No matter what you thought of Jodie Foster‘s Golden Globes speech, you have to admit the woman is an all-star actress. She’s been in more than 40 films and over 25 TV series, so it was hard to decide what her best role ever could be. It wasn’t hard, though, to discuss how good she was in every single one.
Group, what’s your favorite Jodie Foster film?
Dorothy Snarker: I absolutely, positively cannot pick just one because she was my very first crush. So there. Rules be damned. For sentimental reasons, Stealing Home because it came out during my formative years and I watched it on a seemingly endless loop on our family’s contraband HBO feed. Those blue eyes mesmerized me. For action reasons, Flightplan because she took a role originally written for a male lead and helped to, again, show that women can be riveting action stars and not just damsels in distress. For aesthetic reasons, The Brave One because she has never, ever looked gayer. Not even when giving her this-is-not-a-coming-out-speech coming out speech at the Globes. For ulterior reasons, The Hotel New Hampshire because it is a terrible, terrible, incomprehensible mess of a movie, but she makes out with Nastassja Kinski in it. Also, Nastassja Kinski wears a bear suit through most of the movie. Yeah. This movie is terrible.
The Linster: I don’t know how to even start with this one. I mean, I have watched every movie with Jodie (with two exceptions) over and over. I was obsessed even before I knew I was a lesbian (yeah, yeah). I’m partial to her scant TV roles — often her voice only — like Betty the talking tattoo in X-Files. But at the risk of slightly copping out, I’m going with her role as director. Mainly because when she directs, she looks like this.
Photo by Ray Tamarra, Getty Images
Sometimes she even wears a baseball cap and I melt. Dressed as herself, with little-to-no makeup, comfortable shoes, and glasses, Jodie is sexy in the way that Armani and hair stylists could never approach. Judging from Cherry Jones‘ face, she feels the same way.
Emily Hartl: Hands down, FOREVER Agent Clarice Starling.
Danielle Riendeau: Her BEST role is probably Clarice Starling, but I’m going to vote for Dr. Ellie Arroway in Contact. I may be one of the few nerds in the universe who really, really loved that movie. Classic, big picture “big questions about life” sci-fi gets me every time. Especially if it involves hot women.
Also, honorable mention for A Very Long Engagement, because Jodie is such an awesome French-speaking badass, and American actors in foreign language films (not looking/sounding like idiots) is a rare and wonderful thing.
Ali Davis: Clarice Starling is a given and I LOVE her comic chops in Maverick, but I’m going to pick Jodie Foster’s turn in Candleshoe as my favorite. I am not saying this is a good movie, or even her best role. But I saw that movie as a kid and remember being so happy and knocked out to see a tough tomboy girl who didn’t like dresses. And as the hero of the movie! What I’m saying is that Jodie Foster turned me queer. Thanks, Jodie.
Dara Nai: Cripes, after 45+ years in the biz, how can we choose just one role? For her good bag, cheap shoes, and single-handed, serial killer-catching skills, Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Her best hair role was definitely The Brave One. And for acting out many lesbians’ fantasy of living in the woods, subsisting on the bounty of the land, and speaking a made-up language, free from patriarchal oppression, Nell. Chicka chicka chickabee! T’ee in da wayyyy!
Bridget McManus: I have a shameful secret. I really, really love Jodie Foster in Sommersby. I have seen that movie at least 20 times and I always wail when she screams out to Richard Gere at his hanging. “I’m here Jack, I’m here!” I think I need to talk to a therapist.
Punky Starshine: Looking at her IMDb page, I’m actually ashamed at how few of her movies I’ve actually seen. I guess I just know her because everyone knows her. Panic Room is a good one that I remember being terrified by. Pretty sure I begged my parents to move my brother to the basement and make his room a panic room after that. I’m also not ashamed to say that I really loved the movie Nim’s Island. Maybe it was not her most notable work, but I thought it was a delightful little film.
