8. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) dir. Shekhar Kapur
In the mid-1580s, Catholic Spain, under King Philip II of Spain, is concerned about Protestant England under Queen Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett). Because he sees her influence extending beyond her country, he talks with the Pope and with his agreement builds the Armada. Elizabeth, getting pressured to marry and have an heir, refuses it, even though she knows that her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, would inherit the throne. The Armada tries to attack England, but they get hit by a freak storm, and the English defeat the Armada without losing a ship.
The Elizabethan period has proved to be popular in films, and this was no exception. Intrigue, backstabbing, and forbidden romance are all a part of this movie.
For her second performance as Elizabeth I of England, Cate did just as well as the first time, getting an Oscar nomination. But in this film she is more regal, and yet she shows more of her inner turmoil. She is by turns pragmatic, passionate and determined. But she can be a woman, especially in her scenes with Sir Walter Raleigh. It is a film to treasure and a must if you love Elizabethan England.
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) dir. David Fincher
In 2005, Daisy Fuller (Cate Blanchett) is dying in a New Orleans hospital. She asks her daughter to read from her friend Benjamin Button’s (Brad Pitt) diary. He was born in 1918 with a rare disease which makes him age backward. His mother died in childbirth and his father couldn’t take care of him, so he leaves the baby at a nursing home, where Queenie finds him and raises him as her own.
When he was twelve and she was six, he met Daisy for the first time. They are instantly friends and their paths cross over the years until they are about the same age when they start a romance. When she gives birth to his daughter, he leaves, knowing he can’t be a father. In the 90s she takes care of him in a nursing home until he dies.
A very well written movie, partly based on a 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this is filled with memorable characters and an unusual situation concerning the title character
Playing different ages throughout a film can be difficult, But Cate Blanchett makes it look easy. She also plays a variety of situations, romantic, sad, happy, or confused. It is obvious that she has great chemistry with Brad Pitt, who she has worked with before, most notably in Babel. This is a film for anyone who gets caught up in the magic of film making.
6. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003) dir. Peter Jackson
Cate Blanchett plays Galadriel, co-ruler of Lothlorien, who with Celeborn, offers shelter to the Fellowship. She tells Frodo he should continue alone, as the ring will corrupt the other members, but he does take Samwise. Galadriel also discusses the future of Middle-earth with Elrond. At the end she leaves Middle-earth with Frodo and the others for the Undying Land, as Galadriel knows it is time for the Elves to move on.
These three films were made simultaneously by Peter Jackson, so there would be plenty of time for post-production before the films were released.
Cate Blanchett, though part of a huge cast, still shines in the role of the Elvan queen. She is appropriately regal and world-weary, knowing that she and her people must leave Middle-earth. If you are a fan of fantasy movies, this is the series to watch.
5. I’m not There (2007) dir. Todd Haynes
This is a film about six stages in the life of Bob Dylan, played by six different actors. Jude Quinn is played by Cate Blanchett. This was basically as he was switching from acoustic folk to electric rock at a folk festival, where he was booed off stage. He also appears on another stage and then is seen having a severe motorcycle crash.
This was a highly original film, taking aspects and influences of Bob Dylan’s life and using actors to play those influences, from a young African-American boy named Woody, to act out Bob’s idolatry of Woody Guthrie, to Cate Blanchett as Joe Quinn, playing the early popular career of Bob Dylan.
This film is fascinating to watch, especially for Cate Blanchett’s amazing performance. It is uncanny how well she imitates his walk and his gestures. You truly feel you are watching a man play the role. Besides being nominated for Best Supporting Actress, she won a Golden Globe plus several critic’s awards. Don’t miss this film.
4. Elizabeth (1998) dir. Shekhar Kapur
In 1558, Mary I of England died of cancer, leaving the throne to her half-sister, Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett). Mary had had Elizabeth imprisoned for conspiracy, but now she has been released. She is urged by her advisors to marry, as that would secure her position. She received many suitors, but rejected them all.
She embarked on an affair with her childhood friend Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, but breaks it off, as he is married and Elizabeth refused to share power. She became noticeably tougher, and had her opponents killed. She ascended the throne as The Virgin Queen with her consort as England itself.
Much more than a historical drama, this is a film of drama and treachery, and the queen noticeably goes through many changes.
Cate Blanchett is a wonder in this role. She had big shoes to fill from earlier portrayals of Elizabeth, but she is more than up to the challenge. It is fascinating to watch her grow and harden throughout the course of this film. She was nominated for many awards for this role. It is well worth your time.
3. The Aviator (2004) dir. Martin Scorsese
The film details the early to middle life of Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his ambitions and inventions in aviation and films. It concerns his relationships, especially with the actress Katherine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), who helps him with his OCD, but she leaves him when she falls in love with Spencer Tracy. His OCD gets steadily worse, and he is embroiled in a court case with Pan Am. He rallies enough to win the case, but once more descends into OCD.
This is a detailed historical drama that plays like a thriller with some excellent flying sequences.
Cate Blanchett gives an excellent performance as Katherine Hepburn. She obviously studied the voice and mannerisms of the famous actress. The costumes and makeup are perfect, but it is not just a caricature. She gives a full bodied performance that helps to bring color to the whole film. She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the role, as well as several other film and critic’s awards.
2. Notes on a Scandal (2006) Dir. Richard Eyre
Barbara Covell (Judi Dench) is a history teacher in London. As a spinster, she has her free time taken up by her journal. She meets the new art teacher, Sheba Hart, and is attracted to her. However, she finds that Sheba is having an affair with a 15 year old student. She demands that Sheba break it off.
Sheba does, but refuses to spend all her time with Barbara. Her husband kicks her out and she stays with Barbara, finding the journal, which she tries to give to the press. Barbara is furious that Sheba has scorned her love. Sheba goes back to her husband but pays the price for what she has done.
A psychological thriller in the best sense, this film will keep you on the edge of your seat from first scene to the last, when we see Barbara practicing her whiles on a new woman.
Cate gives an intense performance in this film, playing a hunted animal, knowing what she has done is wrong, but feeling powerless. She first takes up with Barbara because she likes her as a person, before she sees what is underneath the exterior. For fans of thrillers and psychological dramas, this is a must-see.
1. Blue Jasmine (2013) dir. Woody Allen
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is on a plane to San Francisco, talking to herself the entire time. She visits her sister, Ginger, who claims to be broke but flies in first class. She cannot give up her old habits, and cannot stop obsessing over her late husband, a wealthy businessman who scammed many people, including her sister and first husband. Everything she tries to do to start afresh doesn’t work and she slips deeper into depression and mental illness.
Considered one of Woody’s best late period films, with a great cast and script, it was extremely successful at the box office and is a magnificent black comedy.
Cate Blanchett is absolutely astonishing in this role. She shows real pain and depression as someone whose life is spinning out of control but doesn’t know how to stop it. Not only did she win the Oscar for Best Actress, she won many national and international awards. You must see this film for this luminous performance.
Author Bio: Michael Giffey lives in Denver, Colorado. His family and friends say he is full of “useless information”. you can follow him at @giffeymichael on Twitter or on Facebook.