Few actors possess the chameleon-like ability to transition between roles quite as seamlessly as Olivia Colman. As she celebrates her 50th birthday, it’s an opportune moment to revel in the remarkable range this British dynamo brings to the screen. And we are fortunate to have a treasure trove of her work readily available at the press of a button, now on Netflix.
Be it Fleabag or The Favourite, Colman can make you despise her character with a burning intensity, only to melt your heart in the very next role. It’s a testament to her prowess as a performer that she effortlessly navigates the delicate spectrum of emotions, leaving audiences captivated by her every move. Her ability to breathe life into any character she plays only gets stronger when she switches gears to the smaller screen, be it The Crown, Broadchurch, or Flowers. Despite having such an intimidating presence, Colman can charm your socks off even with a brief cameo like she does in Heartstopper and The Bear.
From her early days in comedic gems like Hot Fuzz and Peep Show to her breathtaking portrayal of Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, Colman’s journey in the world of entertainment has been nothing short of astounding. These projects, although lighthearted, laid the groundwork for her illustrious career. The duality of Colman’s talent is on full display in these—proving that size truly doesn’t matter, especially when it comes to the length of a role. It is the actor who elevates it to the next level—be it by chucking out innuendo-laden jokes or by delivering tour de force performances as mean-spirited monarchs.
Films like The Lost Daughter and The Father further solidify Colman’s reputation as one of the industry’s most versatile performers. In The Father, we witness a heartbreaking exploration of dementia as she shares the screen with Anthony Hopkins, delivering a performance that is both poignant and powerful. Colman effortlessly navigates the emotional turmoil of her character, evoking empathy as well as exasperation.
Colman’s turn as Queen Anne in The Favourite earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. It’s a stark departure from the comedic roles of her early career, proving that Colman is equally at home in the realms of tragedy and drama.
Unusual Olivia Colman movies and shows:
The Mitchells vs. the Machines presents Colman in a different light. In this animated film, she lends her voice to PAL, an AI villain with a menacing yet oddly charismatic demeanour.
If you ask Colman how she does it, you will get an answer that is surprisingly common among artists who transcend boundaries frequently, almost as if it comes naturally to them. “I find it very hard … I don’t know,” she told The Rolling Stone, almost apologetically. “I don’t really think about anything too much,” Colman concluded with a laugh, “My book on acting would be very short.”
As we celebrate Olivia Colman’s 50th birthday, the Netflix library becomes a canvas on which we can witness the breadth and depth of her talent. Each film and series offers a glimpse into how multifaceted she truly is as an actor. So, whether you’re in the mood for laughter, tears, or a bit of both, there’s an Olivia Colman title waiting to enchant you.
Five Olivia Colman films to watch on Netflix:
- The Favourite
- The Father
- The Lost Daughter
- Hot Fuzz
- The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Five Olivia Colman series to watch on Netflix:
- The Crown
- Peep Show
You can watch The Favourite on Netflix, along with the other titles, to ring in a brand-new Olivia Colman year.