Helena Bonham Carter is a British national treasure, with an acting career spanning over thirty years. Now at fifty, let's celebrate her age and the work she's accomplished along the way.
Bonham Carter has bought such wonderful characters to life on screens worldwide and her ability to captivate audiences in a wide variety of roles looks effortless. Helena excels in period pieces and looks quite at home in a corset, but she's also able to give us hard-hitting grit and musicals.
To an entire generation, she shall always be the terrifying and sadistic Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter franchise, a role which was played to perfection. Helena has lived most of her life out on screen. As that wasn't enough, alongside the many movies she has made, she's mothered two adorable children and is a political voice on many British matters.
To celebrate Helena's work we're going to take a look at some of her greatest movie moments within the first fifty years of her life and we're sure there will be even more to come.
Helena Bonham Carter: Fact File
- Date of Birth: May 26 1966 (Age 50)
- Star Sign: Gemini
- Born: Golders Green, London
- Nationality: British
- Title: CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
- Height: 5"2
- Hair Color: Brown
- Eye Color: Brown
- Languages: English and French
- Children: 2, Billy Raymond Burton and Nell Burton
Age 19, Helena's Big Break: A Room With A View (1985)
Helena plays Lucy Honeychurch, a young Edwardian English woman who's life is completely changed by a chance meeting on holiday in Italy. Based on the novel by E.M Forster, Lucy is torn between the love of the man she wants and the duty she has to the man she's already engaged to.
Taking on such a momentous role at such a young age must have been quite daunting for Helena, especially when acting amongst already established stars like Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Simon Callow.
Watch as such a young Helena commands the scene below:
Age 23, A Bit Of Shakespeare: Hamlet (1990)
Bonham Carter took on the role of love-sick Ophelia in Zeffirelli's adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. It's one of her more famous roles due to the grandiose the well-known names brought to the film. Bonham Carter starred opposite Mel Gibson, Glenn Close and Alan Bates.
Helena pulled off the role of distracted Ophelia wonderfully, not bad for someone who's never been classically trained in acting. Helena would go on to star in many Shakespearean adaptations along with many other period dramas.
Watch as Helena explores the madness within Ophelia, before she finally ends it all.
Age 25, Her First BAFTA Nomination: Howard's End (1992)
Helena returned to E.M Forster, this time in the adaptation of 'Howard's End'. Helena plays Helen in this tale of victorian class wars. Bourgeoisie Helen finds herself in involved with a working class man, at the risk upsetting three different class families in the process.
For this role Helena was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA, she sadly lost out to Miranda Richardson for Damage. Howard's End, however did win the Best Film BAFTA.
Watch the trailer for the award-winning film below, you'll be wanting to don a corset and fall madly in love amongst the violets in no time:
Age 33, The Hollywood Edge: Fight Club (1999)
David Fincher's revered adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name is where we get to see Helena tackle a dark, deeply deprived role that's both alarming and endearing.
Helena based her portrayal of Marla on Judy Garland in the last years of her life, she had her make-up artist apply her make-up with her left hand, to give an unprofessional messiness to her face. Helena also spent three days with Brad Pitt recording their orgasms for their unseen sex scenes.
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Age 39, Bellatrix Is Born: Harry Potter Franchise (2007-2011)
She's terrified a generation, creating one of the most devilish witches ever seen, but shockingly, Helena got the role of Bellatrix by chance. It was originally meant to be Helen McCroy's (who in the end played Narcissa) moment in the spotlight but she fell pregnant prior to filming. Naturally, we can't imagine anyone one but Helena playing Bellatrix now, everything about her appearance and demeanor stays true to the character penned by J.K Rowling.
She wonderfully portrayed Hermione disguised as Bellatrix too, giving us a very comedic Bellatrix. Bonham Carter even admits to frightening young children with her wand when they are misbehaving. It would definitely work on us.
Watch the video below to see Helena and Helen play the pureblood sisters, as they visit Snape on a secret mission:
Age 39: The Tim Burton Years: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)
The cinematic golden trio of Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp brought us much-loved movies such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. Sweeney Todd however is arguably the famous three's biggest movie.
An adaptation of the award winning Broadway musical from Stephen Sondheim brought to the big screen, much to many musical fans annoyance. Bonham Carter played the part of twisted Mrs Lovett well and with great comedic timing and it was a great chance to hear her really sing.
Watch the clip below to see the first time we meet Mrs Lovett:
Age 44, The Oscar Nomination: The King's Speech (2010)
Playing a real person can often be difficult as you're under so much scrutiny to do the person justice. Helena played the role of Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother, to you and me) in the Oscar winning movie opposite Colin Firth's King George VI. Lending her wonderful Britishness into the role and donning some truly fabulous hats, Bonham was able to gain a Best Supporting Actress Nomination Oscar for her role. Highly adept at period dramas, Helena gives a performance worthy of royal praise.
Bow down to her Majesty below:
Age 49, A Sprinkle Of Disney Magic: Cinderella (2015)
Under the watchful eye of ex-lover and director Kenneth Branagh, Helena played the magical part of the Fairy Godmother in Disney's live action Cinderella. A spectacular feast for the eyes. Helena's goofy and silly fairy was well received and we did love finally seeing Helena use her magical powers for good. Bellatrix would definitely not approve. With blonde hair and showered in sequins, Helena looks much younger than her forty nine years. She also lent her husky tones to voice the narration of the movie too.
Watch below as Helena as the Fairy Godmother makes Cinderella's and all our shoe dreams come true:
Of course this list only touches the surface of Helena's great depth of work, but I'm sure we can all agree that she has given us some truly great cinematic movies over the years. We hope the next fifty years are as magical as these have been, we're definitely looking forward to her next project.
Helena is set to star in the all female Oceans Eight alongside Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Sarah Paulsom and Mindy Kaling. With a cast like that we're ridiculously excited to see that movie, released in 2017.
Enjoy the video below of an interview with Helena herself for BAFTA, as she discusses the business acting and how she got the urge to act at such a young age.
Which Helena Bonham Carter is your favorite?