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Amanda Peet’s Best Performances, Ranked

Amanda Peet has been working for more than 20 years. Although she started her career as an actress and has appeared in some great movies, in the last few years, she’s also become a playwright, a writer, and a showrunner, writing Sandra Oh’s The Chair. Even with that second career, she’s still working as an actress, and here are her best performances, ranked.

10 2012 (2009)

Sony Pictures Releasing

2012 is as big as a disaster movie gets. Roland Emmerich uses his direction to make this film an apocalyptic one, while also taking the time to show how it’s affecting different people. One of those people is Kate (Peet), Jackson’s (John Cusack) ex-wife. Although they’re separated, once the end of the world starts, they try to protect each other and their kids. Peet’s character is mostly used as the worried wife, and yet she’s able to show some of her internal emotions, strength, and resilience while trying to survive the end of the world and keeping the ones she loves safe.

Related: Here’s the One Theme of Roland Emmerich Movies: Father Issues Vs. Mother Nature

9 Changing Lanes (2002)

Amanda Peet in Changing Lanes
Paramount Pictures

Changing Lanes might’ve been a spiritual grandparent of the TV series Beef. After all, the conflict in the film starts when Gavin (Ben Affleck) changes lanes and crashes, accidentally, into recovering alcoholic Doyle’s car (Samuel L. Jackson). After Gavin leaves without helping Doyle, both start trying to make each other’s life worse. The thriller is one of Ben Affleck’s best films, and Peet plays Cynthia, Gavin’s wife.

Although it’s a small role, Peet is able to show her chemistry with Affleck and make it believable that they share a life, while also making her someone who is looking for more and might have her motivations and plans.

8 Melinda and Melinda (2004)

Amanda Peet in Melinda and Melinda
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Melinda and Melinda is a Woody Allen film about both drama and comedy, as the life of the protagonist Melinda is seen in two realities, one with each tone. Peet is part of the big cast, playing Susan, married to Hobie (Will Ferrell) in the comedy part of the film. Peet makes her character pretty real and realized with a few strokes, and uses her charm and smarts to show how the rich part of Manhattan lives.

7 Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

Amanda Peet in Something's Gotta Give
Sony Pictures Releasing

Something’s Gotta Give is a film about love at an older age than it’s usually shown in movies. It’s also one of Nancy Meyers’s best films and has great performances by Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Keanu Reeves, and Amanda Peet. She plays Marin, the daughter of Diane Keaton’s character, Erica. Marin is dating a much older man, Harry (Nicholson), and they’re both at Erica’s beach house when he has a heart attack. Although Peet’s character isn’t the most important, she plays perfectly her part as the daughter trying to help her mother find love.

6 Igby Goes Down (2002)

Amanda Peet in Igby Goes Down
MGM Distribution Co.

Igby Goes Down might’ve been the film that proved that Kieran Culkin (Roman in Succession) was much more than Macaulay Culkin’s brother. The film is an underrated gem, showing the in and outs of rich Manhattan people. Peet plays a heroin-addicted artist who ends up being one of Igby’s best friends, showing him Manhattan’s underbelly. The actress is great as Igby’s mentor, but her best moments are when she’s trying to get her act clean for love, as she’s D.H.’s (Jeff Goldblum) mistress and wants to become something more. Peet gets to deliver a great performance as her character has many sides, both good and bad, that are explored in the movie, making it not only about Igby’s growing up, but also about hers.

Related: Why Igby Goes Down Is a Perfect Spiritual Film Adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye

5 Syriana (2005)

Amanda Peet in Syriana
Warner Bros. Pictures

Syriana is an ensemble film about the oil business, and how it affects people of many countries, social classes, and all kinds of lives. Peet plays Julie Woodman, the concerned wife of a man who is sent to the Middle East to broker a deal between companies. Although her role is not that big, and she has to play the strong worried wife (again), her character is one of the most important, not only is she the heart of the film, but it’s her story that shows the consequences of the oil industry in the lives of some normal people.

4 Please Give (2010)

Amanda Peet in Please Give
Sony Pictures Classics

Please Give tells the story of Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt), their comfortable lifestyle, and how they’re waiting for an old lady to die, so they can expand their house. Peet plays Mary, the quick-witted granddaughter of Andra (Ann Morgan Guilbert), the old lady. This dark comedy by Nicole Holofcener showed how much of a scene-stealer Peet could be with a great script, as she gives an energetic, fun performance, that makes her one of the best parts of the film.

3 The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

The Whole Nine Yards
Warner Bros.

The Whole Nine Yards is a unique comedy, shot at the time when Matthew Perry looked like he could be the biggest breakout star in Friends. Both he and Bruce Willis are pretty fun as these mismatched friends, whereas Perry’s Oz is in a continuous panic attack, as his neighbor, Jimmy (Willis), is a renowned killer. For many people, this was the first time they met Peet, as she is eager to learn how to be an assassin, while also being very green. Every time she appears in a scene, the chemistry of the whole scene changes, making her the breakout star of the movie. The film was such a success that it earned a sequel, The Whole Ten Yards, where Peet’s role was expanded.

2 A Lot Like Love (2005)

Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet in A Lot Like Love
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

A Lot Like Love is a romantic comedy that starts with two young people sleeping together and ends with the love part. Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) and Emily (Peet) meet on a plane and have sex in its bathroom. Then they spend a whole day together that would be the perfect falling-in-love romantic comedy moment, but isn’t, because she leaves him. Oliver and Emily keep finding each other over the years, in different circumstances, and the timing is never right until the end. This film has an incredible soundtrack and shows the chemistry between its leads. Kutcher was doing many of these kinds of films back then, but it was Peet’s first chance as the romantic lead, and she nailed the complex emotions her character goes through in the film.

About her character, Peet told Phase 9: “What appealed to me about the movie was the combative beginning. She likes him despite herself. I think this film is exciting because it is an old-fashioned romantic comedy. She thinks that she is better than him. And underneath there is a great sizzle and fire percolating.”

1 Togetherness (2015-2016)

The Togetherness Cast

​​​​​​​Togetherness was an incredibly unique TV series written by the Duplass brothers, about growing up, relationships, marriage, sex in your 40s, and how to keep evolving as a person. The show was a great acting opportunity for both Melanie Lynskey in one of her best performances, and Amanda Peet. Peet plays Tina, the sister of Lynskey’s character, who is impulsive, and starts as the one with the messy life, both at work and in romance.

During the two seasons, Peet was able to show many sides of her character, especially with his non-romantic relationship with Alex (Steve Zissis). She didn’t want to date him, but loved all the attention he gave her, and got jealous when other women wanted something from him. Tina’s evolution in the second season as the one with the most normal life, also allowed her to have a different sister dynamic with Lynskey, making their scenes even richer and with more subtext. The show only lasted two seasons, but the intimacy and empathy with which the Duplass brothers wrote, allowed Peet to create a unique character, full of contradictions, making it her best performance ever.

About her character, Peet told The Hollywood Reporter: “I like her because she’s a mess and I love that she’s uncensored, and I think she has a lot of the feelings — the juvenile, petty feelings — that we all have, she just doesn’t have any capacity to censor them. [Laughs]”

This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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