Emma Thompson


Dame Emma Thompson DBE (born April 15, 1959) is a British actress, screenwriter, activist, author, and comedian. She is one of Britain’s most acclaimed actresses and is the recipient of numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, two British Academy Film Awards, a British Academy Television Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Born in London to English actor Eric Thompson and Scottish actress Phyllida Law, she was educated at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, where she became a member of the Footlights troupe (who’s members have included Richard Ayoade, Tim Brook-Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Olivia Coleman, Peter Cook, Stephen Fry, Eric Idle, Hugh Laurie; Jonathan Lynn, John Oliver, and Charles Shaughnessy). After appearing in several comedy programmes, she came to prominence in in two BBC TV series, Tutti Frutti (1987), with Robbie Coltrane, Maurice Roëves, Richard Wilson, and Katy Murphy; and Fortunes of War (1987), with Kenneth Branagh (whom she was married to from 1989 to 1995), Ronald Pickup, Robert Stephens, Alan Bennett, Philip Madoc and Rupert Graves; winning the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her work in both series. Her first film role was in Mel Smith’s romantic comedy The Tall Guy (1989), with Jeff Goldblum and Rowan Atkinson.

Thompson and Branagh became popular in the British media and co-starred in several films together, including Henry V (1989), with Branagh (in his directorial debut), Paul Scofield, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Alec McCowen, Judi Dench, Coltrane, Brian Blessed, and Christian Bale; Dead Again (1991), with Andy García, Jacobi, Wayne Knight, and Robin Williams; Peter’s Friends (1992), with Alphonsia Emmanuel, Fry, Laurie, Phyllida Law. Alex Lowe, Rita Rudner, Tony Slattery, and Imelda Staunton; and Much Ado About Nothing (1993), with Robert Sean Leonard, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Keanu Reeves, and Kate Beckinsale.

Thompson won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for the Merchant Ivory period drama Howards End (1992), with Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, James Wilby, Samuel West, Jemma Redgrave, and Prunella Scales.

She then had dual Academy Award nominations for her roles in Merchant’s The Remains of the Day (1993), with Hopkins, James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Peter Vaughan, Hugh Grant, Michael Lonsdale, Tim Pigott-Smith, and Lena Headey; and Jim Sheridan‘s In the Name of the Father (1993), with Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite; becoming part of a handful of performers to be nominated for two acting Oscars in the same year (including Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald, Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx, Cate Blanchett, and Scarlett Johansson).

Thompson scripted and starred in Ang Lee‘s Sense and Sensibility (1995), with Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Imogen Stubbs, Grant, Greg Wise (whom she married in 2003), Gemma Jones, Harriet Walter, James Fleet, Laurie, Staunton, Robert Hardy, Elizabeth Spriggs, and Tom Wilkinson; which earned her numerous awards, including an Academy Award for nominee for Best actress and a win for Best Adapted Screenplay—which makes her the only person to receive Academy Awards for acting and writing—and a second BAFTA Award for Best Actress.

Other notable films of the 1990s include Impromptu (1991), with Judy Davis, Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Julian Sands, Ralph Brown, Georges Corraface, and Anton Rodgers; Ivan Reitman‘s Junior (1994), with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Frank Langella, and Pamela Reed; Carrington (1995), with Jonathan Pryce, Steven Waddington, Rufus Sewell, Samuel West, and Penelope Wilton; Mike Nichols’s Primary Colors (1998), with John Travolta, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Maura Tierney, Larry Hagman, and Adrian Lester; and Sebastian Gutierrez’s Judas Kiss (1998), with Rickman, Roscoe Lee Browne, Carla Gugino, Simon Baker-Denny, Gil Bellows, Richard Riehle, and Til Schweiger.

Films in the early 2000s include Ben Elton’s Maybe Baby (2000), with Laurie and Joely Richardson; Imagining Argentina (2003), with Antonio Banderas, Leticia Dolera, Maria Canals, and Rubén Blades; Richard Curtis’s Love, Actually (2003), with Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, and Atkinson; 3 of the Harry Potter films (2004, 2007, 2011), collectively with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Gary Oldman, Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Staunton, and John Hurt; and Nanny McPhee (2005), with Firth, Thomas Sangster, Kelly Macdonald, and Angela Lansbury.

Films in the mid to late 2000s include Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction (2006), with Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Tony Hale; Julian Jarrold’s Brideshead Revisited (2008), with Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Gambon, Greta Scacchi, Jonathan Cake, and Patrick Malahide; Joel Hopkins’s Last Chance Harvey (2008), with Hoffman, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, and James Brolin; An Education (2009), with Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, and Olivia Williams; and The Boat That Rocked (2009), with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rhys Darby, and Branagh.

