Best: The Princess Diaries (2001)
Anne made her big-screen bow in the cuddly slice of fairytale fun, starring as a troubled teen who learns she is heir to the throne of a small European nation. Cue all manner of comic scrapes as awkward Anne grapples with the pomp and ceremony of life as a princess.
Harmless fun in the main, the film is the sort of unthreatening feelgood nonsense that director Garry Marshall could turn out in his sleep. Hathaway makes for a sparky lead presence however, and her chemistry with anti-establishment mate Heather Matarazzo is one of the film’s chief pleasures. Groundbreaking it isn’t, but as an enjoyable dose of teenage fluff, it hardly puts a foot wrong.
Worst: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)
As enjoyable as the first film was, it was hardly crying out for a sequel. However, Disney weren’t about to pass up on the chance to wring some more cash out of their tweenie audience, and promptly released this half-hearted follow-up.
Hathaway returns to the role of Mia, and this time she has boy problems. Will she opt for stuffy duke Callum Blue, or twinkly-eyed bad boy Chris Pine? Frankly, it’s hard to care. The breezy, lighthearted fun of the first film is replaced by a raft of sickly emoting, as Mia wrings her hands over just how unfair it all is. One for only the least discriminating of teenage girls.
Best: Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Anne garners critical acclaim for her part in Ang Lee’s superlative romance. She plays rodeo rider Lureen Newsome who shacks up with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack Twist, blissfully unaware that he carries a torch for another man.
Whilst Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger get the meat of the film’s drama, and Michelle Williams takes the showier of the main female roles, Hathaway is quietly effective in her role as the deceived wife. Indeed, the scenes involving her family and their interaction with her and Jack are some of the most emotionally charged in the film. Her denial over the nature of Jack’s death is particularly heartbreaking.
Worst: Havoc (2005)
Hathaway attempts to shake off her Disney princess image with this boob-baring, crack-smoking turn as teen-gone-bad Allison, a suburban girl-next-door who gets herself embroiled in L.A.’s gang culture.
Sadly, the whole thing smacks of someone trying too hard, and while her performance is by no means woeful, it’s hamstrung by some distracting quick-cut editing and a cliché-littered script. Everyone looks suitably gorgeous, but the preachy moralising is enough to make you gag.
Best: The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
A sharp-tongued and deliciously witty adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s autobiographical chick-lit smash, The Devil Wears Prada is a showcase for its leading lady’s mesmerising talents. Sadly, we’re talking about Meryl Streep rather than Anne Hathaway.
Hathaway is fine as put-upon intern Andy, but her performance is blown out of the water somewhat by Streep’s monstrous magazine editor Miranda Priestly. Even the smaller roles are more eye-catching, with Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci on top form as Andy’s catty colleagues.
Hathaway is perfectly believable in the leading role, she’s just not given as much to work with as her freewheeling co-stars. One of her better films for sure, just not one of her finer performances.
Worst: Valentine's Day (2010)
Garry Marshall and Anne Hathaway team up again for this selection box of slushy tripe. An ensemble drama featuring a host of big-name stars, it’s like Magnolia has had its heart and soul ripped out and replaced by a sickly filling of clichéd nonsense.
Hathaway plays a phone-sex worker who falls in love with a mailboy and blah, blah, blah. Like the rest of her perfectly tanned co-stars, Anne is transparently here for the paycheque – anyone who sat through it at the cinema would have a harder job explaining their involvement.
Best: Becoming Jane (2007)
Hathaway shows off her British accent (more on that later) as Jane Austen in this glossy period drama from Kinky Boots director Julian Jarrold. Appropriately enough for a film concerning Ms. Austen, the main theme of the story is falling in love, with Hathaway’s sparring with James McAvoy more convincing than anything in Valentine’s Day .
As for the star herself, she’s at her loveable best, fostering enough goodwill in the hearts of the audience to compensate for the script’s occasional lapses into sentimentality. The Julia Roberts comparisons have never been more apt.
Worst: Bride Wars (2009)
Kate Hudson chalks up another entry for her back catalogue of woeful comedies with this excruciating tale of a pair of “frenemies” whose nuptials are scheduled for the same day at the same venue. If such a mishap were to occur in real life it would be irritating for those involved, though not half as irritating as this misfiring farce.
