The Good, The Bad & The Badass: Emily Blunt

Last week, we devoted the column to the late director Curtis Hanson. This week we move back in-front of the camera to examine the filmography of one of the most exciting young actresses in the biz...
Emily Blunt
emily blunt sicario

Very few recent stars have had as interesting a career trajectory as Emily Blunt. Having made a huge impression as Meryl Streep’s bitchy English-accented assistant in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Blunt, who showed impeccable comic timing in the part, became a hot property. Legend has it, Blunt was the first choice to play Black Widow in IRON MAN 2, but was held to a contract and forced to appear in the now-forgotten Jack Black vehicle GULLIVER’S TRAVELS instead. While she missed out on being part of the Marvel franchise, in the end Blunt’s career did just fine, despite a few years spent mostly as window dressing in movies like THE WOLFMAN and THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU.

emily blunt the devil wears prada

Clearly not content just playing “love interest” type parts, Blunt took on some very atypical, earthy parts, including a very memorable turn in Lynn Shelton’s YOUR SISTER’S SISTER, and Rian Johnson’s LOOPER. Even still, I doubt anyone was prepared for Blunt’s unpredictable transformation into a major action heroine thanks to her part in Doug Liman’s EDGE OF TOMORROW. While only puling-in middling box office despite rave reviews and the fact that everyone who actually saw it wound up loving it, Blunt’s part as Rita, an alien-fighting heroine, was clearly a career changer for her. Perhaps the best sci-fi heroine since Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, Blunt was unforgettable, despite the fact that before it came out no one would have pegged her as an action-type actress. Boy did she prove us all wrong!

emily blunt edge of tomorrow

EDGE OF TOMORROW led to an even more impressive heroine turn in Denis Villeneuve’s SICARIO, which seemed to be the part to finally allow her to crack the A-list, with her headlining this week’s highly anticipated THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN - and her success is well-deserved.

Her Best Work
emily blunt sicario

While I think EDGE OF TOMORROW was the movie that proved to everyone what Blunt was really capable of, it’s trumped somewhat by SICARIO. As great as EDGE was, it was Tom Cruise’s movie - but SICARIO is all hers. As the only morally clean one of the star trio, rounded-out by Josh Brolin and an unforgettable Benicio Del Toro, Blunt is tough but vulnerable. Basically, she’s the audience surrogate, and it’s through her that Villeneuve’s trip through the cartels makes a major impact. Blunt has a few really great action beats, including a pulse-pounding encounter with Jon Bernthal, but the ending, when the futility of the war on drugs and the ultimate complicity of the “good guys” becomes clear ranks among the most sobering of all time. Through it all, her performance in incredible, and it was a shame she didn’t cop an Oscar nomination as she deserved one.

Her Most Overrated Film
emily blunt into the woods

One step forward, one backwards. The same year she got to play a total badass in EDGE OF TOMORROW, Blunt wound-up in the thankless part of “The Baker’s Wife” in Disney’s INTO THE WOODS, one of the absolute worst musicals in recent memory. It’s not that Blunt’s performance wasn’t good - she’s always solid. But, whatever magic happened to make this property such a beloved Broadway smash did not translate at all to film, and watching this rack-up award nominations at the end of 2014 was depressing, as it was pretty dire.

Her Most Underrated Film
emily blunt jason segel the five year engagement

I always though Blunt’s rom-com pairing with Jason Segel in THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT was unfairly overlooked by audiences. A thoroughly charming, smart rom-com in the classic Judd Apatow tradition, everyone involved brought their A-game to this, especially Blunt, who was lovable and - even more importantly - personable as the female lead. It’s a great little movie that should have been a bigger hit, and I hope Blunt eventually returns to comedy as she’s always had a knack for it.

Her Best Scene

Blunt’s reinvention as an action heroine was complete by the end of her first major action scene in EDGE OF TOMORROW, where she handily outguns and outfights the initially frightened Cruise. Oh yeah, and her Yoga stretching is pretty memorable too.

Her Five Best Films


Up Next

In addition to Tate Taylor’s THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (which opens Friday), Blunt’s going to be playing the titular character in MARY POPPINS’ RETURNS, opposite ‘Hamilton’s’ Lin Manuel Miranda. Clearly Blunt’s time on the A-list has only just begun.

Source: JoBlo.com



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