12 Best Melissa Leo Movies You Must See

Updated April 15, 2018
9 min read

6. All the Way (2016)

All the way is a 2016 biographical drama film based on the events of the presidency of Lyndon B Johnson. The film is directed BY Jay Roach and stars Bryan Cranston as President Johnson, Melissa Leo as the First Lady and Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King. The film was broadcasted on GBP on May 21, 2016 and was warmly received by critics.

All the way covers a pivotal moment in the history of US history and manages to keep it engrossing. Bryan Cranston does a very good job of portraying a complicated man. Jay Roach handles the great script masterfully pages the film. Melissa Leo as the First Lady is also very good in the film.


5. Frozen River (2008)

Frozen River is a 2008 crime drama film written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The film follows two working class women who help smuggle in illegal immigrants from Canada. The film was widely praised and received two Oscar nominations: Best actress and Best Original Screenplay.

Melissa Leo carries the film like the veteran that she is. Too long has she been delivering in the background and Frozen she certainly does shine. The film is gripping and will keep you hooked from the opening scene. It is an original thriller that is suspenseful and a breath of fresh air.


4. Novitiate (2017)

Novitiate is a 2017 film starring Margaret Qualley Melissa Leo and Dianna Agron. It was the directorial debut for the direct Maggie Betts and the film went on to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Price and Betts won a jury award for her direction. The film follows a young woman (Qualley) who starts to question her faith as she trains to become a nun.

Novitiate is challenging and unsettling to watch but at the same time compelling to watch. Melissa Leo as the reverend mother is the soul of the film and anchors this fantastic story to new heights. The supporting cast is also impressive. Novitiate” is an intense, provocative drama about religion and its impact on those who embrace it as essential to their lives.


3. 21 Grams (2003)

21 Grams is the second part of Arriagas and Inarritus ‘Trilogy of Death, preceded by Amores Perris(2000) and followed by Babel.

Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu in the beginning of the century was not as well known as he is today. He however through films like this was showing signs of his brilliance and what was to come. Starring Naomi Watts, Sean penn, Benicio Del Toro, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Melissa Leo, 21 Grams revolves around the consequences of a tragic automobile accident. The three main characters each have ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ which are shown in nonlinear fragment.

21 Grams is an ambitious visionary project that strives for greatness and achieves it. The screenplay, direction and visual are all exquisitely executed. The film is gripping, haunting and challenges it’s audience. The three leading actors are all very strong especially Penn who shines with his sensitivity. All supporting casts are also worth mentioning and they are able to stand on their own.


2. Prisoners (2013)

Denis Vilueneuve is one of the most exciting director working today. The man has hit the ball out of the park in every given opportunity. Prisoners is one of his best films and that is saying a lot. The film has an all-star cast of Hugh Jackman, jake Gyllenhall, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo. Two small girls go missing and their fathers would stop at nothing to bring them back home.

Prisoners is a complex film in both plot and theme which is masterfully crafted. It’s a roller coaster ride that takes you through the twists and turns and leaving you open-mouthed at th end. Special performances from the leads(Jackman and Gyllenhall) who are at the very too of their game. Melissa Leo delivers an unsettling performance that is convincing and manipulative.


1. The Fighter (2010)

Directed by David O Russel, the fighter is a 2010 biographical film based on the story of Micky Ward. The film follows the tragic life of Wards family as he tries to escape the shadow and troubles of his brother and family. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Bales performance as the older brother Dickey was hugely praised and deserved so. I believe it is one of the besy performances of the century without a shadow of doubt. But I’m willing to bet that Mellisa Leo’s is equally brilliant and stands should to shoulder with Bale. The film is tragic, it’s funny and is surely capable of making one tear up. David O Russell is one director out there who never disappoints.

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