All of Meryl Streep's Films Ranked from Worst to Best

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All of Meryl Streep's Films Ranked from Worst to Best Newsweek

If you're looking towards Hollywood for class, elegance and acting with a capital A, you don't have to look much further than Meryl Streep. The 69-year-old actress has become a byword for serious dramatic chops—thanks in part to her record 21 Academy Award nominations—as well as achieving Tom Hanks-levels of broad, solid likeability.

Before she was Meryl, she was Mary Louise Streep, the awkward, bespectacled daughter of an art editor and a pharmaceutical executive living in New Jersey. Wanting to fit in, she devised her first role of sorts, bleaching her hair and becoming a cheerleader. During her senior year, "she was elected homecoming queen, which was kind of the pinnacle," her biographer, Michael Schulman, told NPR. "It was kind of like winning best actress of her high school."

Although opera was her first love, Meryl got into acting while attending Vassar College, and after she graduated went on to study at the Yale School of Drama. She got her big break in 1978 when she was cast in war movie The Deer Hunter , the role which would earn her first of many Oscar nominations.

Hit drama Kramer vs. Kramer followed in 1979, and then The French Lieutenant's Woman in 1981. Critics were already noting her extraordinary range: "Meryl Streep is a chameleon, a leading lady who wants to play every sort of role," wrote New York Magazine at the time.

Her emotional performance and perfect Polish accent in 1982's Sophie's Choice won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Critic Roger Ebert wrote: "There is hardly an emotion that Streep doesn't touch in this movie, and yet we're never aware of her straining. This is one of the most astonishing and yet one of the most unaffected and natural performances I can imagine."

Streep faced a backlash in the mid-1980s, thanks to her $4m-per-picture salary—common for men but high for female actors—and the perception that she was overly-serious.

Yet Streep defied critics by going on to have a long and varied career. She proved that she could do levity in comedies such as Defending Your Life , and managing to find strong, interesting and even sexy roles well past middle age in The Devil Wears Prada and It's Complicated —again, common for men but unusual for female actors.

Ahead of the release of her latest work— Mary Poppins Returns, Little Women and The Laundromat—it doesn't look like she plans to slow down any time soon. Using data from critical review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, as well as user reviews from Amazon and IMDb, we've ranked all of Streep's films from worst to best.

01 She-Devil
Orion Pictures

52. She-Devil (1989) 
Total score: 56.2.
IMDb users: 5.5. Metacritic: (n/a). Rotten Tomatoes: 4.5. Rotten Tomatoes users: 2.6. Amazon users: 4.4.
Directed by: Susan Seidelman. Starring: Meryl Streep, Roseanne Barr, Ed Begley Jr. 
Plot summary: A surprisingly resourceful housewife vows revenge on her husband when he begins an affair with a wealthy romance novelist. Nominated for Best Actress Golden Globe.

02 Lions for Lambs
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

50 (tie). Lions for Lambs (2007) 
Total score: 58.4.
IMDb users: 6.3. Metacritic: 47. Rotten Tomatoes: 4.8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.1. Amazon users: 3.6.
Directed by: Robert Redford. Starring: Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford.
Plot summary: Injuries sustained by two Army rangers behind enemy lines in Afghanistan set off a sequence of events involving a congressman, a journalist and a professor.

03 Dark Matter
Myriad Pictures

50 (tie). Dark Matter (2007)
Total score: 58.4.
IMDb users: 6.1. Metacritic: 49. Rotten Tomatoes: 5. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3. Amazon users: 3.6.
Directed by: Shi-Zheng Chen. Starring: Meryl Streep, Ye Liu, Peng Chi.
Plot summary: Based on actual events, a Chinese university student responds violently when his chances for a Nobel Prize are dashed by school politics.

04 Before and After
Buena Vista Pictures

49. Before and After (1996)
Total score: 58.8.
IMDb users: 6.1. Metacritic: 49. Rotten Tomatoes: 4.8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3. Amazon users: 3.8.
Directed by: Barbet Schroeder. Starring: Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Edward Furlong.
Plot summary: Two parents deal with the effects when their son is accused of murdering his girlfriend.

05 Ricki and the Flash
Sony Pictures Releasing

47 (tie). Ricki and the Flash (2015)
Total score: 60.2.
IMDb users: 5.9. Metacritic: 54. Rotten Tomatoes: 6. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.1. Amazon users: 3.3.
Directed by: Jonathan Demme. Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer.
Plot summary: A musician who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom returns home, looking to make things right with her family.

06 Eveing
Focus Features

47 (tie). Evening (2007)
Total score: 60.2.
IMDb users: 6.5. Metacritic: 45. Rotten Tomatoes: 4.9. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.1. Amazon users: 4.
Directed by: Lajos Koltai. Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Claire Danes.
Plot summary: A drama exploring the romantic past and emotional present of Ann Grant and her daughters, Constance and Nina. As Ann lays dying, she remembers, and is moved to convey to her daughters, the defining moments in her life 50 years prior, when she was a young woman. Harris is the man Ann loves in the 1950s and never forgets.

07 Heartburn
Paramount Pictures

46. Heartburn (1986)
Total score: 60.6.
IMDb users: 6.1. Metacritic: 49. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.5. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.2. Amazon users: 3.7.
Directed by: Mike Nichols. Starring: Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels.
Plot summary: A food writer pregnant with her second baby finds out her husband is having an affair.

08 The House of the Spirits
Miramax

45. The House of the Spirits (1993)
Total score: 62.4.
IMDb users: 6.9. Metacritic: (n/a). Rotten Tomatoes: 4.8. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.6. Amazon users: 3.9.
Directed by: Bille August. Starring: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder.
Plot summary: A rancher, his clairvoyant wife and their family face turbulent years in South America in this adaptation of Isabel Allende's best-seller.