Drew Barrymore's Birthday: Her 15 Best Movies Ranked

Drew Barrymore's Birthday: Her 15 Best Movies Ranked Newsweek

Born on February 22, 1975, Drew Barrymore was a charming screen presence from the get-go, finding fame in 1982 as the adorable Gertie in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Since then, she's evolved her offbeat charm though four decades of cinema—dark, experimental roles in her teens, indie hits in her 20s and romcoms in her 30s.

Now in her 40s and a settled mother-of-two, she's joined most of Hollywood in the TV streaming golden age, starring in the Netflix horror-comedy Santa Clarita Diet.

It's amazing she made it this far. By age nine, Barrymore was partying and taking drugs with her mother in Studio 54. At just 13, she began an 18-month stay in hospital, battling drug and alcohol addiction. When she left, Hollywood saw her as a teenage has-been. But when she hit her late teens, she was able to capitalize on her bad-girl image in edgy, sexy movies like Poison Ivy and Guncrazy.

From there, she moved from playing bad girls to playing complicated women, in classics like The Wedding Singer and Never Been Kissed. Far from being a tragic case study of child stardom gone awry, Barrymore's effervescent screen presence and work ethic led her to star in at least one film every year between 1991 and 2010.

The pause in her schedule may have been due to her pregnancy—she gave birth to her first child, Olive, in 2012. Since then, she's slowed down and gravitated towards television roles. In 2015, she told The Guardian she would not let her own kids become child actors: "They are going to be so safe and so loved that they won't need a film set to make their life better," she said.

As she turns 44, Newsweek has collected data from critical review websites Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb to find her 15 most critically acclaimed movies so far.

01 Music and Lyrics
Warner Bros.

15. Music and Lyrics (2007). Total score: 61.25%. IMDb users: 6.5. Metacritic: 59. Rotten Tomatoes: 6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.4.
Directed by: Marc Lawrence. Starring: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Scott Porter, Matthew Morrison.
Plot summary: A washed up singer is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for an aspiring teen sensation. Though he's never written a decent lyric in his life, he sparks with an offbeat younger woman with a flair for words.
What the critics said: "After the plethora of alleged comedies we've been getting lately, this feel-fine rom-com with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore is a perfect warm-hearted, heart-shaped antidote to the winter blahs." Rex Reed, Observer.

02 Boys on the Side
Warner Bros.

14. Boys on the Side (1995). Total score: 61.375%. IMDb users: 6.4. Metacritic: 61. Rotten Tomatoes: 6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.2. 
Directed by: Herbert Ross. Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker, Drew Barrymore, Matthew McConaughey. 
Plot summary: A road movie focusing on three women who grow to love each other on the way to Southern California.
What the critics said: "An engagingly acted, likable, fried green Thelma & Louise." Rita Kempley, Washington Post

03 Miss You Already
Roadside Attractions

13. Miss You Already (2015). Total score: 62.375%. IMDb users: 6.8. Metacritic: 59. Rotten Tomatoes: 6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.7. 
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke. Starring: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper. 
Plot summary: The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill.
What the critics said: "Barrymore and Collette bring life and charm to a screenplay that needs all the life and charm it can get." Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

04 The Wedding Singer
New Line Cinema

12. The Wedding Singer (1998). Total score: 62.625%. IMDb users: 6.8. Metacritic: 59. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.2. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Frank Coraci. Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor. 
Plot summary: Robbie, a singer, and Julia, a waitress, are both engaged, but to the wrong people. Fortune intervenes to help them discover each other.
What the critics said: "Sandler and Barrymore make a winning team. His lost-puppy look and her smile—the closest thing to sunshine in movies—are ideal for characters who are too shy to put the moves on each other." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

05 Cat's Eye
MGM/UA Entertainment Company

11. Cat's Eye (1985). Total score: 62.875%. IMDb users: 6.3. Metacritic: 70. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.1. 
Directed by: Lewis Teague. Starring: Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Alan King. 
Plot summary: A stray cat is the linking element of three tales of suspense and horror.
What the critics said: "The best screen adaptation of any [Stephen] King work since Brian De Palma's Carrie." Vincent Canby, New York Times

06 Big Miracle
Universal Pictures

10. Big Miracle (2012). Total score: 63.625%. IMDb users: 6.5. Metacritic: 61. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.3. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.6. 
Directed by: Ken Kwapis. Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, John Pingayak, Ted Danson, Tim Blake Nelson. 
Plot summary: In small-town Alaska, a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend—a Greenpeace volunteer—on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.
What the critics said: "Cold War-era bonding over whales? It would sound utterly absurd if it weren't based on fact. And that's part of what makes this movie fun for adults." Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

07 Scream
Dimension Films

9. Scream (1996). Total score: 67.875%. IMDb users: 7.2. Metacritic: 65. Rotten Tomatoes: 7. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.3. 
Directed by: Wes Craven. Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich. 
Plot summary: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.
What the critics said: "No one will ever consider Wes Craven's Scream Oscar fodder, but this funny and scary little experiment in terror from the man who invented Nightmare on Elm Street puts some fun back into a very tired genre." David Ansen, Newsweek

08 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

8. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002). Total score: 69.5%. IMDb users: 7.1. Metacritic: 67. Rotten Tomatoes: 7.2. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.4. 
Directed by: George Clooney. Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Michael Cera, Maggie Gyllenhaal. 
Plot summary: An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman.
What the critics said: "Maybe the title should have been Confusions of a Dangerous Mind, though the confusion, in this case, can be pretty sublime." Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer.