If one observes carefully, then it can be found that the word “talent” is a composite of six separate alphabets. That is also the case for the word “acting”, which also includes six alphabets. While, on the other hand the word “England” has not six but seven alphabets. And, also uniquely so, that is the case with the term “actress” which has seven alphabets.
So the analogy and the vivid construct one can find ably in the above is that there seems to be a close relationship between talent and acting, two isolated and hugely distinct words that rather seem inter-dependent on one another. Yet, at the same time, when you think of England and the term actress you would find that these terms aren’t distant either. Not in the construct of alphabets and certainly not in emphasizing the poignant relationship that exists between these two phrases. Rather it ascertains for all practical purposes that English actresses have gone on to stamp their authority against the world of acting, that relies not so much on beautiful looks but on the merits of acting.
That they are closely associated in the movie world where meteoric exploits of female stars from England have left an indelible mark on Hollywood world isn’t just a hollow testimony to this languid relationship or a bland word of praise. Rather, it is a plaudit that goes on to state an intimate journey of many a female actors from England that began walking from paths of obscurity from the grand shores of a princely England and found their breathtaking world of expression in the creative heartland of United States of America; Hollywood.
The allure behind England’s Demi goddesses:
An actress isn’t merely an object that emphasizes the urge to raise eyeballs. Nor is an actress by any practical purpose of imagination a sexist partake in the cluttered and confusing delirium that arises in the men vs women actor debate, an incessantly continuous debate that wishes to side with one gender over the talent and art of the other in order to win a highly flawed debate or unstructured argument.
An actress, in her entirety is a colossal work of art, hardened by a clarity of purpose that envisions to create a perfect marriage between cinema and the gratification movie goers wish to seek from it, buoyed by flair and driven by a craving to attain that illusion called perfection.
To the classicists of cinema, English actresses seem to be clearly moving in the above direction, giving time after time grand reminders of their prowess in the challenging world of cinema where success isn’t merely determined by the strikingly good looking cash figures that come to ring at the box office but where the meat of an actor is judged beyond the cosmological definitions such as “attractive”, “sexy”, and “goddess like”.
Our list of 10 of the most compelling and hugely successful Brit Actresses:
To break away from philosophy and to charter toward a world that lies ahead of silver screen, as seen from the audiences seat, the body of work of an English actress is one that often tasks itself with tough personifications on screen, foraying in directions that are expansive, ranging from drama to comic capers, romantic sagas and thriller mysteries, and one where success is an attribute of an actress giving her all in her essaying of some of the finest acts that have confirmed the status of England as a royal land gifted with magical acting splendor as witnessed from its amazing talent pool of female stars.
1. Helen Mirren
A graceful, ageless beauty, personifying the charming grip of her winning smile over that of her loving audiences, Helen Mirren who has successfully ventured into prime time television series and some astounding works of art on the big screen, continues to make an impact on the box office at 70.
Over hundred movies old and refreshingly new with the diverse set of challenges she has come to master in a diverse range of cinema, it remains to be seen which particular role is out there for Mirren to undertake to make audiences sway again to her soft magic, a journey wherein she has continued to thrill, inspire and sometimes, utterly surprise fans by playing a unique array of divergent roles.
She was the Queen in The Queen (2006) essaying the life of the highest English Monarch to have ever graced the royal United Kingdom. The was the master crime investigator in the hugely successful British television series called Prime Suspect (1991-2006) and has even played a tough Israeli Intelligence operative in her most audacious exploit till date, since “Red”, called The Debt.
Reducing age to being a misnomer while judging an actresses’ caliber, Mirren is England’s very own Meryl Streep, only 6 years Streep’s senior though.
2. Kate Winslet
Let us put it this way: some were meant to only rule the lofty and glittery headlines of Hollywood and some were meant to tear them apart foraying into arty, substantial and elemental cinema that juxtaposition-d itself against the glitter of commercial filmdom and the aura of meaningful cinema.
Kate Winslet, who has done the latter, clearly defies logic centered around the word ‘maturity’ having portrayed characters that have been both mature and demanding for an actress who is 40 and peppy and cutely childlike parts that weigh lighter as compared to her age. This magically talented actress who first catapulted to global fame with Titanic (1997) has essentially carved a great legacy for English actresses, where if one is to succeed and make her name in Hollywood cinema, she has to be “Kate Winslet” like.
From being the beautiful Rose in Titanic to the impulsive and difficult Clementine in 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, an enchanting time travel drama, there isn’t a character where Kate hasn’t left her name behind and put on the mask of the character itself, never projecting the Winslet that she is in real and forever lingering the fragrance of the character on screen, whether it bites or surprises, long after the movie is over.
Winning an Oscar for her part in The Reader(2006), where she perhaps played the most tormenting role in her career playing the Nazi prison guard of a concentration camp put on trial, Winslet reminded why movie producers from USA head England to scout for great acting talent.
3. Emma Stone
Young and peppy, good looking and growing up gracefully the child star of the famed Harry Potter series has been seriously bitten by the acting bug.
Her playful days of befriending and funnily arguing but, ultimately siding with Harry Potter are over and with a string of interesting performances such as the lovely “The Perks of being a Wallflower”, she has evolved as a young actress. Would you believe it the 25 year old born in Paris even meditates to radiate intensity on the screen. Way to go Emma. The world is your oyster, pretty much so at such a young age.
4. Gemma Arterton
At 29, graceful, lovely and charming, this hitherto misunderstood actress who is way more than being just a screen burner for all her voluptuous beauty has sealed her name against a list of promising and successful action thrillers fantastic performances in films such as “‘Hansel and Gretel: witch hunters (with Jeremy Renner), Quantum of Solace (James Bond movie) and Clash of the Titans.
Arterton is pretty, loaded with intelligence and a certain vulnerability that was effectively exploited during her tremendous act in 2012’s “Byzantium” where she played a female vampire who takes a hiding in an English colony.
There certainly is more magic to Gemma than meets the eye.
5. Keira Knightley
If good looks could kill, the dying one would certainly wish to be slain by Keira Knightley’s charms. In fact this EMMY and BAFTA award winner’s smile would do enough to slay someone.
As talented as she is beautiful and as amazing on the screen as she is smilingly charming off it, Keira is a fine reminder that British actresses truly have some hidden aces up their sleeves with a string of interesting and arresting performances in films such as Atonement (romantic period drama, 2007), Bend it Like Beckham (with which she first shot to fame), Anna Karenina and the lovely musical of 2013- Begin again.
That endearing smile coupled with an instinctive spunk of acting, Knightley is a top notch English dame that is here to stay.
6. Andrea Riseborough
One of the truly amazing and talented theatre actresses from England, one would say the charming Andrea is slightly conservative in her selection of movie roles, the numbers figuratively speaking do not justify her tremendous talent.
A natural actor who uses her glaring stare and vivid portraits to carve lasting impressions on the screen, Riseborough who hails from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art has done a sensational part in Margaret Thatcher: the British television series.
Having already starred with none other than Tom Cruise in the commercially disappointing Oblivion, science action drama, Andrea is slated to star in the hugely promising and widely awaited Shepherds and Butchers, a period Apartheid drama based in South Africa. Way to go English beauty.
7. Helena Bonham Carter
It isn’t very difficult to explain this clever actor. But, at the same time it isn’t easy being her or playing some of the most challenging parts that Carter the 50 year old Londoner has played in a sterling career.
She was the weirdo, pot smocking babe in Fight Club(1999 with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton) and has been the mischievous star in Alice in Wonderland. Some say that the intense actress is the perfect antidote to Plain Jane simple acts where she pumps up the movie screen with an adrenaline rush of madness and intensity, a bit like Johnny Depp.
