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Posterized: Tilda Swinton's Greatest Hits

by Nathaniel R

Alien movie star Tilda Swinton is one of the true glories of modern cinema, and she's playing multiple creepy roles this weekend in her third Luca Guadagnino picture. After starring for the Italian director in I Am Love and A Bigger Splash she's the MVP of his new spin-off riff (it's hardly a 'remake') of Dario Argento's classic hallucinatory horror film Suspiria.

What's more this is not even the first time the actress has played mutiple roles sometimes of multiple genders in the same picture (see also TeknolustHail Caesar, Man to Man, and Orlando). Since Tilda Swinton works so often, her filmography is over 70 movies long. That means we can't do a comprehensive Posterized lest we be here for literally hours working in Photoshop, so instead we've opted for Swinton's largest and/or most essential roles.

How many of these 21 key Tildas have you seen? The posters are after the jump...

Chapter 1 -Introducing Derek Jarman's Otherworldly Muse / Arthouse Sensation
CARAVAGGIO (1986) - her film debut
EDWARD II (1991) - Volpi Cup Best Actress, Venice. 

ORLANDO (1992) -EFA Nominee. The star-making role / first significant hit (adjusted for inflation it was a hit the size of something like Eighth Grade or Three Identical Strangers today)

Chapter 2 -Hollywood catches on but Tilda keeps it weird
THE BEACH (2000) - her first "Hollywood" picture
THE DEEP END (2001) - BAFTA/Globe/Spirit/OFCS nominations

YOUNG ADAM (2003) - BIFA Nominee
MICHAEL CLAYTON (2007) - Globe / Critics Choice /SAG / OFCS Nominee. Her Oscar & BAFTA winning role! We still can't believe our good fortune that such an unusual actress lucked out by the Academy being temporarily smart enough to seize their easiest opportunity to honor her.

Chapter 3 -As Movie Stars go she's the rarest kind: a true original
JULIA (2008) -OFCS nominee. Her greatest lead performance ?
I AM LOVE (2009/2010) - her greatest film?
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011) - BIFA/Globe/BAFTA/SAG/Critics Choice nominee. NBR & OFCS Winner

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2013) - Spirit Nominee.
SNOWPIERCER (2013/2014) - Critics Choice & OFCS Nominee. Her best villain
A BIGGER SPLASH (2015/2016)

Chapter 4 -The character actress you call to make your movie cooler
OKJA (2017)

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Reader Comments (32)

I've seen 13. Orlando, The Beach, and everything from Chronicles of Narnia to present. I lean towards I Am Love being a better performance than Julia, but we're splitting hairs when both are incredible. I love her broader work too, like in Snowpiercer or the (not listed) Burn After Reading.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

12 of these and 24 total. Her 2007-2013 period was remarkable, although when I first think of her I think of her performances in smaller, earlier productions (The Deep End, Edward II).

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I’ve only seen 10 of these. Obviously, I need to catch up on her earlier work.

My favourites are Only Lovers Left Alive, I Am Love, The Deep End, Orlando, and her marvellous turn as the Angel Gabriel in Constantine.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

There are some genuine masterpieces on this list but I tend to agree I Am Love has to take the top prize. That movie is transcendent. We did not deserve it in 2010 and we deserve it even less now, so it's good we take time every now and again to honor Luca and Tilda for all that they are and all they have have given us.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJes V.

Seen 14. I think i love A Bigger Splash more than anything else on the list, and her tripartite tour de force in Julia, I Am Love and We Need To Talk About Kevin in terms of performance. Regarding Michael Clayton, I think it might be her LEAST impressive performance.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

When I was a teen if she was in a film I routinely didn't watch it too boring and arty,I was into Julia,Sharon,Demi and Michelle in the early 90's but now she's the reason to see a film.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Sad to say I've only seen 13 of the film from above. All together I've seen 25 of her films. For me she is just so great that I see all her films. The biggest blindspots are Julia and her pre 2000 work with Jarman. It's still so great an actress of her uniquness somehow managed to win an academy award even if still it is her only nomination.

