10 Underrated Julia Roberts Movies That Deserve More Love

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When talking about iconic actresses in the entertainment industry, one of the very first names that probably comes to mind is Julia Roberts, a major star who has earned widespread acclaim from critics and the affection of audiences worldwide with roles across all genres. After first gaining notoriety in the late-1980s with films such as Mystic Pizza and Steel Magnolias, Roberts emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the 1990 blockbuster Pretty Woman, a film that also made her a queen of the romantic comedy.

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Throughout her career, Roberts appeared in all kinds of productions, proving that her acting skills are not limited to characters in love stories. She excelled in films such as Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven, and Wonder, among many others, and continues to tackle new challenges to this day. In fact, her most recent film premiered just recently: Netflix’s Leave the World Behind, in which she stars alongside Ethan Hawke and Mahershala Ali.

Roberts is a multi-awarded artist who, thanks to the box office performance of her many movies, has turned into one of the most bankable stars in the industry. But even a superstar like her has her fair share of movies that didn’t quite get the love they truly deserved. Here are 10 of her most underrated movies.

10 Valentine’s Day (2010)

To kick things off is Valentine’s Day, Garry Marshall’s 2010 film that hugely disappointed critics, but still became a box office hit. This movie features one of the most impressive ensemble casts in the industry, and follows different characters whose stories intertwine on Valentine’s Day. Roberts plays Kate, a U.S. military captain who flies home for just a few hours to reconnect with her son.

What Makes It Great

Marshall played a major role in Roberts’ career, as he directed the film that first brought her to stardom. Valentine’s Day marked their third collaboration after many, many years of not having worked together, and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is a production that any rom-com fan will love, with a predictable yet hugely entertaining story that features brilliant performances. Rent on Apple TV

9 Mirror Mirror (2012)

2012 marked the premiere of Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, a fantasy comedy based on the well-known story of Snow White, starring Lily Collins and Julia Roberts. In it, Collins plays the beloved princess, who, after being banished by her wicked stepmother, teams up with seven dwarves to sneak back into the kingdom and reclaim what is rightfully hers.

What Makes It Great

Upon its release, Mirror Mirror was heavily criticized for not bringing anything new to the table compared to other adaptations of the renowed fairy tale. However, the film manages to delight audiences with a story that is both fun and whimsical, with well-constructed characters and several plot tweaks that pay off in full. Plus, the costumes are amazing, and Roberts excels in playing a villain who, against all odds, is quite likable. Stream on Max

8 Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

The Argentine film El Secreto de Sus Ojos hit the silver screen in 2009 and took the world by storm, winning the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film and many other accolades. Six years later, its American remake, Secret in Their Eyes, premiered, with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts leading the cast. This production follows a group of FBI investigators who spend years trying to solve the gruesome murder of the daughter of one of them.

What Makes It Great

Secret in Their Eyes was harshly panned for not being as good as the original film, which is truly a masterpiece. But even so, this thriller is definitely worth watching, not only for the performances of its cast, but also for the adjustments they made to the original production that take the audience by surprise and keep them glued to the screen until the very end. Stream on Tubi

Related: Julia Robert’s 15 Best Movies, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

7 Eat Pray Love (2010)

Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts snuggle closely as they stroll through a market.
Sony Pictures Releasing

Eat Pray Love is a 2010 film by Ryan Murphy, based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir that changed the lives of readers worldwide four years earlier. Roberts stars as the author, who, in the midst of an existential crisis, embarks on a journey through Italy, India, and Bali to rediscover herself and the things that really matter.

What Makes It Great

Eat Pray Love underwent a very similar fate to Secret in Their Eyes, It was deemed vastly inferior to the original material. However, considering that adapting a book to the silver screen is no easy task, we can say that Murphy’s film certainly strikes a chord with the audience and conveys the essence of the original piece, aided by brilliant performances from its star-studded cast. Rent on AppleTV

6 Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

Ocean’s Twelve hit the silver screen in 2004, becoming the first sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 blockbuster that revolutionized the world. This heist comedy film features the original cast, once again with George Clooney and Brad Pitt at the helm, and follows Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his crew, who must orchestrate another heist to return the million-dollar loot they stole from casino owner Terry Benedict.

