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From Wes Anderson to David Fincher: The 5 best Gwyneth Paltrow films on Netflix

Gwyneth Paltrow turns 49 today and continues to reign supreme as the Award-winning actress and entrepreneur. She has carved out a distinct position in the film industry and will always be cherished for her diverse roles and the characters that she has played with unimaginable passion and depth. 

Paltrow had debuted in 1989 on television with a film named High, directed by her father. She started receiving various other roles before finally bagging the role as Brad Pitt’s wife in David Fincher’s 1995 seismic film, Seven

In 1996, Paltrow played the titular protagonist in the film adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma where she garnered audience attention. Her brilliant performance and the ability to blend into the manners and etiquettes of the genteel society gained a lot of appreciation. 

1998 was the breakthrough year of her character as she starred in five great films and won her first-ever Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love. Paltrow has, ever since, been unstoppable. Her ability to play complex yet charming characters remains unparalleled. She is also a business tycoon with a highly profitable empire that she established with her lifestyle magazine Goop, and her penchant for food blogging. 

Honouring Paltrow’s wonderful prowess as an actress, here are her five best films streaming on Netflix:

The 5 best Gwyneth Paltrow films on Netflix

5. Seven (David Fincher, 1995)

Seven is dark, disturbing and gory with gruesome shots of murder, the kind of film that leaves an impression. It is intriguing and insightful and might make one want to immerse themselves in detective fiction even more as they follow the two detectives David Mills and William Somerset on their pursuit of a notorious serial killer who seeks to punish people that embody the Seven Deadly Sins. 

With a shocking climactic scene, the film is definitely one of Fincher’s most horrifying creations. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman have incredible camaraderie together. Although Paltrow’s character might just seem to serve the purpose of Pitt’s wife in the beginning, the horrifying ending proves the impact of her character. Fincher himself agreed that the film was “psychologically violent”.    

4. The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella, 1999)

Starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film is an exciting take on the thriller genre with high-strung tension and a complicated narrative that deals with homoerotic obsession, identity theft and more. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 eponymous novel, the film is definitely worth the watch.

Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Law’s fiancee, Marge Sherwood. Damon as Ripley impersonates the rich Dickie Greenleaf. Paltrow and Damon engage in a stand-off, and it is fascinating to see her in character, adding more thrill to the terrific and riveting premise.

3. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)

With The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson weaves a funny yet heartfelt tapestry of an eccentric and dysfunctional family who gather in their family home with their mother. Their father, who isolated himself years back, wants to redeem himself and comes back to amend things. What ensues is pure chaos, heartbreak, disturbing revelations and humour in this odd little creative world that Anderson builds.

Paltrow plays the role of the daughter, Margot, who is a successful playwright. Stoic and calm, she is an infidel and secretly chain-smokes, much to her husband’s chagrin. Her general existential boredom and disillusionment add a certain enigma and charm to her character as well as the film.

2. Emma (Douglas Mcgrath, 1996)

Based on Jane Austen’s eponymous novel, the film focuses on a young lady named Emma who derives immense pleasure from poking her nose into others’ affairs and is on a perpetual quest to pair up couples who are ill-fitted for one another. Despite her innate romantic heart, she is oblivious to her feelings and relationship with Mr Knightley.

Paltrow fit the role of the chirpy Emma quite well and looked like an absolute dream. She is seemingly quite comfortable in period pieces, having won her Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. Expressive and engaging, her charismatic personality makes her relatable and enjoyable as the titular protagonist. 

1. Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998)

Young and struggling artist William Shakespeare is bereft of inspiration and ideas and hits a slump until he meets the vivacious and radiant Viola with whom he begins a torrid love affair. Her zeal for life and their love story eventually inspired one of his greatest creations, Romeo and Juliet

Paltrow was brilliant as the free-spirited Viola who wanted to defy societal norms and audition for the play in the guise of a man. Paltrow almost turned down the role as she was recuperating from her heartbreak. If she did, Paltrow would have missed a brilliant opportunity.

The film provided her very first Academy Award, first and second Screen Actors Guild Award as well as her first-ever Golden Globe Award for her incredible performance.

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