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Triple Oscar-nominee Saoirse Ronan's best performances


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She's been starring in huge hollywood films for over eleven years, so it's easy to forget that Saoirse Ronan will just be turning twenty-four years old. Her collection of diverse and interesting roles have earned her three academy award nominations (her first at just twelve years old!) all before turning twenty-four.

1. Briony Tallis in Atonement (2007)

It’s hard to stand out in a film when you’re starring alongside acting legends like Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch. However, Saoirse Ronan more than manages to steal the show (and everyone’s attention) as Briony Tallis in Atonement. Ronan was just eleven years old when she played Briony, a role which earned her first ever Academy Award nomination. 

Briony is the main antagonist of the film, causing trouble for her sister Cecilia (Knightley) and Robbie (McAvoy). Ronan’s ability to make a whole audience hate a twelve-year-old is quite extraordinary. She doesn’t say much but her wistful smirks and spiteful looks all contribute to an incredible performance, which was well deserving of an Oscar nomination.


2. Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones (2009) 

It takes a seriously talented actor to bring light and beauty into a film about a teenager who is murdered, but somehow Ronan manages it with ease. She brings a lighthearted innocence to the role of Susie Salmon, yet another iconic literary character she makes her own. Susie’s budding relationship with Ray (Reece Ritchie) is so authentic and relatable, and the way that Ronan has an air of childlike awkwardness when she speaks to him brings a real air of first love nostalgia to an otherwise dark film. 

As with her other roles, Ronan’s facial acting almost outshines the lines written for her. From the terror in her eyes as she is killed, to the pure unsolicited heartbreak as she watches on as her loved ones mourn, this is another magical performance from Ronan. 


3. Hanna Heller in Hanna (2011)

Throughout her career Ronan has chosen a variety of roles, which has prevented her becoming typecast as an actor. Her role as teenage assassin is yet another masterclass in acting from Ronan. 

Ronan brings an air of vulnerability and uncertainty to Hanna, who despite being strong and able to fight for herself, lacks strengths in other departments. She relies on her survival instincts to get her through life, and Ronan’s awkwardness as Hanna in this particular scene shows that struggles with normal interactions after she’s been trained to kill. Beyond it all, Hanna is a coming of age story, and Ronan plays a girl that despite everything, just wants to be loved. 


4. Eilis Lacey in Brooklyn (2015)

Based on the protagonist from Colm Tóibín's novel of the same name, Eilis Lacey is arguably one of Ronan's best performances. Her portrayal of Eilis, a young Irish woman who moves away from her home in County Wexford to Brooklyn, New York is one that earned her a second Oscar nomination. Perhaps the reason her role in Brooklyn is so believable is because it’s reflective of her own story, travelling away from her home in Ireland at a young age.

What makes Eilis so special however, is her relationship with Tony (Emory Cohen) which is the focal point of the film. We see Eilis transform before our eyes as she falls in love with Tony and in turn, falls in love with Brooklyn. The final scene in particular where Eilis and Tony are reunited should’ve won an Oscar in itself. Ronan barely speaks but her face tells us a thousand stories, and her ability to portray heartbreak, love and fondness all in one look is just sublime. 


5. Christine 'Lady Bird' Mcpherson in Lady Bird (2017)

It’s not hard to see why Lady Bird became such a huge commercial hit, and that is of course, all down to Saoirse Ronan. It takes serious skill to turn an unlikeable, selfish, bratty teenager into a character who a whole generation can fall in love with. Lady Bird might not be the best person, but she can evoke in every woman watching memories of being that teenage girl who was terrible to her mother (Laurie Metcalf). Everything from her wanting to live an exciting life, to falling for the typical ‘bad boy’ Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), Lady Bird is everything you want from a teen coming-of-age film character, without being badly acted and cliché.

Lady Bird garnered Ronan her third Oscar nomination, and is easily one of her best performances to date. 

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