What Makes It Great

Yet again, Ocean’s Twelve was another of Roberts’ films doomed for not living up to the original. And while in many ways this is accurate, the movie breaks away from its predecessor by introducing the characters in a different context, with a story that is every bit as entertaining and funny as the original. Ocean’s Twelve is a heartwarming film, perfect to watch on the days when one craves a light-hearted movie that doesn’t require you to think too much. Rent on AppleTV

5 Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

A man kisses a woman's hand as she watches nervously.
20th Century Fox

One year after emerging as a star thanks to Pretty Woman, Roberts starred in Sleeping with the Enemy, a film by Joseph Ruben, based on Nancy Price’s novel. In it, she plays Laura, a woman who fakes her own death and relocates to escape her violent husband, but must confront him once again after the man discovers the hoax and tracks her down in her new home.

What Makes It Great

Sleeping with the Enemy has been terribly panned by critics as unimpressive and overly predictable. However, this psychological thriller not only manages to keep the audience on edge from start to finish, but is also a movie that proved how versatile Roberts could be as an actress. Especially considering it followed Pretty Woman, this movie showed the actress was capable of bouncing from light-hearted fanfare to something darker and more sinister — and she did this seamlessly. Stream on Paramount+

4 Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Ticket To Paradise
Ticket to Paradise

George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as a divorced couple that teams up and travels to Bali to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago.

Release Date
October 21, 2022

Director
Ol Parker

Rating
PG-13

Read Our Review

The 2022 rom-com Ticket to Paradise marked a new collaboration between Clooney and Roberts, two stars and friends that audiences love to spot together on-screen. In this Ol Parker film, they play David and Georgia, two exes who can’t stand one another, but must join forces to prevent their daughter from marrying a young man she just met in Bali.

What Makes It Great

Ticket to Paradise has all the ingredients of romantic comedies that any genre fan would love. It’s a simple though nonetheless entertaining story, and although it’s quite predictable, like many of the genre’s greatest movies, it’s definitely an amazing, feel-good movie. Plus, Roberts and Clooney are charming in their roles, displaying a chemistry that transcends the screen. Stream on Prime Video

3 Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Julia Roberts as Alice Sutton in Conspiracy Theory
Warner Bros.

1997 marked the premiere of Conspiracy Theory, an action thriller film directed by Richard Donner and starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. This movie follows a cab driver fond of conspiracy theories, whose life takes a dangerous turn when one of his fantasies turns out to be true.

What Makes It Great

Conspiracy Theory is an entertaining movie, whose gripping plot keeps you glued to the screen from start to finish. Probably the most remarkable element of this film is the chemistry between its leads and their ability to portray their complex characters to perfection. Rent on AppleTV

2 Dying Young (1991)

Julia Roberts as Hilary and Campbell Scott as Victor in Dying Young
20th Century Studios

Dying Young is another film that Roberts appeared in shortly after rising to fame with Pretty Woman. It is directed by Joel Schumacher, based on a novel by Marti Leimbach, and features Campbell Scott in a co-starring role. It follows Hilary, a young girl hired as the primary caregiver for Victor, a man undergoing leukemia treatment. While their relationship initially appears to be merely professional, over time it evolves into a one-of-a-kind romance.

What Makes It Great

Schumacher’s film is a beautiful story that reflects on the boundaries of love, with well-constructed characters and impeccable performances that will certainly make the audience cry their eyes out. Besides its great actors, the film features a memorable soundtrack by James Newton Howard that was ultimately nominated at the Grammy Awards. Rent on Prime Video

1 Runaway Bride (1999)

Richard Gere in a tux and Julia Roberts in a wedding gown, riding a horse
Buena Vista International

After Pretty Woman‘s phenomenal success in 1990, Garry Marshall re-teamed with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the 1999 rom-com Runaway Bride. In this rom-com, Roberts plays Maggie, a young woman known around town for having ditched three grooms at the altar. Her story arouses the attention of New York journalist Ike (Gere), who writes an unflattering article about her that eventually gets him fired. Determined to save his career, Ike travels to meet her, not knowing that the trip is about to change his life.

What Makes It Great

Runaway Bride is a hidden gem in the romantic comedy genre that features one of the best movie couples out there. As such, it can’t get any better than that. Despite not being as memorable as Pretty Woman, the film is heartwarming, invites us to reflect on major themes, such as self-realization and authenticity, and treats us to solid performances from the lead actors and the rest of the cast. Stream on Paramount+

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