Critic's Picks: 'The Family' Star Joan Allen's Top 5 Performances

10:00 AM 3/3/2016

by Sherri Linden

From 'The Ice Storm' to 'The Contender,' THR critic Sheri Linden ranks the best film work from the actress, whose ABC drama series debuts Thursday.

Contender Still - H 2016
Courtesy of Photofest

Contender Still - H 2016

  1. 5


    As the killer’s blind co-worker in Michael Mann’s thriller, Allen is the quintessence of vulnerability and sexual readiness — but the actress, who never oversells her characters’ plights, makes her much more than that.

  2. 4

    The Crucible

    As Elizabeth Proctor, Allen creates a figure of silent accusation and anguished self-reproach in this adaptation of the Arthur Miller play about the Salem witch trials, co-starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.

  3. 3

    The Contender

    Allen scored an Oscar nomination for her performance as a senator being vetted for vice president, finding a flinty complexity in what might have been a sentimental heroine.

  4. 2

    Off the Map

    Allen expertly anchors this movie about an odd New Mexico family, playing a woman who must navigate the uncharted emotional terrain around her restless daughter, depressed husband and a smitten IRS agent.

  5. 1

    The Ice Storm

    As a Nixon-era Connecticut housewife with a cheating husband (Kevin Kline), Allen is exquisitely contained, embodying the awkward grace and indefinable ache that suffuse this masterpiece by Ang Lee.