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11 Best Movies of Hilary Swank You Must See

October 2, 2017
8 min read

“One thing I’ve learned: you never know where life is taking you, but it’s taking you.” This quote holds true for almost every breathing soul on earth. It is taken from ‘Big Mouth & Ugly Girl’, a fantastic novel by Hilary Swank. The American actress is one of the most successful and revered actresses of her generation. Her versatility and a gnawing penchant for eliciting the extra-ordinary is uncontested and exemplary in nature. Swank is a two-time Academy Award winner, doing so in the span of almost a decade. Her perfect body structure and physicality are often downplayed and criticised.

In spite of this dogmatic opinioting, Swank’s incredible acting prowess stands tall and overshadows everything else. The way she changes emotions from one scene to the other isn’t found normally in the glistening corridors of Hollywood. Saluting this strong and independent woman, we decided to list some of her best work and apprise you of her unbridled talent. Here is the list of top 11 movies of Hilary Swank.

11. New Year’s Eve (2011)

I have no penance against entertaining films with a multi-layered plot. My friend Iqbal knows better. But do I like them? Of course not. ‘New Year’s Eve’ was a similar sojourn into the happy bliss that Christmas time brings in people’s life, except they approached it completely differently. An intersection of numerous different people from different walks of life. the film sees Hilary Swank in the role of Claire Morgan, the successful and elegant Vice President of the Times Square Alliance. Her hectic job of conducting the perfect ball drop on the eve of Christmas is further marred by incongruous workers and incapable officials. Her frustrated yet kind display of affection and warmth is sure to ruffle you up for the upcoming festive season.

10. You Are Not You (2014)

“So you see. That is where it all began That smile. That damned smile.” For once we’ll let Hannah Baker rest in peace. Since time immemorial we have been a witness to amateurish romantic-comedies. Very few dare to go outside the comfort zone of their viewer and shine like a star in the dark night. ‘You’re Not You’ at least dared, even though it faintly failed. The film employs a story that takes into focus an incongruous relationship between an ALS patient and the collegian hired assistant. Beauty has ramparts no one can destroy is a phrase that fits here like a hand in glove. The film over emphasises its metaphysical element, resulting in a languid narrative that moves at a glacial pace. Well written and brilliantly acted, it could have been so much better.

9. The Resident (2011)

In spite of the negative critique for the film, opinions were generally positive for Hiary’s performance. Swank is tasked with playing a single occupant of a flat, who suspects stalking and further ulterior motives in her deserted and transient apartment building. The film fails to create jaw-dropping and heart-throbbing crescendos, which are a commonality in thriller films. Its biggest let down though is its uneventful story with minimal twists. The bland narrative fails to conjure up the resilience and strength to outlast the fierce whip of time. Every dark cloud does have a silver lining.

8. The Homesman (2014)

I just don’t know what is it with Tommy Lee Jones and Westerns. This unabashed romance has resulted in some of the finest films made over the years, and some inspiring performances worth remembering. ‘The Homesman’ results in both of the above taking form. A frontier farm woman (Hilary Swank) saves the life of a claim-jumper (Tommy Lee Jones) and persuades him to help her escort three insane women to a safe haven in Iowa. The woman is faced with backlash and criticism from all fronts for taking up activities beyond her “character”. Swank’s extremely refined portrayal of a damsel in distress working excruciatingly hard to get out of it is supremely satiating and eventful. A treat fir you to savour and reminisce.

7. Red Dust (2004)

It is really bewildering how Hollywood generalises and stereotypes actors playing lawyers. Dressed classy and acting all poised, this reflection of a successful lawyer is nothing more than the dogmatic and restricted expectations of the people of a society of a protector of law. Swank plays Sarah Burcant, a noble and able lawyer, who ledges to assist rising politician Alex Mpondo in bringing the perpetrators of the aftermath of Apartheid in South Africa. She is simply flawless in her tirade against injustice, seamlessly transitioning in the thickly veined contours of her character. Her effortless charm and guile are successful in making the film a memorable one.

