Best Marisa Tomei Movies, Ranked
Marisa Tomei might’ve only recently come to international limelight for her role as Aunt May in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, but she has had a prolific career on the stage and screen outside of her appearances in Marvel films. Born in Brooklyn to a theatre-loving family, Tomei was immersed in the performing arts from a young age. She had her first acting role in 1986 in CBS’s As the World Turns when she was twenty-two, the same year she made her Off-Broadway and professional theatre debut. Her breakthrough came with the 1992 movie My Cousin Vinny, where she won an Oscar Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Since then, she has received two more nominations for Oscars and appeared in many acclaimed movies. Tomei proved she has a talent for acting in both the mediums of theatre and cinema, and she’s made her mark in both Off-Broadway and Broadway. Her most recent Broadway credit is Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo at the American Airlines Theatre in 2019. Her range is diverse, and she’s played a variety of roles, making her a versatile actress that’s managed to captivate audiences globally with her charm. Here are Marisa Tomei’s best movies.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Spider-Man: No Way Home was one of the biggest releases in 2021, and it did not disappoint fans of the franchise. Tom Holland’s Spiderman is exposed as the high schooler Peter Parker. When his friends and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) get interrogated due to their connection to him, he begins to get weary, but the boiling point is when his friends aren’t admitted to MIT. With the help of Doctor Strange, who will soon have another movie of his own, he tries to reverse the public knowledge of his identity, but, naturally, everything quickly goes south. Tomei has been a consistent face in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but she positively shines in No Way Home.
The Paper was released in 1994, two years after Tomei appeared in My Cousin Vinny. The Paper is a classic story about journalism and the publishing industry. Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton) is a rundown workaholic editor of a New York City tabloid and runs the risk of having his entire life sacrificed for the sake of the publication. At the same time, the pressure to get the hottest new story and be financially successful is a lingering problem for everyone at the newspaper, leading to the movie morphing into a dramatic comedy. The Paper is a very nineties film depicting a time in journalism that’s long gone, but it does show how Glenn Close’s character fell victim to blatant sexism.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
A crime thriller starring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead was on many critic lists for being one of the best films released in 2007. Hoffman stars as a finance executive who has embezzled funds from his company, so he enlists his brother to help rob their parent’s jewelry store. As everything starts to go wrong, Hoffman’s life continues to spiral and becomes a deeper hole. The story unfolds in a non-linear narrative, depicting the fragmented nature of Hoffman’s character’s life, and was enhanced by incredible performances from Tomei and Hoffman.
In the Bedroom
In the Bedroom takes a small town in Maine, Camden, and focuses on one of the families living within it. The Fowlers seem to have it all: the husband (Tom Wilkinson) is a doctor, their son (Nick Stahl) has graduated college, and the relationship between the parents is going well. But then there’s a catch: their son has fallen in love with an older woman who’s divorced and has two children (Marisa Tomei). Instead of potentially pursuing graduate school, the son is now considering staying in the town and merely becoming a fisherman to stay closer to the woman he loves. What seems to be a quiet love story quickly descends into madness and chaos as the heat of summer dwindles and hurricane season approaches. In the Bedroom was nominated for five Oscars, and Tomei was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role.
The King of Staten Island
Perhaps there’s no better contemporary representation of Staten Island besides its current icon: SNL’s Pete Davidson. Davidson stars as Scott, a twenty-four-year-old resident of Staten Island that doesn’t seem to have a future ahead of him. He’s a high school dropout, unemployed, suffers from mental health issues, and lost his father at a young age. The King of Staten Island mixes dark comedy with a dramatic coming-of-age story and manages to become a story where a young man turns his life around and learns to follow his dreams. It also is a semi-autobiographical film, which, perhaps, is why Davidson manages to be the anchor that holds this story together—his father died during the 9/11 attacks, and Davidson struggled with mental health issues while growing up on Staten Island.
Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler isn’t your regular sports drama. Aronofsky’s trademark style often delves into the surreal and disturbing parts of one’s psyche, and The Wrestler fits this bill. An aging wrestler who’s past his prime (Mickey Rourke) struggles with the fact that he’s no longer a young wrestler at the top of his success and fame. He finds solace with a stripper (Tomei) who also reflects that her moment of fame, her youth, is gone. The Wrestler is a portrait of people stuck in the past and carries burden and pain wherever they go. The professional wrestling community had emotional reactions to this movie, showing how impactful and realistic it was to the community it depicted.
My Cousin Vinny
Marisa Tomei’s performance in My Cousin Vinny is her best performance in a movie, and it was acknowledged when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Two New Yorkers driving to UCLA have just been arrested in Alabama for a crime they did not commit. They hire a cousin (Joe Pesci), a new lawyer who has never done a trial before, to represent them. A Brooklyn Italian, armed with his fiery fiancé (Tomei), is essentially trying to fake it until he makes it in a Southern courtroom. My Cousin Vinny is one of the most underrated movies. With its incredible acting, it is a legal film that manages to be both captivating and entertaining.
The film may register a $600M+ in net profits for the studio, as it continues to dominate box office with its $1B and counting worldwide gross.
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