Wish there was room to mention her work in Trainwreck, Hail Caesar, & Moonrise. I do have hope that with the new Armando Copperfield film she returns to oscar similar to how Rachel Weisz seems likely to this year.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

Best actress working today. You never know what you're getting yourself into.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

Benjamin Button is the only film of hers I've seen theatrically.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

And Trainwreck. She was unrecognizable in the drag they had her in.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

She offers an unecognizeable cameo in Love is the Devil about Francis Bacon.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I'm seeing 'Suspiria' on Halloween night! Can't wait!

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

What about "Grand Budapest Hotel"?

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrezz

We don't deserve her

I've seen 12 + Trainwreck. How can you forget that one? Hilarious turn.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I LOVE her in Trainwreck. I could see a three hours long movie about that character

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Seen her in:
Orlando, The Beach, The Deep End, Narnia, Michael Clayton, I Am Love, We Need To Talk About Kevin, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Snowpiercer, Doctor Strange, Benjamin Button,

Orlando, Snowpiercer and I Am Love are my three favs with her so far

Want to see her in:
Young Adam, Edward II, Julia, A Bigger Splash, Suspiria

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

If you haven't watched her collaborations with Derek Jarman, put the computer down now and go watch them.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDan H

I have seen 3. I will not be going to see Suspiria because I am a scaredy-cat.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEz

She is also,though briefly, in Derek Jarman’s segment of Aria, worth watching anyway

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterToby Dammit

I've been a big fan of Tilda since Orlando. I know she would be one of those who won't disappear after won an Oscar (especially in supporting actress category). And I'm glad she shared one or two scenes with Meryl in Adaptation. Wish she would costar with Cate Blanchett in a two hander movie.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJack for Streep

It’s either Isabelle Huppert in The Piano Teacher or Tilda in Julia as the greatest performance of the aughts.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I think screenwriters need to stop writing parts with Tilda in mind.

Lately it's this parade of otherworldly, eccentric, visually noisy supporting parts capitalizing on how unusual and striking she is to look at. It's fun but it's beneath her and gets a little schticky. I hope I never have to watch her act through false teeth again.

Two of my favorite Tilda performances are Trainwreck and Michael Clayton: You could stick Demi Moore in either of those roles and they'd be just fine. In Tilda's hands, those characters are next level.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Except for Doctor Strange I was surprised that I have seen all her films in this list. While Julia, A Bigger Splash and Edward II are my favorites in the posterized list, she was also ultra convincing and totally idiomatic in Bela Tarr's The Man from London. That dinner confrontation was so real and intense without showboating. I thought she was first among equals in the rarely-discussed Stephanie Daley with strong support from Timothy Hutton and Amber Tamblyn. I like her performance here as a psychiatrist silently mourning for her own painful past. Plus she is not afraid to take teeny tiny small parts in films and elevate the scenes she's in, from Vanilla Sky to her disembodied presence in Zero Theorem. I will 'watch' Jarman's Blue for her (kidding, sorta).

Man, I love this woman as much as Isabelle Huppert.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Did Queen Tilda win best actress from TFE in 2010 for I Am Love?

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Claran -- no, she did not. The acting awards that year. I wish I had had room for 8 people in best actress that year.

October 27, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

My favorite actress!!! Always delivers, even in her paycheck gigs like Trainwreck and Narnia, and has proven there is no role and no genre she won't tackle. Absolutely fearless and I love that about her!!!

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatt St.Clair

I really want to see the new "Suspiria" which sounds insane.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

How have I seen 15 of them? And how is one of them not We Need to Talk About Kevin, which I keep meaning to see. She's a real trailblazer ... someone who really does her own thing. I like that about Tilda. No other actress has this filmography.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

I've seen nine of them. My fav is Michael Clayton, followed by We need to talk about Kevin and I Am Love. The greatest performances I think are in Orlando and Edward II. A special place in the heart goes to A Bigger Splash, it was shot in my home-island

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterP

I want Tilda Swinton to drop a mixtape because the lack of fucks that woman gives is legendary

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

I was barely a teen when I saw Orlando and was blown away by her. There’s no one else like her, thank God, and she has been such an iconoclast in nearly every way — from Edward II to Female Perversions to Julia to Okja. More, please. (I’d love to see a duet with Julianne Moore, and can’t wait for Suspiria.)

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

JULIA (2008) -OFCS nominee. Her greatest lead performance ? YES
I AM LOVE (2009/2010) - her greatest film? YES

November 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKurt

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