Emily Blunt’s Birthday: Her 20 Best Movies Ranked

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Newsweek

British actress Emily Blunt, who turns 36 today, was born in London on February 23, 1983, the daughter of a barrister and an actress.

Since starring opposite Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada in 2006 at the age of 23, she has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest draws, with recent leading roles in The Girl on a Train, A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns.

Blunt found fame by accident while acting alongside her school supply teacher, Adrian Rawlins (also a professional actor who played Harry Potter’s father in the franchise.) Rawlins invited his agent to watch the production at the Edinburgh Festival, who then signed up Blunt.

She told Harper's Bazaar: "I didn’t have a desire to pursue acting and I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t fallen into it. Crazy, isn’t it? But that’s probably why I ended up booking jobs, because I didn’t have any nerves. It was very charmed—rather embarrassingly, in fact."

She made her film debut in 2004’s My Summer of Love, playing a privileged teenager who begins a doomed relationship with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Then came Hollywood and Prada. Big movies such as Charlie Wilson's War, The Young Victoria and Looper soon followed.

Blunt receives almost universal praise for her performances. In the 2014 action movie Edge of Tomorrow, Variety called her performance “alert, energized and emotionally present,” despite her thin role. “One of the year’s best performances,” said The New York Post of her part in the musical Into the Woods from the same year.

Since then, she and her husband, actor John Krasinski, have become Hollywood’s hottest power couple. Both starred in 2018’s breakout hit, the Krasinski-directed horror movie A Quiet Place, which made many times its tiny budget at the global box office.

Her recent role as the titular cheerful nanny in Mary Poppins Returns received more praise, despite initial scepticism that anyone could match Julie Andrews’s iconic performance as the character. “Gliding down from the clouds, she’s practically perfect in every way,” gushed Variety in their review of the film.

Director Rob Marshall hinted to The Sun that another Poppins sequel could be on the way—"It is early stages but I will say right now that there were eight books, so there’s a lot of great material still to mine," he said. At the moment, Blunt’s only confirmed upcoming role is in the adventure movie Jungle Cruise, in which she plays a scientist alongside Dwayne Johnson.

To celebrate her birthday, Newsweek has analyzed data from review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank all of her movies from worst to best.

01 The Girl on the Train
Universal Pictures

20. The Girl on the Train (2016). Total score: 54.4%. IMDb users: 6.5. Metacritic: 48. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.4. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.2. 
Directed by: Tate Taylor. Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney.
Plot summary: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.
What the critics said: "The only reason to endure this dismal story is to watch Blunt strut her stuff." Bruce Kirkland, Toronto Sun

02 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
CBS Films

19. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011). Total score: 62.3%. IMDb users: 6.8. Metacritic: 58. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.2. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Lasse Hallström. Starring: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked.
Plot summary: A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.
What the critics said: "The appeal of the film depends on the charm of Mr. McGregor and Ms. Blunt, whose polite but discreetly charged connection is the story's emotional center." Stephen Holden, New York Times

03 The Five-Year Engagement
Universal Pictures

18. The Five-Year Engagement (2012). Total score: 62.5%. IMDb users: 6.2. Metacritic: 62. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.2. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.3. 
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller. Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie.
Plot summary: One year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together.
What the critics said: "At best, The Five-Year Engagement is very well played by its leads and supporting characters. You can't go wrong with Segel, Blunt, Pratt and Brie." Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

04 The Jane Austen Book Club
Sony Pictures Classics

17. The Jane Austen Book Club (2007). Total score: 63%. IMDb users: 6.8. Metacritic: 61. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.1. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Robin Swicord. Starring: Kathy Baker, Hugh Dancy, Amy Brenneman, Maria Bello, Amy Blunt, Maggie Grace, Jimmy Smits.
Plot summary: Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships—both old and new—begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.
What the critics said: "The Jane Austen Book Club is worth watching primarily for Blunt, the delicious scene-stealer from The Devil Wears Prada." Lou Lumenick, New York Post

05 Sunshine Cleaning
Overture Films

16. Sunshine Cleaning (2008). Total score: 63.8%. IMDb users: 6.9. Metacritic: 61. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.4. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.3. 
Directed by: Christine Jeffs. Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin.
Plot summary: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business—a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service—with her unreliable sister.
What the critics said: "Adams and Blunt rise above the clunky premise and execution to once again demonstrate why they've become the go-to girls for any director seeking smart, versatile and warm-blooded talent." Peter Howell, Toronto Star

06 The Great Buck Howard
Magnolia Pictures

15. The Great Buck Howard (2008). Total score: 63.9%. IMDb users: 6.5. Metacritic: 63. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.5. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.3. 
Directed by: Sean McGinly. Starring: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Tom Hanks, Emily Blunt, Ricky Jay.
Plot summary: A young man, much to the chagrin of his father, becomes the new assistant to an illusionist in decline.
What the critics said: "The cast is speckled with lively souls like Steve Zahn and Griffin Dunne, but the only person who wakes the movie from its slumbers is Emily Blunt." Anthony Lane, 
New Yorker. 

07 Dan in Real Life
Walt Disney

14. Dan in Real Life (2007). Total score: 64.6%. IMDb users: 6.8. Metacritic: 65. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.2. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.4. 
Directed by: Peter Hedges. Starring: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Alison Pill, Dianne Wiest, Emily Blunt.
Plot summary: A widower finds out the woman he fell in love with is his brother's girlfriend.
What the critics said: "If what you want is a star-driven sophisticated romantic comedy that is successfully aimed at actual adults, the wait can seem like forever. Until now." Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

08 The Adjustment Bureau
Universal Pictures

13. The Adjustment Bureau (2011). Total score: 64.9%. IMDb users: 7.1. Metacritic: 60. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: George Nolfi. Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Lisa Thoreson.
Plot summary: The affair between a politician and a contemporary dancer is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.
What the critics said: "The on-screen pairing of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is so winning that you may be willing to overlook the oddly modulating tone of the story that brings them together and then tries to keep them apart." Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

09 The Devil Wears Prada
Twentieth Century Fox

12. The Devil Wears Prada (2006). Total score: 66%. IMDb users: 6.9. Metacritic: 62. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.7. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.6. 
Directed by: David Frankel. Starring: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Adrian Grenier, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci.
Plot summary: A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.
What the critics said: "The Devil Wears Prada is a clear case of able actors elevating an ordinary script, a movie that's as entertaining to watch as it's easy to predict." Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

10 Into the Woods
Walt Disney

11. Into the Woods (2014). Total score: 66.1%. IMDb users: 6. Metacritic: 69. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.2. 
Directed by: Rob Marshall. Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Johnny Depp.
Plot summary: A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
What the critics said: "Into the Woods thankfully retains most of its wit and bite, and showcases two of the year's very best female performances, from Streep and Blunt." Lou Lumenick, New York Post

11 The Young Victoria
Apparition

10. The Young Victoria (2009). Total score: 66.3%. IMDb users: 7.3. Metacritic: 64. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.5. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée. Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong.
Plot summary: A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.
What the critics said: "Blunt, her eyes sparking, her manner playful, smart, and proud, shines in the title role. If the film itself isn't brilliant, its star most definitely is." Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer.