Tessa Thompson has quickly become one of the most exciting new talents in Hollywood. Though she has been working in the business for over a decade, her star was really begun to rise with a string of memorable performances in high-profile movies. She is well on her way to becoming one of the biggest stars in the business.
Thompson’s skills as an actor combined with her immense likability make her shine on screen. She also seems to have a talent for picking interesting projects that allow her to show new sides of her as an actor. With the return of Westworld and her return to the MCU in Thor: Love and Thunder, Thompson has more exciting projects to add to her most critically acclaimed roles.
15 War On Everyone (2016) – 62%
- Available on HBO and DIRECTV
Thompson adds a lot of charisma to any cast she joins, like in the quirky and wild crime-comedy War on Everyone. The movie stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña as a pair of corrupt and out-of-control police detectives who find themselves involved with a criminal more dangerous than they expected.
Thompson has a supporting role as a woman who begins a relationship with Skarsgård’s character. The movie has great dark humor even when exploring some pretty disturbing subjects. Skarsgård and Peña make for a great team, delivering lots of laughs.
14 Lady And The Tramp (2019) – 65%
Disney continued their trend of live-action remakes of their classics with this retelling of Lady and the Tramp. Thompson provides the voice for the titular Lady, a pampered dog owned by a well-off couple whose life is turned around by the arrival of a baby. She copes with this new change while forming a relationship with a street-wise stray dog.
Like most of the recent live-action Disney films, critics lamented that the new version lacked some of the magic of the original. However, many agreed that the cute dogs and likable cast brought a lot of charm to the story.
13 Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019) – 75%
The age of streaming has meant that even the most obscure properties can have the chance to be turned into a feature film. Between Two Ferns is a web series in which Zach Galifianakis interviews various celebrities in the rudest and most offensive way possible. The movie finds him embarking on a celebrity-filled road trip to rescue his show.
Critics admitted that the film felt like it was stretching the premise a little too far and that the film was really only interesting during the uncomfortable interview segments. However, there were enough big laughs to entertain fans and newcomers alike.
12 Westworld (2016– ) – 81%
- Available on HBO Max and HBO
Based on the 1973 movie of the same name, Westworld is an ambitious sci-fi thriller about a futuristic Western theme park in which the cyborg hosts are used by the guests to live out their fantasies. But things go wrong when the hosts begin questioning their reality.
Thompson plays Charlotte Hale, an executive overseeing the park whose role in the series grows in unexpected ways. It is a twisty story with thought=provoking ideas that has become one of the biggest shows on television.
11 Creed II (2018) – 83%
- Available on DIRECTV, TNT, TBS, Sling and Spectrum on Demand
Creed proved to be something of a breakout role for Thompson and reignited the Rocky franchise with a fun new take. Creed II returns to the mythology of the original series with Adonis Creed taking on the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed his father in the ring.
The film failed to live up to its predecessor in the minds of some critics who felt the well-worn formula prevented any freshness. However, the generational themes proved to be compelling, the story remained inspiring and there were solid performances from the whole cast.
10 Annihilation (2018) – 88%
- Available on Paraount+, FX Now, Fubo TV, DIRECTV and Spectrum on Demand
Thompson has proven that she can carry a film with her talents, but she can also be a strong member of an ensemble, like in Annihilation. The mind-bending science-fiction thriller stars Natalie Portman as a scientist who joins a team of scientists to explore an extra-terrestrial dome that has appeared on Earth. Thompson plays one of the members of the team.
Critics praised the film for what it adds to the sci-fi genre in terms of the amazing visuals and memorable thrills. But critics were most impressed with the bold and challenging themes the story takes on, leaving no easy answers.
9 Passing (2021) – 90%
One of Thompson’s most recent roles has earned her some of the best reviews of her career. The directorial debut from actor Rebecca Hall, Passing stars Thompson as a Black woman in the 1920s who reunites with her mixed-race childhood friend who is “passing” as a white woman.
Thompson and co-star Ruth Negga deliver complex, emotional, and riveting performances in the movie. Hall also makes a stunning debut in this profound period story that holds a lot of weight in modern society.
8 Dear White People (2014) – 91%
- Available on Epix and Spectrum on Demand
Thompson came to a lot of people’s attention and proved her lead actor qualities with this bold and compelling drama. Dear White People stars Thompson as a student at an Ivy League college who creates a stir by challenging some of the widely accepted racist behavior from the white students.
Critics really admired the boldness of the film and the issues it was willing to address. The conversations throughout the film are timely and challenging and the young cast was praised for handling the material impressively.
7 Sylvie’s Love (2018) – 93%
Thompson seems to pop up in a lot of period stories such as with the romance movie Sylvie’s Love. Set in the 1950s, Thompson stars as a young woman whose love of music and television draws her to an aspiring musician. As they fall for each other, the two set their sights on ambitious career paths.
Thompson really shines in the sweet and touching love story that is also as much about a woman’s pursuit of achieving something despite the endless obstacles put in her way.
6 Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – 93%
By the time Thor: Ragnarok came along, Thompson had already proven she could deliver powerful performances in a number of films. However, this was a chance to show her fun side as the hard-drinking warrior Valkyrie who joins Thor on his intergalactic quest to save Asgard.
While the Thor films were never the best-reviewed movies in the MCU, critics called this a major improvement thanks to the wild vision of Taika Waititi. The movie was praised as a hilarious and exciting adventure with a great cast of new and old characters.
5 Sorry To Bother You (2018) – 93%
Even as her star continued to rise, Thompson was still interested in making bold and smaller films. Sorry to Bother You is a surreal indie comedy about an African-American telemarketer (Lakeith Stansfield) who adopts a “white voice” to become more successful. Thompson plays his girlfriend who struggles with how success has changed him while struggling as an artist herself.
Filmmaker Boots Riley was given a lot of praise for the film thanks to his ambitious and inventive storytelling. Critics called it a movie unlike anything else around and Thompson and Stansfield were highlighted as great leads.
4 Avengers: Endgame (2019) – 94%
Thompson returned to the MCU, along with nearly every Marvel character, for the epic conclusion to the Infinity Saga. Avengers: Endgame finds the remaining heroes dealing with the aftermath of Thanos’s actions and seeking a way to undo them.
Thompson makes an epic return as Valkyrie while also setting up her future in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. The movie was also called a thrilling, emotional and satisfying end to the incredible MCU journey.
3 Creed (2015) – 95%
- Available on DIRECTV, TNT, TBS, Sling and Spectrum on Demand
Many people thought the Rocky franchise was dead until Ryan Coogler came along to breathe some new life into it with a thrilling sequel. Creed stars Michael B. Jordan as the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed who seeks to make a name for himself in the boxing world with the help of Rocky Balboa. Thompson plays Creed’s love interest, a musician dealing with her own personal struggles.
Critics were surprised by how effective this return to the long-running franchise was and praised it as a clever way to revisit the story. Coogler’s script and slick direction impressed many while Jordan and Sylvester Stallone were praised for their performances.
2 Little Woods (2018) – 95%
Little Woods is probably the smallest film on this list but it is still worth checking out. The modern Western stars Thompson as an impoverished and reformed criminal who must return to that world when her sister (Lily James) finds herself in trouble.
Thompson received a lot of praise for her powerful performance in the film and her chemistry with James was highlighted as a positive as well. Though they acknowledged the grimness of the film, critics largely agreed it was an engrossing drama worth watching.
1 Selma (2014) – 99%
- Available on Paramount+
Thompson had the chance to play a real-life hero in Ava Duvernay’s compelling historical drama. Selma explores Martin Luther King’s historic and ground-breaking Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery to raise awareness about voting rights. Thompson plays Diane Nash, a real-life influential Civil Rights activist from this period.
David Oyelowo was singled out for his amazing lead performance as King which carries much of the movie. The film was also praised for exploring the amazing and inspiring work King and the other activists did while not ignoring the issues that remain to this day.
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