable role in her career. Despite being new to the film industry, Hathaway revealed an impressive talent for comedic timing and physical humor, which stood her apart from others in the industry.

This movie’s performance accelerated Hathaway’s career and developed her potential as a leading lady in Hollywood. She embraced the chaotic nature of Mia’s transformation into a princess, making the character believable and relatable. Despite the critics’ mixed responses, audiences had warmly embraced Hathaway’s performance, setting up a bright career path for her.

2. Les Misérables (2012)

IMDB rating: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 70%

Storyline:

Les Misérables is a musical drama film set in 19th-century France. Hathaway plays Fantine, a single mother who, due to unfortunate circumstances, is forced into prostitution to provide for her daughter. Her journey is one of suffering and resilience, and she becomes a tragic symbol of the effect of poverty and social prejudice on the helpless.

Why it’s a major performance:

Hathaway’s performance in this film won her an Academy Award, proving her acting ability transcends genres. Her portrayal of Fantine showed range, delivering a powerful performance in not just acting but singing as well. Her heart-rending rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ is a pivotal sequence in the movie and is hailed as one of the film’s standout moments.

In playing Fantine, Hathaway tapped into a character’s raw emotional pain with honesty and intensity. Despite her character’s limited screen time, she made such a significant impact that her performance was lauded as the movie’s highlight. This role showcased Hathaway’s versatility as an actress and singer, further proving her adaptability in taking on heavy and challenging roles.

[To be continued…]