All hail Margot Robbie, the Queen of Hollywood. That may not be her official title, but as the highest paid actress in 2022, we might as well make things official. And after all, she did play Queen Elizabeth I once. As we come up on the release of her highly publicized appearance as Barbie in the upcoming Greta Gerwig film, we decided to take a stroll down memory lane and rank Margot Robbie’s film characters from worst to best.
Okay, let’s be real. There is no “worst” when it comes to Margot. Only slightly less good. And then there’s Suicide Squad, but we’ll get to that later.
We took several factors into consideration when we put together this list: critical acclaim (AKA was she nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar?), Rotten Tomatoes rankings for the films, and our own personal opinions. From Harley Quinn to Sharon Tate to Tonya Harding, here is the definitive ranking of Margot Robbie’s best acting roles.
Take this list with a grain of salt, but try not to get too salty. It’s bad for your cholesterol.
The 13 Best Margot Robbie Characters, Ranked From Worst to Best
13. Valerie Voze (Amsterdam, 2022)
To be fair, this ranking has less to do with Robbie herself, and more due to the film being…not good. She stars as an eccentric nurse who creates art out of shrapnel removed from soldiers in World War I. But “eccentric” is better used to describe her actions than her personality, because her actual performance is quite the opposite.
Boring? Dull? Flat? Insert other adjectives that could describe an old can of seltzer, and they most certainly apply to Amsterdam.
It seems like the director was going for muted energy amongst this ensemble cast, but Robbie doesn’t excel in “muted.” We’re talking about the woman who played Harley Quinn. Give her color or watch her flop. And not in a cool, acrobatic way.
12. Charlotte (About Time, 2013)
Robbie’s not in About Time as much as we wanted her to be, because she’s a supporting character to Rachel McAdams’ leading lady. She plays Charlotte, the charming and sweet love interest of protagonist Tim.
When he discovers that he can turn back time, he attempts to win her heart, but it turns out she’s just not that into him. Better luck next time, Tim.
She’s fine in this role, but her character feels very “as seen through the male gaze.” And sure, we all know Margot Robbie is stunning, but emphasizing only that is *so* 2013. She does way more interesting work later on, so this one earns its place at the end of our list.
11. Jane Porter (The Legend of Tarzan, 2016)
In a retelling of the childhood classic, Margot Robbie is Jane, Tarzan’s love interest. Being that it’s an incredibly nostalgic film and character, we had high expectations going in. And she plays the Jane we remember from childhood: fiery and independent.
But there’s still something sterile about her. Tamed. Polite. And even though she successfully steals the scene from her male counterpart, she doesn’t quite deliver the Margot Robbie spunk and attitude we’ve come to know and love. We ordered extra spicy, not mild. For our salsa, and our movie characters.
10. Ann Burden (Z for Zachariah, 2015)
Ann Burden is an apocalypse survivor who finds herself in a tricky love triangle between Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Caleb (Chris Pine) in Z for Zachariah. We could do without the whole nuclear fallout thing, but finding yourself in a love triangle with Chris Pine isn’t the worst outcome.
It’s kind of like Adam and Eve…and Steve. We’re into it.
She’s a believable love interest, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s something saccharine about her performance that doesn’t quite ring true. It’s not how we picture someone in her situation behaving. And the frustrating part is, we know she can do it.
We just don’t get to see enough of the rough, tough side of Robbie that we love, and it seems like this role in particular could have benefited from that energy. And probably a new wardrobe. But she wears Apocalypse Chic with the best of them.
9. Tanya Vanderpoel (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 2016)
Opposite Tina Fey in this dramatic comedy film that takes place in the war in Afghanistan (yeah, that’s a very confusing and unexpected sentence to us, too), Margot Robbie plays journalist Tanya Vanderpoel.
Sexy, fun, and motivated, the character reads like it was meant for her. She’s great as the news reporter who will stop at nothing to get the story, along with anything else she wants. Robbie is solid. But if this was the first movie we ever saw of hers, we wouldn’t walk away thinking she was anything special.
She showed up and did her job, but we wouldn’t bestow her with any awards for this performance. Good thing no one asked us to be in the Academy. Yet. At the time of this writing. Think this article will convince them?
8. Jess Barrett (Focus 2015)
Now we’re getting into the good stuff. The peak Margot Robbie performances. The “add to your list and stop everything to watch right now” kind of performances. Your laundry can wait. Not that you were jumping to start it, anyway.
Playing alongside Will Smith’s con man Nicky, Robbie appears as a femme fatale in Focus, a fast-paced thriller, and she totally overshadows her Academy Award-winning counterpart. Yup, we said it. Will Smith, this just ain’t your best work.
If not for Robbie, this movie would honestly be below average. But she comes in hot and plays the heck out of this role. It’s a role you might say anyone super hot could play, but after you’ve seen Robbie, you’d realize it could only be her.
