Charlize Theron regularly shuttles between majors and indies. The former haven’t always soared, but she leaves them with head held high – inevitably into more interesting fare.
“2 Days in the Valley” (1996)
As hired killer in this indie, “Pulp Fiction”-influenced neo-noir, Theron scores in a hot sex scene with James Spader and catfight with Teri Hatcher.
“Devil’s Advocate” (1997)
In this glossy WB production, Theron is married to attorney Keanu Reeves and raped by Satan (Al Pacino). One of the actress’ few “imperiled wife” parts.
“The Cider House Rules” (1999)
“To look at you, it hurts,” a smitten Tobey Maguire tells Theron in this Miramax-made indie, based on the John Irving novel about an orphanage that doubles as an abortion clinic.
Theron’s total deglamorization as Aileen Wuornos, notorious serial killer, cops every major annual award including Oscar. Both pic and perf retain their punch today.
“Aeon Flux” (2005)
Theron kicks ass in 3″ leather wedge heels sewn into Spandex leggings in Paramount’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure.
“North Country” (2005)
Indie take on landmark sexual harassment suit filed by female iron miners in northern Minnesota. Topliner Theron takes most of the heat as principal plaintiff, earning second Oscar nom.
“Battle in Seattle” (2007)
Docudrama dramatizing protests at 1999’s World Trade Org summit. Pregnant Theron is caught in a riot and beaten by cops. Worth a revisit in the context of today’s Occupy movement.
Teams with Will Smith as a pair of unusual superheroes in contemporary Los Angeles. Sony tentpole became Theron’s biggest commercial hit to date.
“The Burning Plain” (2008)
Fractured-reality puzzler premiered at the Venice film fest. As usual, Theron is able to mute her star power and fit comfortably into the ensemble.
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