6. PS I Love You (2007)

Plainly, this one os not for the critics to spoil. It is one for you to savour and reminisce with your loved one, sitting under a starry night, with the moonlight crisply thirsting down in all its sheen. You get to see two Hilary Swanks: one, a grieving girlfriend, who is miserable and reckless in the ordinary business of life, and second: a carefree and strong single simpleton, cherishing the memories she made with the love of her life. Swank revels in both her roles with immense and spotless dexterity. The heart-felt film is a testament to the fact that all good films don’t necessarily have to be rated 90+ on Rotten Tomatoes. A wonderful effort!

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5. Conviction (2010)

Image result for hilary swank conviction

This affable pairing was a stroke of true genius. Their contradictory characteristics and mannerisms were vis-a-vis the face of the story. A visceral story of a sister trying to get freedom for her brother in conditions not conducive for fairplay, ‘Conviction’ stands out from two view points. First: it’s painstaking and determined tracing of Betty Anne’s journey through hell. Secondly, its strong exposition of unbreakable bonds between a sister and her brother in the face of macabre misery and misfortune. The movie’s exploration of the bad side of law is also commendable, with much of the praise directed towards the writing and the acting. A beautifully written and performed film.

4. Freedom Writers (2007)

This particular monologue shook the very flesh and bone in my body. The emphatic display of authority, resilience, and strong-will culminated in one of the most fierce and intense monologues in the history of celluloid. A social commentary on morality, racism, and white supremacy masquerading as a class-room and a teacher, ‘Freedom Writers’ s a frank, formulaic entry in the inspirational inner-city teacher genre, with an energetic Hilary Swank leading the appealing cast of unknowns. Her raw and brutal tirade against these social evils perforating in her class as Erin Gruwell is both a treat to watch, and a quick reminder of the way humanity is heading towards.

3. Insomnia (2002)

Swank was surrounded by royalty through out the movie. Al Pacino and Robin Williams hogged the limelight and the screen-time in perhaps the most un-Christopher Nolan film of all time. A redemption story about a retiring and ailing police officer, ‘Insomnia’ proves to be so much more. A small Alaskan village calls upon the intellect and experience of Will Domer, a veteran police detective, to investigate the murder of a teenaged girl. Assisting him is Elise Burr, a localite police detective, who idolises the former. The two trudge deep into the dark abyss of the girl’s life, revealing the darkest of secrets. Swank is self-assured and confident in her role. The level-headed display of calmness and dexterity at handling crimes is expounding and refined in stature. She never lets you feel that she is ambiguous, something which she is through out the movie.

2. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Swank’s imposing and flawed physical structure got her the part of Teena in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. It also fetched her first Academy award. She plays a transgender woman, who goes under sex change and relinquishes the identity of a girl, taking up the cloak of manhood. He becomes romantically involved with a single mom, who is unaware of her troubled past and her egregious problems with drug abuse. When it comes to her attention, everything changes. Often ridiculed for looking like a man , Swank took it in her stride, and actually played the part better than most men could have. Her subtle change of emotions and a tangible hold of self-consciousness were simply extra-ordinary. Not for one moment do you feel it is a woman playing the part. A brilliant performance, capped by the biggest prize there is: our hearts.

1. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Maggie (Swank) is an aspiring boxer. In lieu of realising her dream, she works a number of day jobs, including waitressing at a restaurant. She approaches a reclusive coach, Frankie (Eastwood), to coach her for the world championship. Frankie, recently heartbroken because of his favourite disciple leaving him for another, eventually agrees after constant rejections. Maggie is unstoppable under him, and eventually becomes the world champion. A deceitful punch by her opponent catches her unaware, and shakes up her life. The end scene especially was one of the most emotionally exhausting one in recent memory. Swank’s performance garnered her the second Academy award in her illustrious career, one which was truly and wholly deserved.

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