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Jennifer Connelly Movies: A Look at Her Eclectic Filmography — And Her Haunting New Show

Learn about her new role in a sci-fi multiverse!

Jennifer Connelly has long been a beacon of glamour and intensity onscreen. The actress, who started out as a child model and appeared on many Seventeen magazine covers as a teen, made her debut with a small role in the 1984 epic Once Upon a Time in America and became an ’80s teen icon when she starred opposite none other than David Bowie in the beloved 1986 fantasy Labyrinth.

In 1991, Connelly starred in two movies that were poised to make her an even bigger star, the John Hughes-penned rom-com Career Opportunities and the Disney superhero movie The Rocketeer, but both underperformed at the box office, and from there the actress transitioned into more mature roles in Jennifer Connelly movies like Mulholland Falls (1996), Inventing the Abbotts (1997) and Dark City (1998).

American actress Jennifer Connelly during the filming of 'Labyrinth', UK, 1st December 1986
Jennifer Connelly in 1986Georges De Keerle/Getty

The most acclaimed Jennifer Connelly movies

The ’00s saw Connelly give some of her finest performances to date, as she proved her knack for playing complex and enigmatic women. In 2000, she played a drug addict in the controversial psychological drama Requiem for a Dream, winning praise for her fearlessness and willingness to go to some devastatingly dark places.

Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto in 'Requiem for a Dream' 2000
Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream (2000)Artisan Entertainment/Courtesy of Getty

With her flowing dark hair, sparkling green eyes and dramatically prominent eyebrows, Connelly has always had a classic beauty that makes her a perfect fit for period pieces. She earned raves for her supporting role as artist Ruth Kligman, the muse and mistress of Jackson Pollock, in the 2000 biopic Pollock, and the next year, she won an Oscar for her role as Alicia Nash, the wife of the Schizophrenic mathematician John Nash, in A Beautiful Mind. Both films were real-life midcentury stories in which Connelly’s charisma proved to be a powerful force.

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Jennifer Connelly with the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in A BEAUTIFUL MIND backstage at the 74th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Ca., March 24, 2002
Jennifer Connelly poses with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for A Beautiful Mind in 2002Frank Micelotta Archive/ImageDirect/Getty

A Beautiful Mind was also a pivotal movie in Connelly’s personal life, as it was where she met the actor Paul Bettany, who she married in 2003. They have two kids, and have continued to work together in movies like Inkheart (2008), Creation (2009) and Shelter (2014).

Following the personal and professional triumph of A Beautiful Mind, Connelly continued to show her range, going from the Marvel blockbuster Hulk (2003) to smaller, quieter movies like House of Sand and Fog (2003) and Little Children (2006).

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Jennifer Connelly with her husband, Paul Bettany, in 2003
Jennifer Connelly with her husband, Paul Bettany, in 2003Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty

During the 2010s, Connelly’s film credits were something of a mixed bag, with a combination of indie movies and bigger budget ones that didn’t quite live up to their hype. As the 2020s dawned, the actress had a career resurgence, and at 53, she’s more visible than she’s been in years.

What the star is up to today

Jennifer Connelly is the rare actress who has made a graceful transition from teen queen to mature movie star. Many of her fans feel that they’ve grown up alongside her, which always makes seeing her in a new movie or show feel special.

One of her most recent movies was also her biggest to date. In 2022, she played Tom Cruise‘s love interest in Top Gun: Maverick, the long-anticipated sequel to the 1986 classic. The crowd-pleasing film brought audiences back out to theaters following the pandemic, grossing over $1 billion worldwide. After a few years without high-profile Jennifer Connelly movies, she made a triumphant comeback.

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Connelly attends a special screening of "Top Gun: Maverick" at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem on May 23, 2022 in New York, New York
Jennifer Connelly at a screening of Top Gun: Maverick (2022)Monica Schipper/Getty for Paramount Pictures

Connelly has also had recent success in TV. In 2020, she began starring in the dystopian series Snowpiercer. The show’s fourth season will be launching in July 2024. She’s also currently starring in the new sci-fi series Dark Matter, playing a women in multiple parallel dimensions. The show raises serious existential questions, as Connelly and her onscreen husband go on a journey filled what what-ifs, and she does an excellent job of embodying multiple versions of a character while making them all equally compelling.

Connelly in 'Dark Matter' 2024
Jennifer Connelly in Dark Matter (2024)@jennifer.connelly/Instagram

In an interview with The Guardian, Connelly described what drew her to Dark Matter, saying, “I know this is a show about the path not taken, but I was interested in a portrait of a marriage. I wanted to show people navigating all these events that had taken place in their lives, the grief and the losses and the missed opportunities, and to show them on a journey to rediscover their commitment and partnership.”

By finding the nuance and humanity even in the most mind-bending of onscreen worlds, Connelly has once again proven what a versatile performer she is, and we’re glad to see her back on the screen.

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