Is Depp listening? We would love another on screen pairing as that of Alice in Wonderland again.
8. Naomi Watts
Perhaps the more intense, serious and above all, a versatile actress to have emerged from England is the 46 year old Watts.
The Shoreham born beauty has to her credit some amazingly moving performances in a diverse range of characterizations, most importantly Diana and The Impossible. In the former, Naomi brought to the screen and for the audiences’ delight the vulnerability, complexity and charm of being the People’s Princess; Princess Diana and in the latter, she expanded her creative envelope playing one of the sole survivors of a bickering Tsunami attack on the shores of Thailand, where her mother act, ravaged by massive destruction survived against all odds to reunite with her husband and two sons.
This English beauty is among the most loved and critically acclaimed actor who is also a critic’s favorite for her on screen versatility, a quality that makes Naomi as enchanting as attractive.
9. Imogen Poots
Clearly one of the most funniest and wild actresses out there from England making her spunk scalable in the competitive world of Hollywood, this diva is a charming and adorable actresses who is beginning to slowly cut her teeth in the intense heat of Hollywood cinema.
Her most memorable part so far has been her role of the prostitute who shrugs her low life and works toward becoming an actress, which Imogen carried with ease and elan in 2014’s She’s Funny That Way (with Owen Wilson and Tony Colette).
Reluctant to fall for cheap roles and hollow scripts, this good looking beauty from Hammersmith, UK is only 26 and has an entire world ahead of her to establish her proven acting talent.
10. Rosamund Pike
A really charismatic diva on the big screen, Hammersmith born Pike is your essential withdrawal into the world of movies where actresses do amazing acts, sometimes not with overstating their appeal but by the simple gush in their smile and on other times, by the mere movement of their intense eyes.
Pike’s most remembered role till date as been her mad and intense act as Amy in 2014’s Gone Girl, a role which can surely win her an Oscar. Playing Ben Affleck’s popular wife who disappears on the wake of the couple’s 5th anniversary, Pike who conveyed the pain and struggle of a wife literally begging for her man’s attention went many extra yards ahead to prove her critics that she is more than just being an eye candy.
Rosamund’s charming grace and stylishly slick mannerisms have earned her the crush of many male celebrities, Pierce Brosnan included. And, he can hardly be blamed for it. He encountered “Miranda Frost’s” charms in Die Another Day (2005) and “fell” for it.
11. Dame Judy Dench
How many times does one come across an actress, charmingly working her way deep into the hearts of movie lovers and sensational box office figures whilst she is well into her retirement age? Not often, one supposes.
Dame Judy Dench is the equivalent of the energy of a literal Hercules for her unstoppable and encouraging body of work that has gone into films and television for past 5 decades. Most famously remembered as M, the fictional boss of MI 6’s most lethal secret agent: 007 James Bond, Dame Judy Dench who will be 81 come December, has for long been one of the most reliable and effervescent actresses in the world of English Theatre. Armed with a shining intellect that allows Dench’s personality to camouflage itself into the skin of the character, she has for long been the central pivot around which many Shakespearean theatrical productions have been staged with sensational recognition.
She first shot to recognition while she was 50, with A Room With a View, starring opposite Maggie Smith. But, this wasn’t because film offers weren’t greeting the ever promising Dench, it was only because her priorities lay elsewhere, beyond the veil of commercial mainstream cinema and toward the spiritual sojourn of theatre.
Well what can one say of this truly magnanimous actress, she can still tease Bond with that disarming smile and give “Money Penny” a run for her money with her devastating personality. Way to go Ma’am.
12. Rebecca Hall
Artfully combining grace, tantalizingly pleasing looks, candor and sensibility to all her roles, Hall, 33 year old Londoner has been a part of some sensational and seasonal flicks such as Transcendence (with Johnny Depp), Iron Man 3( Robert Downey Jr.) and Vicky, Christina and Barcelona.
