best film:  Sofia Coppola’s second feature Lost in Translation stands atop Scarlett Johannson’s list of best films. This lands Scarlett a lead (or co-lead) role in a top 100 all-time film. Under the Skin and Marriage Story are superb films- but cannot quite touch the aforementioned 2003 masterpiece.



Scarlett had been in Ghost World and The Man Who Wasn’t There– but safe to say the young actor (still under 20 years old at the time) was a revelation in Lost in Translation in 2003



best performance:     Lost in Translation. This is a subtle performance- much quieter than Bill Murray’s work in the same film, but their massive achievement is on the same level. It is nearly impossible to picture someone else pulling off the character of Charlotte nearly as well. Scarlett comes off as wise beyond her years and embodies the sort of quarter-life crisis- lost longing and pathos.



stylistic innovations/traits:  Scarlett is known as an accomplished, mature actor with that trademark deeper feminine voice (a long proud lineage going back to Lauren Bacall). She is yet another child actor turned star and gifted adult actor (like Natalie Portman and Elizabeth Taylor on this list). She worked opposite Robert Redford and others as a younger teen in the 1990s, but it was her breakthrough came in the early 2000s with four films in the archives before the age of twenty (20) including Lost in Translation. Scarlett’s strengths, for the purposes of this list, are those trio of films at the top of her list. That trio includes Sofia’s Lost in Translation, Under the Skin and Marriage Story.



from Marriage Story– a visual stunner is the Ingmar Bergman or Agnes Varda shot from La Pointe Courte with the three of them lying bed. Baumbach frames the faces beautifully. Scarlett is crying- the son is in between them. Another standout is a scene where Scarlett first meets with her lawyer played by Laura Dern. Noah Baumbach gives Scarlett a very long, unbroken take.  She has no makeup on, this is a raw and genuine performance with a rich characterization (combination Baumbach’s screenplay and great acting) and it is a nod to realism because it shows her going into the bathroom (all in one take still) and coming back after blowing her nose. This isn’t exactly the cooking scene in Umberto D in terms of realism but still, it grounds the film in that approach.




directors worked with:  The Coen Brothers (2), Woody Allen (2) and then the likes of Sofia Coppola, Christopher Nolan, Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer, and Noah Baumbach once. Woody and The Coen Brothers may lead the way here- but she is not a part of their best work. The important collaborations to date for Scarlett are Sofia, Baumbach and Glazer.




Scarlett’s 2013 is jaw-dropping. She is seen not heard in Glazer’s Under the Skin (pictured here), and in Spike Jonze’s Her it is exactly the opposite, she is heard but not seen. She is just awesome in both roles.




top five performances:

  1. Lost in Translation
  2. Under the Skin
  3. Marriage Story
  4. Match Point
  5. Her



archiveable films

2001- Ghost World
2001- The Man Who Wasn’t There
2003- Girl with a Pearl Earring
2003- Lost in Translation
2005- Match Point
2006- The Prestige
2008- Vicky Christina Barcelona
2012- The Avengers
2013- Her
2013- Under the Skin
2016- Hail, Caesar!
2016- Captain America: Civil War
2019- Jojo Rabbit
2019 – Marriage Story