Films early 2010s Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), with Gyllenhaal, Fiennes, Ifans, Ewan McGregor, Asa Butterfield and Smith; Barry Sonnenfeld‘s Men in Black 3 (2012), with Will Smith Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, and Michael Stuhlbarg; Richard LaGravenese’s Beautiful Creatures (2013), with Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, and Thomas Mann; Saving Mr. Banks (2013), with Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Farrell; The Love Punch (2014), with Pierce Brosnan; and Effie Gray (2014), with Dakota Fanning, Walters, David Suchet, Jacobi, James Fox, Coltrane, Claudia Cardinale, Greg Wise, and Tom Sturridge.

Films in the mid to late 2010s include A Walk in the Woods (2015), with Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Kristen Schaal, Nick Offerman, and Mary Steenburgen; The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015), with Robert Carlyle (who also directed), Ray Winstone, Ashley Jensen, and Brian Pettifer; Burnt (2015), with Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Brühl, Matthew Rhys, Riccardo Scamarcio, Alicia Vikander, and Uma Thurman; Alone in Berlin (2016), with Gleeson, Brühl, and Mikael Persbrandt; Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), with Renée Zellweger, Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Broadbent, and Gemma Jones; and Noah Baumbach‘s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017), with Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Hoffman, and Elizabeth Marvel.

More films in the late 2010s include The Children Act (2018), with Stanley Tucci and Fionn Whitehead; Johnny English Strikes Again (2018), with Atkinson, Ben Miller, Olga Kurylenko, and Jake Lacy; Late Night (2019), with Mindy Kaling, Max Casella, Hugh Dancy, John Lithgow, Denis O’Hare, Reid Scott, and Amy Ryan; Men in Black: International (2019), with Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, and Neeson; and Paul Feig’s Last Christmas (2019), with Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, and Michelle Yeoh.

Films in the 2020s include a voice role in Stephen Gaghan’s Dolittle (2020), with Robert Downey Jr., Banderas, Michael Sheen, plus the voices of Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard; Sophie Hyde’s Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022), with Daryl McCormack; Shekhar Kapur’s What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022), with Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi, Sajal Aly, Oliver Chris, Asim Chaudhry, Jeff Mirza, Alice Orr-Ewing and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan; Matthew Warchus’s Matilda The Musical (2022), with Alisha Weir, Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, and Sindhu Ve.

