Julia Roberts’ Best Thrillers & TV Shows

No doubt about it, Julia robert is an icon of romantic comedies, but she also has a whole curriculum vitae in the thriller genre. Alongside prominent men such as George clooney and Denzel WashingtonRoberts is more than up to the task of taking on a government cover-up or two. His characters do not back down. They have the tenacity to make sure the end of the game works in their favor.

The secret ingredient just might be her charisma. She’s known as America’s Sweetheart for a reason, returning to her starring role in A pretty woman. If she can end up in a bad mess, maybe we all can. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping than watching to see how she comes out of a dire situation. Whether it’s sci-fi horror or a domestic thriller, you have to put down roots for Julia.

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Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Image via STXfilms

This remake of an Argentinian film, itself adapted from a novel by Eduardo Sacheri, puts Roberts in a very dark place. The story is moved to the United States, set in 2002, with the scars of September 11 still fresh. Jess Cobb (Roberts) is an investigator with the LA prosecutor’s office, who learns that her daughter has been murdered. When the suspect is brought in, justice is not so easy.

Nicole kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor are several of the other big names getting involved in the survey. Darker than his other thrillers, happy endings cannot be found without a strong bitterness. The themes of government corruption from the original film are altered to show the aftermath of 9/11 when counterterrorism units designed to protect citizens may have been doing the opposite.


Flat lines (1990)

Image via Columbia Pictures

What happens after death? Five medical students decide to come up with their own answer, and the title of the film tells you how they’re going to do it. Each takes a flat turn and essentially dies, allowing their bodies to suffer clinical death. Alongside Roberts in this one are well known faces like Keifer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, and for such an extreme premise, the remaining story needs an extra dose of something. So, as he debuts in the sci-fi genre, he soon leans more towards horror. Maybe some questions should go unanswered.

With the director Joel schumacher at the helm, it’s an elegant ride through spooky territory. More shocking than uncovering the secrets of the afterlife might very well be the fact that this was hardly a project Roberts signed on for. Schumacher really wanted her on board, but someone else was about to take over the role. This would have been another young actress in the making at the time, none other than Nicole kidman. Roberts ended up in the role, but Kidman did pretty well, creating his own legacy of acting in Hollywood.

Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Image via Warner Bros.

Mel Gibson plays Jerry, a New York cab driver on the verge of a nervous breakdown. What keeps it going is the same thing that makes it fall apart. Conspiracy theories are a part of his diet, the kind of “theories” that deal with global events triggered by shady government involvement. But it turns out that one of them is true. He enlists the help of Department of Justice lawyer Alice Sutton (Roberts) and the mad rush continues to get crazier and crazier.

It’s a movie that has a long way to go, very closely resembling Jerry’s state of mind. It includes MKUltra, the very real CIA human experimentation program often used by fiction writers to push the boundaries of what happened and what worked. He has Mr. Patrick Stewart in a sinister role as a psychiatrist that stands at the opposite end of the moral compass from her famous role as Professor X. And through it all, Alice is here to believe Jerry’s rants the best she can , but more importantly, try to stay alive herself.

Money Monster (2016)

Image via Sony Pictures

Roberts teams up with her Eleven from the ocean costar George clooney and the duo is led by Jodie foster in the fourth effort of the actress. Playing a Wall Street TV host, Clooney and his producer (Roberts), along with their team, are held hostage by a rabid young janitor (Jack o’connell) who lost everything based on a tip from the show. Socio-economic problems are brought to the screen and the motives for the central crisis are obscured.

While the two big stars spend more time offscreen from each other than onscreen, this distance takes advantage of the easy repertoire that separates them. The film plays on “real-time” suspense as the two try to find a way to broadcast the escalating crisis through a headset.

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

sleep with the enemy
20th century fox

Laura Burney (Roberts) finally breaks free from her abusive husband, faking his death and leaving picturesque Cape Cod behind. With her new identity as Sara Waters, she moves to Iowa and slowly builds a new life for herself. But it’s a thriller, the good things at the start don’t last long. This is the movie that ended Alone at homeIt’s 12 weeks long at the top of the box office. It even broke records for the highest national opening of a film with a female lead.

Being only his second film in a leading role since A pretty woman, it was a much different story than the classic romantic comedy. But a certain attraction was still there. You are rooting for her characters and this is more crucial than ever for Laura / Sara, who must escape horrific domestic violence.

The Brief Pelican (1993)

Image via Warner Bros.

From the director Alan J. Pakula (All the president’s men), comes another political thriller. But if his past works in the genre turned out to be too slow for you, maybe it could grab your attention. The main mystery reaches the highest level of the United States government and in doing so has a more dramatic flair than Pakula’s other more grounded thrillers. There are a lot of famous faces in the cast alongside Roberts, from Denzel Washington to John lithgow. But bringing in Roberts is crucial for the character she plays.

As Darby Shaw, Roberts is a graduate student who confidently launches into researching an article, then just as quickly becomes anxious that it was for nothing. Of course, this is anything but the truth. She is caught up in a plot with assassins and car bombs, forcing Darby to realize that she can’t easily trust anyone.

Homecoming: Season 1 (2018)

julia-roberts-back to basics
Image via Amazon

Each of the ten episodes of this show was half an hour or less in length. This little love letter to paranoid 70s thrillers, directed by Sam esmail (Mr. Robot), was also something special. With Roberts in the lead role of Heidi Bergman, he had fun going against the grain of what fans expect. Her charisma is drained of its energy during the “flash forward” segments of the story, remaining mostly in the “past”. It even brought his sweetheart to the screen Dermot mulroney from The wedding of my best friend but stripped of the romance between them.

By playing two versions of Heidi, one where she is in control and one where she is not, Back home just might be the best thriller she’s done that shows her lineup as an actress. Heidi can be warm and inviting, then distant and self-loathing. The central mystery picks up speed with each episode, offering twists and turns until the finale. But the best part is trying to find out if Roberts might not be one of the good guys this time around.

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