After coming off one of the biggest film series ever, Emma Watson was doubtless left challenged, if not daunted, by the fact that she pretty much had only the eight Harry Potter films to her résumé at the time. It was 2011 by the time Harry Potter And The Deathly: Hallows Part 2 hit theaters, and Watson would have been just 21 years old and likely eager to make a name for herself as an actress of worth.
At the time, it would have been difficult to separate the actress from Muggle-born witch Hermione Granger, the one role that had been her mainstay for a decade. And while it's easy to make the leap from #HermioneGranger to her current role as Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, there are smaller roles in between that go beyond castles, princes, prisoners of Azkhaban and fiery goblets.
So in honor of International Women's Day, let's take a look at the most underrated films from this noted feminist. But first up, check out Watson in the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Lucy — My Week With Marilyn (2011)
As the sassy wardrobe assistant, this is by no means Watson's biggest role, but it's one she clearly had fun with. The love interest to Eddie Redmayne's Colin, Lucy is by no means a woman to be trifled with. Watson's apparent delight in playing the girl who will not be easily wooed is evident every time she's on screen.
Angela — Regression (2015)
This is probably one of Watson's most unusual roles, with the star dipping her toes into the horror genre. As Angela, an apparent victim of sexual abuse, she displays all the tension and fear that such a person might feel, though the involvement of a satanic cult adds an element of otherworldly suspense and fear. This is also one of the few roles in which #EmmaWatson displays an American accent. She is definitely no Hermione here, and while she was described by some critics as a likable lead alongside Ethan Hawke's Bruce Kenner, the movie was widely panned.
Nicki — The Bling Ring (2013)
The Bling Ring was moderately received by critics, although there was a lot of hype surrounding Watson's appearance in the film. Based on the true story of fame-obsessed teens living in LA and robbing the houses of the rich and famous, Watson appeared to relish the role of the entitled and troubled teenager with the attitude problem. Audiences who had been following the actress's career since the first #HarryPotter film were doubtless surprised by her appearance here.
Mae — The Circle (2017)
The Circle hits theaters on April 28, but anticipation has been ramping up, largely due to it being the final film of Bill Paxton following his recent death. Paxton plays the terminally ill father to Mae, a young woman who is hired by a social media empire built and run by the powerful Eamon Bailey, played by Tom Hanks. Of course, everything is not what it appears to be.
Watson continues to seek that balance between her role as an activist and a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and that as a thespian. She will doubtless continue to surprise fans with her future film choices, and if there's anything that she's proven since her days as a young Harry Potter witch, it's that she continues to be ones to watch.