Other TV movies and miniseries include Knuckle (1989), with Tim Roth, Bernard Hepton, and Peter Hawkins; A Look Back in Anger (1989), with Branagh, Gerard Horan, Siobhan Redmond, and Edward Jewesbury; The Winslow Boy (1990), with Ian Richardson, Rosemary Leach, Gwen Wattford, and Gordon Jackson; The Blue Boy (1994), with Adrian Dunbar, Phyllida Law, Eleanor Bron, David Horovitch, and Joanna Roth; Mike Nichols’s Wit (2001), with Christopher Lloyd, Audra McDonald, and Eileen Atkins; Angels in America (2003), with Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker, Justin Kirk, Jeffrey Wright, and Ben Shenkman; Walking the Dogs (2012), with Eddie Marsan, Russell Tovey, Malcolm Storry, and Bryony Afferson; King Lear (2018), with Hopkins, Emily Watson, Broadbent, Florence Pugh, Jim Carter, Andrew Scott, John Macmillan, Tobias Menzies, Anthony Calf, Karl Johnson, Christopher Eccleston, and John Standing; and Years and Years (2019), with Tovey, Rory Kinnear, T’Nia Miller, Ruth Madeley, Anne Reid, and Jessica Hynes.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • There’s Nothing to Worry About! (1982) – directed by Stuart Orme – also co-writer – TV series
  • The Crystal Cube (1983) – directed by John Kilby – TV short
  • Alfresco (1983 – 1984) – directed by Stuart Orme – also co-writer – TV series
  • Emma Thompson: Up for Grabs (1985) – directed by John Kaye Cooper – also writer – TV special
  • Tutti Frutti (1987) – directed by Tony Smith – miniseries
  • Fortunes of War (1987) – directed by James Cellan Jones – miniseries
  • Thompson (1988) – directed by John Stroud – also writer – TV show
  • Managing Problem People. Behavioral Skills for Leaders (1988) – directed by Charles Crichton – TV movie
  • The Tall Guy (1989) – directed by Mel Smith
  • Knuckle (1989) – directed by Moira Armstrong – TV movie
  • Henry V (1989) – directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • A Look Back in Anger (1989) – directed by Judi Dench – TV movie
  • The Winslow Boy (1990) – directed by Michael Darlow – TV movie
  • Impromptu (1991) – directed by James Lapine
  • Dead Again (1991) – directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • Howard’s End (1992) – directed by James Ivory
  • Peter’s Friends (1992) – directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • Much Ado About Nothing (1993) – directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • The Remains of the Day (1993) – directed by James Ivory
  • In the Name of the Father (1993) – directed by Jim Sheridan
  • My Father the Hero (1994) – directed by Steve Miner – uncredited
  • The Blue Boy (1994) – directed by Paul Murton – TV movie
  • Junior (1994) – directed by Ivan Reitman
  • Carrington (1995) – directed by Christopher Hampton
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995) – directed by Ang Lee – also writer
  • Hospital! (1997) – directed by John Henderson – TV movie
  • The Winter Guest (1997) – directed by Alan Rickman
  • Primary Colors (1998) – directed by Mike Nichols
  • Judas Kiss (1998) – directed by Sebastian Gutierrez
  • Maybe Baby (2000) – directed by Ben Elton
  • Wit (2001) – Mike Nichols – TV movie – also co-writer
  • Treasure Planet (2002) – directed by Ron Clements & John Musker
  • Imagining Argentina (2003) – directed by Christopher Hampton
  • Love Actually (2003)* – directed by Richard Curtis
  • Angels in America (2003) – directed by Mike Nichols – miniseries
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)* – directed by Alfonso Cuarón
  • Nanny McPhee (2005) – directed by Kirk Jones – also writer
  • Stranger Than Paradise (2006) – directed by Marc Forster
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)* – directed by David Yates
  • I Am Legend (2007) – directed by Francis Lawrence – uncredited
  • Brideshead Revisited (2008) – directed by Julian Jarrold
  • Last Chance Harvey (2008) – directed by Joel Hopkins
  • An Education (2009)* – directed by Lone Scherfig
  • The Boat That Rocked (2009) – directed by Richard Curtis
  • Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010) – directed by Susan White – also writer
  • The Song of Lunch (2010) – directed by Niall MacCormick – TV movie
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)* – directed by David Yates
  • Men in Black 3 (2012) – directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Brave (2012)* – directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman – also co-directed by Steve Purcell
  • Beautiful Creatures (2013) – directed by Richard LaGravenese
  • The Love Punch (2013) – directed by Joel Hopkins
  • Saving Mr. Banks (2013) – directed by John Lee Hancock
  • Men, Women & Children (2014) – directed by Jason Reitman – narrator
  • Effie Gray (2014) – directed by Richard Laxton – also writer
  • A Walk in the Woods (2015) – directed by Ken Kwapis
  • Love Song (2015) – directed by Bill Bailey & Joe Magee – short
  • The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015) – directed by Robert Carlyle
  • Burnt (2015) – directed by John Wells
  • Sainsbury’s: Mog’s Christmas Calamity (2015) – directed by James Rouse – short
  • Alone in Berlin (2016) – directed by Vincent Pérez
  • Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016) – directed by Sharon Maguire – also co-writer
  • The Doubt Machine: Inside the Koch Brothers’ War on Climate Science (2016) – directed by Bruce Livesey – narrator – documentary short
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)* – directed by Bill Condon
  • Sea Sorrow (2017) – directed by Vanessa Redgrave
  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) – directed by Noah Baumbach
  • The Children Act (2018) – directed by Richard Eyre
  • King Lear (2018) – directed by Richard Eyre – TV movie
  • Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) – directed by David Kerr
  • Late Night (2019) – directed by Nisha Ganatra
  • Missing Link (2019)* – directed by Chris Butler
  • Men in Black: International (2019) – directed by F. Gary Gray
  • Years and Years (2019) – directed by Simon Cellan Jones & Lisa Mulcahy – miniseries
  • Extinction (2019) – directed by Jack Cooper Simpson – short
  • Last Christmas (2019) – directed by Paul Feig – also co-writer, co-story, producer
  • How to Build a Girl (2020) – directed by Coky Giedroyc
  • Dolittle (2020) – directed by Stephen Gaghan
  • Cruella (2021) – directed by Craig Gillespie
  • Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022) – directed by Sophie Hyde
  • What’s Love Got to Do With It? (2022) – directed by Shekhar Kapur
  • Matilda The Musical (2022) – directed by Matthew Warchus