Best Lead Performance
by an Actress?

We can all agree that there have been some sensational lead actor roles in a wide variety of movies. I like Daniel Day Lewis in 'There Will Be Blood', and many like his role in 'Gangs of New York'. Marlon Brando or Al Pacino are a lot of peoples favorites in 'The Godfather'. Actors like Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman and a host of many others have performed great lead actor roles in many films.

Last night, I watched the movie 'Monster'. I had seen it once before when it came out and enjoyed it. I would later find out that Charlize Theron had won the best actress oscar for her lead role as the serial killer Aileen Wuoernos. So when I watched it this time, I wanted to really pay attention to it and truly appreciate Theron's performance.

Man! I was blown away by her level of acting in this movie! Just a really phenomenal performance. She was so good in Monster, that you really felt as a viewer that you knew exactly who Aileen Wuernos was as a person. I'm not just talking about being a serial killer, but how she socialized with people, what her mannerisms were, how she was in a relationship, how delusional that life had made her, etc...really great job by Theron.

Getting to the actual serial killing part in her role, she was able to draw a slight amount of sympathy for actually committing her first murder, being that she was almost raped and murdered herself. From that point forward throughout the movie, she commits numerous kills.

It was really impressive to see how she went from drawing sympathy and a small amount of forgiveness from the viewer for her first kill, to watching her just lose total control of what she was doing. As the film progresses, you get disgusted by her actions and the way she convinces herself that everyone she killed was deserving of it.

So, as I watched Theron play this role and was massively impressed, I thought to myself, 'this might be the greatest lead role by an actress in a movie that I have ever seen...' I then started thinking about other movies that starred a lead actress to compare against Theron's role, but at the time, for the life of me I couldn't think of a single one?

I thought it must be because most movies star a man, with a lead lady as an afterthought? -always playing 2nd fiddle to the lead male actor. Also, I realized that maybe most of the movies featuring a lead actress are primarily chick flicks that I've never seen because I'm a man. I really wanted to compare something to Theron's role, so after giving it some thought and consulting some other experts on the matter, I came up with a few decent comparisons.

Linda Blair starred in 'The Exorcist', which is arguably the scariest horror movie ever made. She was superb in a role much like Theron's in Monster. Both roles must've been extremely tough both mentally and physically.

Sandra Bullock is another amazing actress. She gets more fanfare for her role in 'The Blindside', however my favorite performance has to be her role in 'Gravity'. While both movies were great, I consider Gravity one of the best Sci-Fi movies of all time. Bullock was so amazing in that movie, and yes, she was the true lead and star of the film, not George Clooney.

Many people mentioned that Hilary Swank was great in 'Million Dollar Baby'. While I can't say that I personally disagree on Swank in that movie, Million Dollar Baby was never a film that I liked or enjoyed for a variety of reasons. Not sure why I disliked it so much...Maybe because it's a movie based on a chick boxer? It's like, who cares about a chick boxer?...just like who gives a crap about the WNBA? -maybe that's why I disliked it so much.

Ofcourse, I know those particular grievances are shortsided and the movie is about much more than a chick boxer and I'm in the minority when it comes to not liking the movie. One of these days I'll have to go back and rewatch it just to check out Swank's performance again.

I loved Pam Grier in 'Jackie Brown', not only was she sexy in it but she was great as that character. She didn't take any shit from anyone! I loved how she'd go back-and-forth with Samuel L. arguing where he'd be all like "damn woman!" -haha their combo together made for some great scenes.

The stoner chick in 'Jackie Brown' played by Bridget Fonda was great in her role as well. 'Jackie Brown' rules, and Pam Grier was awesome, but I must state that Samuel L. Jackson did almost seem to dominate the movie over Greer despite Greer's character's name being the title of the movie.

Who can forget Frances McDormand in 'Fargo'! Writing this article, I was thinking about women who were truly the lead character and played a phenomenal part and carried the movie without a huge male role in the movie that would steal the spotlight away.

McDormand in 'Fargo' was the sole, lead star in the movie and totally deserves her spot as a best performance by a lead actress ever. McDormand is so awesome in everything really, my favorite being 'Burn After Reading', but 'Fargo' is solely her movie and she blew it out of the water.

Uma Thurman in the 'Kill Bill' series was absolutely brilliant. I can't recall a movie beforehand in which a female starred in such a physically ass-kicking action role like Thurman's in Kill Bill. Growing up watching Kung Fu theater, Kill Bill 1&2 were an awesome throwback combined with Tarantino's unique style, dialogue, and crazy plot twists.

People say the recent 'Wonder Woman' movie is a similar action-packed movie with a sole female lead that stars Gal Gadot, but as of writing this I have yet to see the movie but look forward to it.

Finally, I needed to mention Nicole Kidman who starred in 'The Others'. I just added the bluray not too long ago to my collection. I've always loved this movie, and was again impressed when I recently viewed it. Kidman plays such a good role as the loving but stern mother to her kids. The movie has the creepy, tense feel to it where you can tell it really starts to affect Kidman's character.

Kidman has something about her where you think she'd make a good wife for a family. That's what really makes this movie work I think, because she goes from what you would imagine as the ideal wife to learning that she is really weak, and by the end of the movie you see how batshit crazy she is.

I don't mean to sound demeaning to women or anything, but I thought her performance really nailed what so many weak-minded women do in this world when life doesn't work out how they hoped, so they do something bizarre and horrible and kill their children. -and even after doing a horrible act, they deny it and would never believe that they would ever do something so monstrous or horrible...especially to their own precious children who they love more than anything in the world.

Anyway, I thought Kidman really nailed that type of normal but weak-turned-crazy adult female mother. Like I said, in The Others, the movie begins and your thinking 'she'd make a good wife and mother', and by the end you're like 'oh wow! -this woman has some serious issues'.

The movie The Others itself is really one of my favorite horror\thrillers, and I thought Kidman deserves a spot on the list for her role in the movie. Speaking of horror and thriller movies, a few other woman who should join Linda Blair and Nicole Kidman in a lead performance who deserve a mention are Julianne Moore in 'Still Alice', Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Halloween', and Mia Farrow in 'Rosemary's Baby'.

So after talking with many other cinema lovers and doing some research, we've compiled a pretty decent list of true female leads. Woman who gave the best possible performance of any actress. Click contact us and send an email with any suggestions and we'll add them to the list! As of now, I'm ranking Charlize Theron in 'Monster' as the best performance starring a lead actress of all time. I have her ranked number one. I look forward to the day when I view a film that compares or possibly even beats Theron's performance in Monster.