A huge movie star in search of movies big enough to hold her - that's Angelina Jolie (currently gliding through Maleficent in her cape) though she doesn't actually search. The actress shot to global fame in the late 90s when the one-two punch of a Gia and Girl, Interrupted won her plentiful nominations and trophies and admirers of all kinds both for her sizzling sexuality, oversized screen presence, and cartoon-like beauty. But the filmography isn't so hot. It's filled with hit movies but an inarguable lack of classics; she's always bigger than the movie.
The Beginnings (1982 & 1995-1996)
Kicking it off with a Hal Ashby (Lookin' to Get Out)? Not bad. Of course she was only 7 years old and having a significant movie star for a father helps. Her true debut is at 20 and she never stopped working for those next few years. It's really difficult to find retro posters from this period that don't retcon for DVD and pretend that she was already top billed. Usually she was further down the castlist like Without Evidence (1995) in which she was billed below two male leads who I've never heard of and Anna Gunn (still many years away from Breaking Bad)
Starlet On Fire (1997-1999)
Or roughly: The Breakthrough. I normally don't include TV movies in these posterized surveys but there's no disputing that Gia (1998) was hugely influential in Jolie going supernova. Isn't it hilarious now to look back on Playing God (when Timothy Hutton and David Duchovny were more bankable than Jolie!) or Playing By Heart and realize that Ryan Phillipe was paired with her as the "edgy" youngsters of the ensembles. Ryan Phillipe. Edgy.
The Movie Star (1999-2004)
After winning the Oscar for a film meant to return Winona Ryder to the top (Jolie would later be added to the poster in different ways) she is a pure headliner alternating big spectacle action films (which immediately became her forte) with attempts at other genres that didn't pay off as well. Romantic Comedy? Nope. Due to the nature of the 3 wide Posterized grid I couldn't end this section with both films but it's telling and fitting that she ended 2004 with two supporting roles and/or glorified cameos (Alexander & Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) that coasted on the sheer size of her presence rather than her gifts... as if she finally admitted that, yes, I'm basically the world's fleshiest most awesome cartoon even though no artist could have ever dreamt me up.
From here and ever onward she will remain a mega star but she gets significantly less prolific and her attention is obviously elsewhere. In 2004 she is single again (after divorcing second husband Billy Bob Thornton), a newish mother (she adopted her first born Maddox in 2002). Enter Brad Pitt, the complete trading in of her wild woman persona for humanitarianism superstar and a growing family.
The Intermittent Now (2005-2014)
A full decade in which Angelina only appears in 8 movies (most of them for bank to support her offscreen life) but I included Beowulf since she was doing more than just voicework and does (sort of) appear in it. Huge gaps inbetween films.
Her directorial feature debut In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011) got one of those buried Oscar-qualifying releases (it didn't take) but her sophomore effort Unbroken (2014) looks to be the one to give us the full sense of whether or not she'll become a significant director once she gives up acting (in 3...2...1...)
HOW MANY OF THESE 31 FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN?
Is it easy to choose a favorite?