Hall is a natural actresses and an instant charmer on the screen that delights one as much with her pleasing good looks and her mild mannered portrayals that light up the silver screen with a sense of passion and clarity in purpose, that are important composites of Rebecca’s acting methodology.
For some reason Rebecca Hall has to this stage of her enterprising career reserved a special fondness for sci-fi thrillers, which perhaps could also be borne out of her penchant for its testing terrain, but for whatever reason that she chooses to peg her name against the likes of action, sci-fi thrillers, one certainly doesn’t have a doubt on her potential. After all, she won the Ian Charleson Award way back in 2003 for a major theatrical production in England, when one hardly saw the huge string of action and sci-flicks as are made today nor many female stars who came to star in many.
13. Charlotte Rampling
Nearing 70, the Essex born screen enchantress is a hottie. We don’t mean to be rude. After all, English women appreciate chivalry more than anyone else.
Rampling was at one point of time Woody Allen’s great muse and a model par excellence but with age came those wrinkles that with all their perseverance did little to derail Rampling’s seasoned charms to go off screen. Charlotte Rampling is not just one of the most successful English actresses of all times, matching the likes of contemporaries at her youth such as Julie Christie, but she is also a revered name in countries such as Italy, France and Germany.
In 2001’s Swimming Pool, the attractive 69 year old who was 51 then gave a young French Actress Ludivine Sagnier a run for her money whose bikini clad looks did little to dissuade the audience’s attention from the charmingly stylish Rampling whose best seller writer act morphed the size of the successful mystery in front of her charisma.
14. Tilda Swinton
Technically the only English actress out there who can easily and almost effortlessly carry of any kind of role, whether it is of an American Hippie tourist smoking her way to obscurity, a rock demi goddess who can enchant with her withering ways of living and being, there are few roles out there for Tilda, the 54 year old Londoner that can go unscathed from being charmed in totality by an actress of vast dimension and a voracious appetite for virtuosity.
But, there is a certain lack of warmth about Tilda and her rather cold ways of being that have often swelled her name in headlines that otherwise feel glad to hog on other smiling actresses. In hindsight, it only goes on to fuel an unrelenting sense of passion that she directs and reserves only for her movies and acting, not least for off screen shenanigans. Not the one to care if the media likes her or not, Swinton, who has to her credit a truly magnificent performance in The Beach (with Leo Di Caprio) as a pot smoking rebellious, low key hippie who had isolated herself into a no man’s island and one of her all-time best roles in Michael Clayton (2008) for which she won both the BAFTA and Academy Award for best supporting actress for her talented lawyer act.
Cold toward a media who hound her everywhere she goes and unrelenting in her picking of challenging roles which she masters with characteristic ease, many still don’t believe that what seemed like David Bowie in an epic music video recorded and produced by music icon Bowie himself in 2013, “the next day” was not Bowie but Tilda Swinton herself. She pulled out a blinder. Such anonymously mysterious is this talented supremo of English Cinema.
15. Rachel Wiesz
All seems to be right and perfectly functioning in harmony despite a bad day when you come to gaze past the lusciously good looking Rachel Weisz on screen.
The actress who broke million and a half hearts by marrying James Bond star Daniel Craig a couple of years back has evolved as a complete actress, growing her acting curvature that till the early 2000’s only thought of her as this magnificently good looking screen diva. Taking challenging and varied roles in offbeat movies such as About a Boy (with Hugh Grant, 2002) and The Constant Gardner (with Ralph Fiennes, 2005), Weisz finally decided to hurl back at her critics who had reduced her actress appeal to be caged in the starry aura.
Now a mother and a devoted one to none other than 007’s children, Weisz who still pulls off charming roles on screen with her god given looks, is finely balancing the personal and professional challenges with elan. But, one would say, we miss not seeing her too often on the screen. After all, its an English actress of great capability and intense poise that truly makes for a complete movie-going experience. Rachel, are you listening?