Career Peak – The point in an actor, actress or director’s career when they have given their best performance, reaching a point they will probably never match again!
The idea is to examine a person’s film or television career and decide when their career peak was; the moment that they gave their best performance or produced their best work. This could be with their first movie; it could also be yet to come. It’s designed to spark friendly debate too so if you don’t agree (or do, which would also be good) then feel free to check them out and add your opinion.
There aren’t many careers as strange as Angelina Jolie’s. Many actors and actresses of the calibre of Mrs Jolie-Pitt have their defining performance, the one that made them Hollywood royalty. You’d expect that for an actress as well-respected as Jolie, that this would be a dramatic role, one of Oscar worthy contention but actually, it is a career that tells a different story.
Angelina Jolie – Career Peak: Mr and Mrs Smith
When you see Angelina Jolie you don’t necessarily think “action star” but when you look at her career, this is the bulk of what the actress has produced. It didn’t start this way, Jolie had a small, slowly building and developing career, with a dramatic and impressive role in Girl: Interrupted as the only real stand-out.
Girl: Interrupted even earned Jolie an Oscar win, for Best Supporting Actress, but this didn’t steer the direction of her career and the Millennium saw her become a genuine action star, starting with Fast and Furious’ poorer cousin Gone in Sixty Seconds and covering the failed franchise that is the Tomb Raider movies.
This wasn’t a bad choice. This is the path that made Jolie a genuine movie star and a household name that she uses to good effect today. When she strayed away from the action-movie limelight, she made forgettable movies like Original Sin or Life or Something Like It. These would not be the roles she was remembered for and it was always when she was holding a gun that she was most successful.
The mid-point of the 2000s bought her biggest movie success and the film which arguably made her the actress she is today (and changed her life). Mr and Mrs Smith showcases everything that makes Jolie so successful. She is kick-ass, funny, her chemistry with Brad Pitt makes the screen come alive (for obvious reasons) and you can’t help but notice how sexy she is in that movie too.
Regardless of the controversary surrounding the movie, Mr and Mrs Smith was the film that catapulted Jolie’s career and probably gave us the best at what she can do. She is a very good actress but always slightly out-of-reach and unconvincing as an “everywoman.” This feels like something which would hamper her acting career later.
There were attempts to move away from the action-star that Mr and Mrs Smith and Lara Croft has created but nobody really remembers her for The Good Shepherd or even her great performance in Changeling. This is why she still returns to films like Wanted or Salt, which cash-in on the persona she built with her role as Mrs Smith.
Of course recently she has become a director and this seems to be the direction her career has taken. No action movies as such but instead a slightly eclectic mix of movies. Documentaries, biopics and most recently an ill-judged venture with her husband show potential and where Mr and Mrs Smith is her acting career peak, maybe she is yet to have the peak for directing.
Overall, when you think of Angelina Jolie, you don’t instantly think action star but when you name her movies, Mr and Mrs Smith and Tomb Raider will be top of your list. There have been exceptions but she has never had that one dramatic movie which defined her, not in the same way that Mr and Mrs Smith launched her career into the A-List, Hollywood royalty that she is today.