1. Her (2013)

IMDB rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95%

Storyline: In this beguiling and hauntingly original movie by Spike Jonze, Scarlett Johansson gives a voice only performance as Samantha, a hyper-intelligent operating system tailored to meet the needs of writer, Theodore. Set during a time in the near future, Theodore falls in love with Samantha and their relationship soon blossoms into a full-blown love affair, posing important questions about love, identity and what it means to be human.

Why it’s a major performance: In this film, Johansson incredibly embodies Samantha without being seen on the screen. She delivers an incredible depth of emotion and complexity in her vocal performance, eliciting genuine and poignant feelings from the audience. Indeed, her mesmerizing one-of-a-kind performance, brought warmth, vulnerability, and a heartbreaking sense of longing which rightfully earned her several award nominations.

This film was an extraordinary performance curveball from Johansson. She made us believe in the impossible, reach out, and connect with an intangible character. Her voice became the life-blood of the film, a testament to Johansson’s talent and versatility as an actress that she received high acclaim without physically appearing on the screen.

2. Lost in Translation (2003)

IMDB rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95%

Storyline: In poignant comedy-drama by Sofia Coppola, Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, a recent college graduate left adrift by her celebrity photographer husband in Tokyo. A chance encounter in a hotel bar leads her to form an unlikely bond with aging actor Bob Harris, played by Bill Murray. The resultant whirlwind experience of human connection and Tokyo’s neon-lit nightscape make for a memorable tale of displacement, cultural confusion and personal discovery.

Why it’s a major performance: Johansson shines in her role as Charlotte. Her subdued expression of loneliness and her sense of being lost in life resonate deeply with the audience. This balance of plucky resourcefulness and detached ennui establish Johansson as a breakout star.

Moreover, her performance exhibits an exceptional chemistry with Bill Murray, turning their brief encounter into a memorable and touching relationship. This performance showcased her acting prowess expanding her appeal to the international audience, setting her up for major roles in the forthcoming years.

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