Hathaway plays Hudson’s nemesis with a slightly embarrassed sneer, blushing her way through such zingers as “your wedding’s gonna be huge, just like your ass at prom!” Hudson’s response? “Your wedding can suck it!” Goodness, our sides appear to have split.
Best: Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Rachel Getting Married might be riddled with jealousy, insecurity and a ton of teary angst, but it’s still a far cheerier proposition than Bride Wars . Hathaway was rightly Oscar-nominated for her excellent turn as the uber-fragile Kym, and it’s her striking performance that provides the film with its beating heart.
Director Jonathan Demme presents his story in a washed-out, docu-realist style that places the emphasis firmly on his talented cast. And with Deborah Winger and Rosemarie DeWitt ably supporting Hathaway as mother and sister respectively, they certainly don’t let him down.
Worst: Get Smart (2008)
Steve Carell appeared the perfect choice to bring this sleuthing comedy from the small screen to the cinema, but his turn as Maxwell Smart is just one of many misfires in this disappointing flop. The comedy is painted in pretty broad strokes throughout, but short of the odd slapstick titter, there’s very little here to give the funnybone a proper workout.
Hathaway is inexplicably cast as an ass-kicking action girl, and her chemistry with Carell is non-existent from the off. Bill Murray’s cameo performance lifts the gloom somewhat, but by and large this is one to avoid. Let’s hope they can put things right in the upcoming sequel. Yes, of course they’re making one…
Best: Love And Other Drugs (2010)
Anne gets saucy for this frisky comedy, re-teaming with Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhaal to form a coupling that’s far more sexually charged than their original pair-up. She plays a Parkinson’s sufferer who throws herself into a no-strings-attached relationship with Gyllenhaal’s medicine salesman.
The tone might be a little uneven and some of the issues dealt with in a fairly perfunctory manner (in brief - sex is brilliant, disease isn’t) but there’s still plenty to be had from this above-average romcom. And it certainly helps that Hathaway and Gyllenhaal manage to conjure up a genuine frisson of bedroom excitement…
Worst: Passengers (2008)
This hysterical psycho-drama clunker casts Anne as a psychologist attempting to treat six survivors of a horrific plane crash back to something approaching sanity. Her therapy soon convinces her of a shadowy corporate cover-up, and things get progressively sillier from there.
Hathaway isn’t bad as the increasingly spooked shrink, and her burgeoning relationship with broker Patrick Wilson is a welcome diversion from the main plot. However, their good work is chronically undermined by an iffy script and a distinctly ill-conceived final twist. Poor.
Best: Rio (2011)
Anne lends her dulcet tones to Jewel the parrot, a beautiful high-flyer with little time for Jesse Eisenberg’s humble Macaw, in this affable animation from Pixar wannabes Blue Sky. The two must soon work together however, when they’re rounded up by some pesky smugglers.
It may not be a match for the likes of Toy Story , but Rio is perfectly good fun on its own merits, providing a steady stream of laughs throughout. Jermaine Clement is particularly chucklesome as malevolent parakeet Nigel. Brightly-coloured fun for all the family.
Worst: Alice In Wonderland (2010)
Ok, so it’s not an out-and-out disaster, but this one goes in the “worst” pile simply because we were hoping for so much more. Tim Burton seemed the perfect choice to adapt Lewis Carroll’s wacky source material, but sadly the whole endeavour smacks of a ho-hum pedestrianism.
The story feels slight, the arresting visuals are undermined by some truly chronic 3D and Johnny Depp appears simply to be trotting out his Jack Sparrow routine for the umpteenth time. As for Hathaway, her White Queen is something of a footnote in proceedings, sitting firmly in the shadow of Helena Bonham Carter as her petulant sister. An opportunity missed.
Best: One Day (2011)
Despite earning a glut of criticism for her admittedly dodgy accent (Hathaway reportedly watched episodes of Emmerdale in an attempt to nail her character’s Yorkshire tones) Anne is as charming as ever in Lone Scherfig’s good-looking adaptation of David Nicholls’ hugely popular love story.
Jim Sturgess is given the more interesting role as thrill-seeking cad Dexter, but Hathaway is spiky and hard-nosed enough to give him a run for his money. Fans of the book may find that it struggles to improve on the source material, but as adaptations go, this is one of the more faithfully rendered offerings.