(Photo by Fox Searchlight/ courtesy Everett Collection)
Reese Witherspoon rose to prominence in the late 1990s, a receptive era for twisted comedies (Freeway), teen thrillers (Fear, Cruel Intentions), and quirky satires (Pleasantville, Election). And Witherspoon would become a household name just a few years later through box office hit comedies Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama.
Johnny Cash-biopic Walk the Line would net Witherspoon her first Best Actress Oscar nomination and win for her portrayal as June Carter Cash. Going for more indie-focused, challenging material in the immediate years afterwards produced mixed results, with the likes of Mud and Inherent Vice at the top of that cult-movie pile.
Water for Elephants and Wild (which earned her a second Oscar nom) have been her most recent film glories, but Witherspoon is fully occupied now with her production company, getting women-led television projects off the ground like Big Little Lies, Truth Be Told, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Morning Show. Meanwhile, a third Legally Blonde has long been in the works; for now, we’re ranking all Reese Witherspoon movies by Tomatometer!
Adjusted Score: 13.435%
Critics Consensus: Shrill and unfunny, Hot Pursuit bungles what should have been an easy opportunity to showcase Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara’s likable odd-couple chemistry.
Adjusted Score: 12.298%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 14.619%
Critics Consensus: An uninspired E.B. White adaptation that’s targeted at the very young.
Adjusted Score: 25.789%
Critics Consensus: Despite the presence of a large, talented cast, the jokes in Little Nicky are dumb, tasteless, and not that funny, and Adam Sandler’s character is grating to watch.
Adjusted Score: 28.394%
Critics Consensus: Devil’s Knot covers fact-based ground that’s already been well-traveled with multiple (and far more compelling) documentaries.
Adjusted Score: 30.192%
Critics Consensus: Despite a strong cast, this sour holiday comedy suffers from a hackneyed script.
Adjusted Score: 32.641%
Critics Consensus: A career lowlight for all three of its likable stars, This Means War is loud, clumsily edited, and neither romantic nor funny.
Adjusted Score: 35.228%
Critics Consensus: How Do You Know boasts a quartet of likeable leads — and they deserve better than this glib, overlong misfire from writer/director James L. Brooks.
Adjusted Score: 37.353%
Critics Consensus: Home Again gathers a talented crowd of rom-com veterans on both sides of the camera — all of whom have unfortunately done far better work.
Adjusted Score: 41.279%
Critics Consensus: This blonde joke is less funny the second time around.
Adjusted Score: 42.318%
Critics Consensus: Reese Witherspoon is charming enough, but the road to Alabama is well-traveled.
Adjusted Score: 56.591%
Critics Consensus: A Wrinkle in Time is visually gorgeous, big-hearted, and occasionally quite moving; unfortunately, it’s also wildly ambitious to a fault, and often less than the sum of its classic parts.
Adjusted Score: 44.97%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 47.496%
Critics Consensus: Fear has an appealing young cast, but their efforts aren’t enough to consistently distract from an increasingly overblown – and illogical – teen stalker story.
Adjusted Score: 51.94%
Critics Consensus: The impressive cast cannot rescue Rendition, which explores complex issues in woefully simplified terms.
Adjusted Score: 54.589%
Critics Consensus: A more likable Becky Sharp makes for a less interesting movie.
Adjusted Score: 57.004%
Critics Consensus: Though Penelope has a charming cast and an appealing message, it ultimately suffers from faulty narrative and sloppy direction.
Adjusted Score: 59.891%
Critics Consensus: This darkly comic drama and its attractive young cast are easy on the eyes, but uneven performances and an uninspired script conspire to foil Cruel Intentions.
Adjusted Score: 59.824%
Critics Consensus: Delightfully sweet like a lollipop, Just Like Heaven is a dreamy romantic comedy that may give you a toothache when it attempts to broach difficult end of life issues by throwing a cherry on top.
Adjusted Score: 59.88%
Critics Consensus: Oliver Parker’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic play is breezy entertainment, helped by an impressive cast, but it also suffers from some peculiar directorial choices that ultimately dampen the film’s impact.
Adjusted Score: 62.537%
Critics Consensus: It suffers from a frustratingly deliberate pace, but with nuanced performances from Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, and Reese Witherspoon to fall back on, Twilight can’t help but be compelling.
Adjusted Score: 66.064%
Critics Consensus: It’s a tale tastefully told and beautifully filmed, but Water for Elephants suffers from a pronounced lack of chemistry between its leads.
Adjusted Score: 74.667%
Critics Consensus: Though the material is predictable and formulaic, Reese Witherspoon’s funny, nuanced performance makes this movie better than it would have been otherwise.
Adjusted Score: 75.288%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Adjusted Score: 78.948%
Critics Consensus: Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted — albeit familiar — storyline that lives up to its title.
Adjusted Score: 80.031%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn’t approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Adjusted Score: 82.603%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material — and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Adjusted Score: 78.901%
Critics Consensus: A modern update on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Freeway is an audacious black comedy with a star-making performance from the young Reese Witherspoon.
Adjusted Score: 89.1%
Critics Consensus: Superior acting and authentic crooning capture the emotional subtleties of the legend of Johnny Cash with a freshness that is a pleasure to watch.
Adjusted Score: 90.174%
Critics Consensus: Filled with lighthearted humor, timely social commentary, and dazzling visuals, Pleasantville is an artful blend of subversive satire and well-executed Hollywood formula.
Adjusted Score: 89.91%
Critics Consensus: The Good Lie sacrifices real-life nuance in order to turn its true story into a Hollywood production, but the results still add up to a compelling, well-acted, and deeply moving drama.
Adjusted Score: 99.126%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully moving and emotionally resonant, Wild finds director Jean-Marc Vallée and star Reese Witherspoon working at the peak of their respective powers.
Adjusted Score: 90.741%
Critics Consensus: It’s sentimental, and some viewers may feel manipulated by the melodramatic final act, but The Man in the Moon offers a finely drawn coming-of-age story with an excellent cast — including Reese Witherspoon in her film debut.
Adjusted Score: 96.839%
Critics Consensus: Election successfully combines dark humor and intelligent writing in this very witty and enjoyable film.
Adjusted Score: 103.853%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by a strong performance from Matthew McConaughey in the title role, Mud offers an engaging Southern drama that manages to stay sweet and heartwarming without being sappy.