Sarah Terez Rosenblum: That one on the plane where her role was supposed to be played by Tom Cruise but mainly because there was a giant poster on Sunset Blvd of her looking concerned and angry and every time we drove past my girlfriend at the time and I would chant Jodie! Jodie! Jodie! The actual film was disappointing after all that though.
Lucy Hallowell: Jodie is a badass. She does badass really well, but I’m not going with any of the movies where she kicks ass, shoots stuff, or is hardcore (although hottie NPR radio host vigilante is hard to pass up). I am picking Stealing Home for totally nostalgic reasons. The movie came out in 1988 which means I probably saw it a year later on the old Betamax. I don’t remember a whole lot from the movie other than Jodie’s character being a heavenly sight who made my 10-year-old heart boom in truly uncomfortable, confusing, if not entirely surprising ways. She was sarcastic and funny and the kind of tough and pretty that I find irresistible. If I there was any doubt that I was already a lesbian at 10, Jodie sealed it for me in that movie.
Karman Kregloe: Like every other lesbian in the world, I think The Silence of the the Lambs is Jodie Foster’s best film. But my second favorite Jodie movie is also the first feature she directed, Little Man Tate. In it, she plays the working-class single mom of a genius tyke (Fred) whose potential is better understood by a psychologist (Dianne Wiest) who runs a school for gifted kids. At its core, the movie is about a sweet, intelligent kid trying to find balance between heart (Foster) and head (Wiest). It’s a thoughtful examination of individuality, family and authenticity, and I always suspected it was really a love letter from a grown-up overachiever to her younger self.
Dana Piccoli: I’m going to say Flightplan. I love when Jodie gets to be an intellectual action star. The movie is basically:
Jodie: My daughter is missing, we have to find her. She’s somewhere on this plane!
Everyone else: Lady, you crazy.
Jodie: But there’s a heart on the window!
Everyone else: Um…you need to chill.
Jodie: That’s it, I built this mother and I’m gonna tear it apart with all of you in it.
Everyone else: Oh Crap.
Heather Hogan: For me, it’s a toss up between Freaky Friday and Maverick, for very different reasons. My after school daycare only had like five VHS tapes — all of them from the ’70s — when I was a kid and my favorite of the bunch was Freaky Friday. I must have watched that movie 10,000 times by the time I graduated fifth grade. I was obsessed with the way Jodie Foster talked and walked and dressed. “Tomboy,” I guess, is what people called it, but all I knew was that she walked and talked and dressed just like me and also I loved her. Maverick came out right around the time I realized pretty women made my heart hammer in my chest like a rabbit in a ring of fire. I quoted the movie so much after I saw it in the theater that Santa gave me the VHS for Christmas that year. I watched it religiously until VCRs stopped being a thing.
*My favorite Maverick quote was, “How’d you know I was bluffing? I didn’t do any of my tells. I didn’t shuffle my cards, I didn’t pull my hair, I didn’t even flick my teeth.” An apt metaphor for both me and Jodie, as it turned out.
Grace Chu: I’ve never seen the film and I don’t plan to, as it only received 42% on the Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer, but I vote for The Brave One based on the sexy movie posters alone.
Marcie Bianco: My response is the same as Grace’s — although, I did see Silence of the Lambs, but not because of Jodie Foster. All of my faggy gay friends kept chanting “You put the lotion in the basket,” and for that reason alone did I see the film. I really don’t think she’s a great actress—is that horrible to say? I always see her, never her character; for me, she never transforms into a character — kind of like Julia Roberts is always “Julia Roberts,” regardless of the role she’s playing.
Trish Bendix: It’s horrific subject matter with a painful rape scene, but Jodie does amazing work in The Accused. This is also my favorite Kelly McGillis role, and the two actresses ultimately made an important film about sexual assault that was based on a true story. This is the role that won Jodie an Academy Award for Best Actress, and it was well-deserved. (BTW, I saw The Brave One in the theater and it was pretty damn good, too.)
What’s your favorite Foster film?