Some of you may know that from time to time, I'll dedicate a list to someone on their birthday. Today, the honoree is none other than Ms. Halle Berry, turning 49. She is truly one of the most stunning women any of us have ever laid eyes on. That said, she's been hit-or-miss with me as an actual actress. However, since this is her big day I don't want to dwell on the negative. We can do that another time. For now, we're only sending her positive vibes. With that in mind, and in my humble opinion, these are
Halle Berry's Top 10 Performances
10. as Miranda Grey in
GothikaWhile I don't think the movie is great, I do think it's better than it's generally given credit for being. It's certainly B-movie horror, but it works in its own way. In any event Berry does very well in her role as the psychiatrist who finds herself committed after she is possessed by the spirit of a teenager who was murdered.
9. as Angela in
BoomerangThis is perhaps the most bizarre role of Berry's career. It's not that anything strange is done by or to her character. On the contrary, it's just a rom-com. The protagonist played by Eddie Murphy is a playboy type who finds himself drawn to two women, a flashy ambitious number and a plain Jane type. The bizarre part is that Berry plays the plain-Jane. She handles it very well.
8. as Jordan Turner in
The CallJordan is a 911 Operator who is put on a call from a girl who is actually in the progress of being kidnapped. As a whole, the movie starts off strong before fizzling out. However, Berry is strong all the way through. She makes us feel how much she is invested in the situation. This aids the movie, greatly.
7. as Frankie, Alice, and Genius in
Frankie & AliceHalle plays a woman dealing with multiple personalities. The movie is a ridiculous mess. It just doesn't work. It was meant to be Oscar bait and Berry totally goes for it. This is a glorious exercise in scenery chewing as she is completely bonkers right from the start. That might sound like faint praise, but her histrionics are what make the movie at all watchable.
6. as Khaila Richards
Losing IsaiahBerry plays a young lady who was addicted crack and abandoned her infant son. A few years later, she tries to regain custody from the woman who adopted him. This is purely the stuff of Lifetime Movies, but is elevated by Berry and co-star Jessica Lange.
5. As Nina in
BulworthEasily the most controversial character of her career, you'd be forgiven for dismissing Nina as a walking stereotype. To some extent, she is. However, this is in service of a whip-smart political satire. Berry holds her own while sharing the screen with a brilliant Warren Beatty.
4. As Vivian in
Jungle FeverHere, we have one of the smallest roles of Berry's career. It's certainly the smallest on this list. She gets less than a handful of scenes, but she makes each one work to the point where she has a major impact on the film. She plays a young crackhead who hangs around with her boyfriend, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who is also an addict. She's dirty and clearly broken, but still pretty enough for us to see and feel for the humanity she's leaving behind.
3. as Dorothy Dandridge in
Introducing Dorothy DandridgeFor the uninitiated, Dorothy Dandridge was a singer who crossed over into film and became the first black actress to earn a Best Actress nomination for her work in 1954's Carmen Jones. Berry does an excellent job bringing the spirit of Ms. Dandridge to life.
2. as Audrey Burke in
Things We Lost in the FireIf there is one movie where I feel like Halle Berry carried it and did so successfully, this is it. And her co-star is an excellent Benicio del Toro. As a woman going through some tough times after becoming a widow she commands the screen like never before. Her performance is nuanced and just restrained enough. This, combined with the right amount of fire raging within, makes her feel like a complete human being.
1. as Native Woman, Jocasta Ayrs, Luisa Rey, Indian Party Guest, Ovid, and Meronym in
Cloud AtlasLike a number of her male co-stars, Berry tackles a half dozen roles. Each one is in different time frame with different sensibilities, genders, and even ethnicities. That last fact being a point of contention for some. However, it works, because Berry pours her heart into each character, short-changing none of them.
No, I didn't forget about Monster's Ball. Yes, I've seen it.