Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Helena Bonham Carter

With the upcoming release of "Dark Shadows" we decided to focus this week's list on one of the supporting characters in the film, Helena Bonham Carter. Bonham Carter began her acting career in the later stages of high school, but at the time wasn't sure if it was something she wanted to focus a career around. As a student, she got fantastic grades, and was ready for life at a prestigious college. She applied to Cambridge University, and based on academics alone, should have been admitted. But the school was afraid she would eventually drop out and pursue an acting career, so they denied her admission. Upon hearing the news, she decided forgo college entirely and focus on acting right away - I swear, I don't make this stuff up! You can't beat some of these stories though!


Though never married, Bonham Carter is in a committed relationship with director Tim Burton. They first met and became involved on the set of "Planet of the Apes" (2001). Since then, and including this upcoming installment, Burton has used Bonham Carter in six of his movies. Together for 11 years now, they have two children and, unconventionally, live in two separate houses right next door to each other. Johnny Depp, another Burton alum and close personal friend to both, is the godfather to their first-born child.

Helena Bonham Carter, who's been nominated for a handful of prestigious awards for her interesting and involved work - two Academy Awards, six Golden Globes, and two Screen Actor's Guild Awards - is still looking for her first win, as she's yet to take home an individual award. Regardless, there's little doubt that this actress has carved her unique stamp into the movie world, as her style and presence have followed her throughout her career.

Check out the lists for our favorite films from this actress after the break.


Alex Schopp -
This feels like a pretty generic list to me, but unfortunately I just haven't seen a ton of her movies. And of the ones I have seen, some of her roles weren't that prominent or I wasn't that interested in the film overall. I guess if you've never seen a film of hers though, these would be fine places to start.

     1. Fight Club (1999)
Seems like the only logical choice for me here. This was one of the first films where I came to know this actress, and her twisted, uncomfortable performance in this is one I'll always remember.
     2. The Harry Potter Franchise (2007-2011)
I probably care about this franchise less than most people at this blog, but having seen all of the movies, I think I can say that Bonham's character/performance is one of the better ones of this series. I enjoy her evil turn more so than I think I do any of the main characters.
     3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
I generally like Johnny Depp, but I didn't particularly care for him in this film. Bonham Carter's character made this movie for me. I'm not saying I loved it anyway, but she was the best part about this movie in my opinion.
     4. Conversations With Other Women (2005)
Not the most amazing "romantic comedy" ever, but it's a little more unique than your standard fare. Both Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter are good in this artistic interpretation for the genre, and the camera work and direction in this is unique, even if when watching you think it's a little gimmicky.
     5. Big Fish (2003)
She's not in this movie a lot, but her performance is still quite good. Plus if you're lookin' for a movie to make you tear up, the ending of this one should get ya there every time.

Ben Foutch -

     1. Fight Club (1999)

     2. Novocaine (2001)

     3. Big Fish (2003)

     4. Frankenstein (1994)

     5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)



Derek Clem -


     1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Not only does she show some impressive singing chops, I think she's hot in this movie.
     2. Planet Of The Apes (2001)
While the movie itself isn't so great, the makeup is phenomenal! and she's able to act right through the prosthesis.
     3. Novocaine (2001)
She'll crumble all you have going for yourself. You gotta have strong will if you're gonna mess with this character.
     4. Fight Club (1999)
I could be wrong, but I feel she exemplifies heroin chic with this character.
     5. Big Fish (2003)
I like that you're never really able to get a grasp on this character's personality or her opinions on the events that play out in the movie. I always read her as very cryptic.

Nathan Hinds -
I actually haven't seen as many films with her in them as I though I had, which was surprising because I've considered her one of my favorite actresses for awhile now. If I were making my list in the truest form, Harry Potter films 5-8 would all be on the list; but I'll narrow it down to just one for this exercise (well, kind of).

     1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010/11)
She really played this role perfectly. And as much as I hate her character for killing Dobby, she is arguably the best villain in the entire series - and yes, that includes Voldemort.
     2. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
I'll second what Derek said, she was looking great in this film.
     3. Big Fish (2004)
Actually I just think she's attractive in everything (minus "Terminator: Salvation"). Something about her just does it for me. Besides that though, this is a phenomenal movie. That ending is rough on the ol' tear ducts.
     4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
While I like the original film more due to nostalgic value, the Tim Burton version is a better adaption of Roald Dahl's book.
     5. Fight Club (1999)
I like this movie, But I do think it's a bit overrated. Still, no complaints about Bonham Carter's performance in the film; she was one rockin' chick.

Andy Schopp -
Nice little package of films here from an actress who always puts up an enjoyable performance! I hope she keeps up her career but tries to broaden her spectrum a bit. There's nothing wrong with playing to a niche, but I think she can be even better.

     1. Fight Club (1999)


     2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010-2011)

     3. Big Fish (2003)

     4. The King's Speech (2010)

     5. Terminator Salvation (2009)



So there we have it. Some of the best films of Helena Bonham Carter's career through the eyes of each of us here at the Slackers Selection Movie Blog. Even with as small of a sample size as we had for this list, it was still a better grouped showing than I might have expected. There were certain stand-outs of course, but interestingly, each writer had at least one film that didn't appear on any other lists. So while the repeats stand-out as the very best for this actress, the individual appearances really show more of the character and personality of each of us as individuals. Pretty neat.

Anyway, let's get to those winners. Two films actually appeared on all five lists: "Fight Club" and "Big Fish". "Fight Club" had the strongest overall showing, with an average ranking of 2.4. Interestingly, it appeared at the number one spot on three lists, but on the other two it barely scraped the top five. It just goes to show that while all of us thought it a good enough film to make our lists, there are otherwise some polar views. The other five-list film, "Big Fish", also was a favorite, but had an average ranking of 3.8, appearing at the lower end of most lists - not a big surprise given her smaller amount of screen time. Still a great film and a quality performance though.

Outside of those, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" appeared on four of the five lists, while films from the Harry Potter franchise hit on three (there are technically some different films - and vague selections overall - but we lump these together because they all featured her as the same character). Otherwise, one film, "Novocaine", showed up on two lists, as the only other film with multiple selections.

Hopefully all of these selections help you to expand your knowledge on some of the best, most entertaining films from Helena Bonham Carter's repertoire, and guide you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!