Laura Dern has established herself as an exceptional actress with over 40 years of experience in film and television, from her debut in “Smooth Talk” to her award-winning performance in “Big Little Lies.”

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Laura Dern: From Childhood Acting to Hollywood Icon

Laura Dern, born in Los Angeles to two celebrity actors, had early exposure to the film industry. Initially, she did not intend to pursue an acting career. Despite enrolling in college, Dern’s love for film roles kept calling her back. Growing up, she appeared in some films alongside her mother, including 1973’s White Lightning and 1974’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, where she received her first film debut. She even fought for emancipation at 16 to work longer hours as an adult in the film industry.

Throughout her career, Dern starred in numerous films and TV shows, showcasing her range and versatility. She received two Oscar nominations and has become an icon in Hollywood. Her impressive filmography includes blockbuster hits like Jurassic Park and critically acclaimed performances in Big Little Lies and Marriage Story. 

In addition to her work in film, Dern has also been successful on television, receiving a Primetime Emmy for her role on HBO’s Big Little Lies. Her other notable TV performances include playing Katherine Harris in Recount and Renata Klein in Big Little Lies. 

Her recent projects include appearing in Little Fockers, Downsizing, Little Women, and The Fault in Our Stars. Fans of Laura Dern can anticipate the upcoming release of her film, Jurassic World: Dominion, this year. Dern has been a prominent figure in the film and TV industry for almost four decades. Here are the top Laura Dean movies and TV shows for you to enjoy:

Laura Dean Movies and TV Shows 

Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet 1986

In “Blue Velvet,” Laura Dern plays Sandy Williams, a small town detective’s daughter who helps Kyle MacLachlan’s character investigate a mysterious case involving a severed ear. As the investigation unfolds, Sandy grows from an innocent girl to a mature young woman confronting unsettling truths. Dern’s emotional depth makes her character unforgettable, and her chemistry with MacLachlan adds a charged dynamic to the story.

Wild at Heart (1990)

Wild at Heart 1990

In David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart,” Laura Dern plays rebellious Lula Fortune, recently released from a psychiatric institution to start anew with her lover, Sailor (Nicolas Cage). However, her overbearing mother puts up resistance in their way. Dern’s emotional and intense portrayal of Lula as a woman struggling with her past in a suffocating world is a standout, as is her chemistry with Cage. While facing surreal challenges, Dern maintains vulnerability, showcasing her impressive range. Combined with Lynch’s unique visual style, Dern’s performance helps elevate “Wild at Heart” to captivating heights.

Jurassic Park (1993) 

Jurassic Park 1993

Laura Dern’s Jurassic Park character, Dr. Ellie Sattler, is a standout for her intelligence, bravery, and charisma. As the park’s inhabitants wreak havoc, Ellie remains a pillar of strength, taking on risks to help others. Her role was instrumental in the movie’s success and an inspiration for young girls to pursue careers in science and be strong, independent women.

Focus (2001) 

Focus (2001) 

Laura Dern’s performance as Gertrude Hart in “Focus” is an emotional and raw portrayal of the hardships of life during WWII. As a single mother working in a bomb factory, Dern captures the despair and loneliness of struggling to provide for her family amidst the chaos of war. Her chemistry with William H. Macy adds a nuanced depth to the film, highlighting the complexities of a society consumed by fear and prejudice. Dern’s understated yet powerful performance elevates “Focus” beyond a typical wartime drama.

Enlightened (2011-2013)

Enlightened 2011-2013

In the HBO series “Enlightened,” Laura Dern delivers a complex and nuanced performance as Amy Jellicoe. After a spiritual awakening, Amy navigates the challenges of personal growth while trying to make a difference in the corporate world and her personal relationships. Dern’s performance brings both humor and gravity to the role, infusing Amy with a mix of vulnerability and determination. Throughout the series, Dern portrays Amy’s journey of self-discovery with authenticity and humor, making her character’s growth all the more captivating.

Twin Peaks (2017)

Twin Peaks 2017

Laura Dern’s role in Twin Peaks (2017) is that of Diane Evans, an enigmatic character shrouded in mystery. Dern’s performance is captivating and complex, showcasing her ability to convey deep emotion through subtle facial expressions and body language. As we learn more about Diane’s past and her relationship with Agent Cooper, Dern delivers a nuanced portrayal of a character haunted by personal demons. Her chemistry with co-star Kyle MacLachlan adds depth and intrigue to the show, making Diane one of the most memorable characters in the Twin Peaks universe.

Big Little Lies (2017-2019)

Big Little Lies (2017-2019) Laura Dern

As Renata Klein in the acclaimed HBO series Big Little Lies (2017-2019), Laura Dern delivers a powerhouse performance that earned her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. As a successful businesswoman and fierce mother, Dern’s character struggles to maintain control in both her personal and professional life, and her portrayal captures the intensity and vulnerability of a woman trying to have it all. In 2017, Dern took home the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, and in 2018, she won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film. Her performance has been widely praised, and Dern was nominated for another Emmy for the series in 2020.

Marriage Story(2019)

Marriage Story(2019) Laura Dern

Laura Dern delivers a standout performance in the 2019 film Marriage Story, playing the role of divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw. Her portrayal of the sharp-tongued and ruthless advocate for Scarlett Johansson’s character, Nicole Barber, is both captivating and powerful. Dern’s ability to convey the complex mix of ambition and vulnerability in her character makes her performance all the more engaging.

As Nora Fanshaw, Dern delivers some of the film’s most memorable moments, delivering biting monologues that cut straight to the heart of the matter.For her role in Marriage Story, Dern earned a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, and her first Academy Award. Her performance is a standout in an already impressive film, cementing Dern’s status as one of the brightest talents in Hollywood.

Final Thoughts

Laura Dern has had an impressive career spanning over four decades, with an extensive filmography that includes some of the most iconic movies and TV shows of our time. From her breakout role in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” to her award-winning performances in “Big Little Lies” and “Marriage Story,” Dern has established herself as one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood. Along with her impeccable on-screen performances, Dern has been a leading voice in the industry advocating for more diversity and representation. Whether you’re a long-time fan or just discovering her work, Laura Dean movies and TV shows are a must-watch.