It fully solidified her place as number one on our list of cool girls we want to be. Let us know if you want to see that list next.
7. Queen Elizabeth I (Mary Queen of Scots, 2018)
Robbie is hardly recognizable as Queen Elizabeth I in this historical flick. She does the role justice, and somehow manages to act super jealous of her cousin Mary, even though we can’t imagine Margot Robbie being jealous of anyone else.
She wears an atrocious orange wig and clown makeup so well that it makes us think, “maybe we could rock that.” (We couldn’t.) The only reason this isn’t higher up is because our girl doesn’t play the main character, and we’ve been conditioned to expect to see so much more of her. Supporting actress who?
6. Nellie LaRoy (Babylon, 2022)
So, the critics are confused about Babylon. It’s got a 52 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, but there are a lot of enthusiasts who love it. One thing we do know is that Margot Robbie slays in this film, playing a part she does better than any of her peers: the Hollywood starlet.
Who better than a starlet to play a starlet, really? And why do we still use the word starlet to refer to young female actresses? Isn’t it a bit condescending? No one would call Austin Butler a starlet. Anyway, we digress.
Margot Robbie does a few things very well, and high energy roles like this one that rely on her extraordinary beauty and effervescence (oh, and of course, that famous New York accent) are exactly in her wheelhouse. Is it the most original character we’ve seen her play? No. Were we still highly entertained? Absolutely. Oh, and she earned another Golden Globe nod for this performance. Casual.
5. Naomi Lapaglia (The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013)
Let’s talk about Margot Robbie’s breakthrough role. The moment when she went from being Margot Robbie to being Margot Robbie. Wife of Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), Robbie’s character Naomi Lapaglia is funny, tough, and has a killer Brooklyn accent.
It was after The Wolf of Wall Street that Robbie’s career really took off, and her portrayal of the sharp, scene-stealing Lapaglia will go down in cinematic history. If you haven’t seen it yet, just watch this nursery scene. Thank us later.
4. Kayla Pospisil (Bombshell, 2019)
Robbie’s portrayal of a workplace sexual assault survivor in the 2019 drama Bombshell earned her Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations, and it’s easy to see why. The film centers around the true events that led to the downfall of Fox News CEO and chairman, Roger Ailes…and the women who brought him down.
Robbie plays the fictional character Kayla Pospisil, a composite based upon the stories of dozens of real women. Her acting is slick and entertaining as the eager young associate. This is Margot Robbie at her very best and brightest. And we’re not just talking about her ridiculously shiny hair.
3. Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, and The Suicide Squad, 2016, 2020, 2021)
How could we not rank Harley Quinn as one of the best performances of Margot Robbie’s career? Sure, it’s the role she’s played the most, giving her tons of practice. But something about the character just makes sense on her. Even though the first movie (Suicide Squad) is not very good, her performance makes it worth seeing.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: high-energy roles are where Robbie truly shines. And as Harley Quinn, she puts her impressive physique on display. She even trained for six months in boxing, aerial silk, and gymnastics so she could do most of her own stunts on camera. You know, just like how we took a Zumba class in college one semester.
Oh, and if that’s not impressive enough, did you know she’s Australian? Based on her insane Brooklyn accent, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that. Unless you’re super good at guessing. Want to hit up the casino after this?
2. Sharon Tate (Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, 2019)
This might be a controversial take, considering that Margot Robbie famously has very few lines of dialogue as Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood. Yet she truly proves her chops as an actress because she doesn’t need a lot of lines to put forth a pitch-perfect performance in this rewrite of Hollywood history.
We couldn’t take our eyes off her. And not just because she was on a giant screen in front of our faces.
Robbie is able to imbue a feeling of innocence and a pure love for Hollywood as the young star. You can’t help but fall in love with her by the end of the movie. She’s magnificently captivating in a way that sticks with you like cream cheese on a bagel. Speaking of food, are we almost done here? We’re starving.
1. Tonya Harding (I, Tonya, 2017)
It seems only right that the film which earned Robbie her first nomination at the Academy Awards should take the number one spot on this list. I, Tonya follows the true story of the rise of American figure skater Tonya Harding, who gained notoriety for her assault on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
This character catapulted Robbie’s career forward, as her first leading role that earned notice from the big award shows. On top of the Oscars nomination, Robbie also received Golden Globe, SAG Award, and BAFTA nominations and an AACTA award for her gritty, darkly funny portrayal of the Olympic athlete.
Perhaps most impressive about this iconic depiction of an American legend was Robbie’s dedication to the role. She even trained in figure skating for four months to prepare. So yeah, the next time our boss asks us to send an email, we won’t be complaining. Especially if we become as well compensated as our girl Robbie.
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