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Anne Hathaway: A Look Back at Her Iconic Films That Raised Us

With The Idea of You being a spring success, let’s take a look back at some of Anne Hathaway’s most famous roles.

(Shutterstock, Lev Radin)

With a radiant smile that has graced the silver screen and a talent that has captivated audiences, Anne Hathaway continues to redefine Hollywood stardom with every role she takes on.

This past spring, Amazon Prime released The Idea of You, a Michael Showalter-directed romcom based on Robinne Lee’s 2017 novel of the same name. In the film, a 40-year-old single mom named Solène Marchand (Anne Hathaway) meets Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine), the charming frontman of the British boy band, August Moon. The two continue to meet after their initial run-in at a Coachella performance and begin an unexpected romance, despite their 16-year age gap.

With the recent success of The Idea of You, many have flocked to social media to not only give both Hathaway and the film praise but to comment on how gracefully Anne Hathaway has aged. Many have highlighted how little Hathaway’s appearance has changed over the years, stating it is due to her “unproblematic” nature. 

But beyond her stunning looks, Hathaway holds a special place in the hearts of many Gen-Z viewers who grew up watching her on the big screen. Let’s take a look back at some of Anne Hathaway’s biggest films that were a part of our childhood: 

How could we not start with The Princess Diaries? Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Mia Thermopolis transformed her from an awkward teenager into a beloved princess. The Princess Diaries was Hathaway’s big-screen debut and marked the beginning of her illustrious career. 

Anne Hathaway as Mia Thermopolis. Credit: Walt Disney Pictures. 

In the film, based on Meg Cabot’s 2000 novel of the same name, a shy Mia Thermopolis suddenly learns that she is a real-life princess and heir to the throne in a European city, Genovia. While navigating the challenges of high school, friendship, and self-discovery, Mia transforms from an ordinary girl to a princess, along with the help of her grandmother (Julie Andrews). The film also went on to have a successful sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

Last year it was revealed that Disney would be working on The Princess Diaries 3. In an interview with Variety, Hathaway commented “We’re in a good place. That’s all I can say. There’s nothing to announce yet. But we’re in a good place.” For all kids who grew up wanting to live in Genovia, the third film will likely be a nostalgic and healing experience, letting us reunite with heartwarming characters twenty years after the second film came out.

Hugh Dancy as Prince Charmont and Anne Hathaway as Ella. Credit: Miramax.

Did you forget about Ella Enchanted? What about the movie’s two memorable musical scenes? The first is Ella’s performance of “Somebody to Love.” In this scene, under the spell of obedience, Ella energizes everyone with her rendition of the Queen classic. Showcasing Hathaway’s vocal talent, in addition to her acting. The final scene of the movie concludes with an equally as memorable duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” between Ella and Prince Charmont. If you’re ever craving something distinctly early 2000s, these joyous musical scenes are the perfect fix. 

For those who don’t remember, Ella Enchanted follows Ella of Frell, a young girl who is given more of a magical curse rather than a blessing as she is forced to obey anything that she is told to do. As Ella grows older, she sets out on a fantastical journey to break the spell. 

Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs. Credit: 20th Century Studios.

“Can you please spell ‘Gabbana’?”

Andy

I am sure that other quotes from The Devil Wears Prada live somewhere in your mind if you are a fan of this cult classic comedy film. 

Andrea “Andy” Sachs is a recent college graduate who happens to land the role of personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of a prestigious fashion magazine. Throughout the film, Andy learns how to both survive and thrive in an industry and under a boss who demands nothing less than perfection, pushing her to her limits and transforming her understanding of the cost of success.

Eight years after Batman’s (Christian Bale) fight with the Joker, he returns in this epic sequel. With villains including Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy), Gotham City faces a new threat that forces Batman out of exile. 

Regarded as “the best Catwoman ever” by Vanity Fair, Hathaway’s “oops” scene displays her ability to switch from a timid, naive waitress to a villainous character within seconds. Hathaway proves that she can do more than just romance and comedies, she can be a kick-ass, sexy villain too.

Les Misérables gave us feeds full of Anne Hathaway memes, particularly due to a behind-the-scenes picture that captured her ghostly appearance during filming. Hathaway’s haunting portrayal of Fantine, complete with her dramatic physical transformation for the role, left a lasting impression on both audiences and social media users. 

The movie-musical adaption of Les Misérables, also simply known as “Les Mis,” is set against the backdrop of the Paris uprising of 1832. After Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a former prisoner, breaks parole, a persistent police inspector (Russell Crowe) refuses to let him be free. Years later, Valjean adopts Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) after her mother’s (Anne Hathaway) death. Despite, relocating and changing his identity, Valjean is not safe from the pursuits of the inspector. 

But these are only some of Hathaway’s huge roles. She has also been a part of other well-known films such as Brokeback Mountain, Hoodwinked, Alice in Wonderland, Love and Other Drugs, Rio, Interstellar, The Intern, and Oceans Eight

Anne Hathaway has graced the screen in numerous films that have defined our childhoods. From her royal role in The Princess Diaries to her enchanting performance in Ella Enchanted, she has brought beloved characters to life. I can speak for many of us in saying that we cannot wait to see what other roles she will take on in the future. Her talent and versatility continue to entertain, leaving us eagerly anticipating her next project.

Written By

Hi, I'm Tarryn! I am a recent graduate of Smith College where I double majored in Film and Media Studies and the Study of Women and Gender. I enjoy writing about horror, queer media, fan studies, feminist film theory, entertainment, and pop culture.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jessica

    June 19, 2024 at 4:32 pm

    Excellent writing! A very nice tribute to Anne Hathaway!

  2. Jason

    June 20, 2024 at 11:46 pm

    A very nice recap of her major roles.
    I’ll only disgree on your take of Selena Kyle (Catwoman).
    While she is certainly a criminal, and is in Batman’s gallery of villians, Hathaway’s portrayl of her in TDKR is more of reluctant ally than a villian. She also tries to sway his morals when trying to convince him to leave Gotham.

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