The Film: Ms Portman was lucky to bag this, the first feature film of her career. Initially turned down by the flick’s casting director for being too young (she was 11), she returned to act out the scene in which Mathilda mourns the death of her brother.
Impressed, director Luc Besson gave her the part.
The Role: Twelve-year-old chain-smoker Mathilda has the kind of smarts that most pre-teens could only dream of. Calmly pacing past her apartment, where her family have all just been murdered, she is inadvertently saved by Jean Reno’s “cleaner” Léon.
The Hair: Hard edged bob with a fringe.
The Film: Tim Burton took a break from Batman and dark, twisted tales for this high camp send up of ‘50s alien invasion flicks.
The Role: Portman brings a touch of likeable empathy to First Daughter Taffy Dale, who has Jack Nicholson for a father and Glenn Close for a mother. Which explains her wickedly dark sense of humour and cynical view of the world.
As civilisation falls to its knees, Taffy is one of the few survivors. She takes up her father’s duties by awarding medals to the brave. Portman, it seems, is a natural leader.
The Hair: Typical non-descript teenager cut.
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
The Film: If there was one good thing about The Phantom Menace , it was that it shrunk our Jupiter-sized expectations down to size. Meaning we could enjoy this second outing for what it was – a fun space romp with some dazzling set pieces.
The Role: After staggering around under a ton of fabric and make-up in the first Star Wars prequel, Ms Portman lets her hair down (sometimes literally) in her second round as Padmé Amidala.
She gets to fire a gun and actually save herself (gasp!) from the jaws of peril. You go girl!
The Hair: A tight bun for kicking butt, soft and wavy for court duties and weddings.
The Film: The directorial debut of Zach Braff (him off Scrubs ), based in part on his own youth growing up in New Jersey.
Apparently Ms Portman was Mr Braff’s first and only choice for the role of Sam. He never thought she’d say yes. She did, missing three weeks of her senior year at Harvard to shoot the film.
The Role: “Do you play the retarded quarterback?” Sam asks Zach’s Andrew. “Are you really retarded?”
She’s epileptic, a compulsive liar, and deceptive to the extreme. But she’s also inspiring and mesmerising. Who remembers that scene in the pool?
The Hair: Braided, plaited and all over the shop. Just like the character.
The Film: Tarantino described Closer as a film that takes its four leads and shoves them in a box before slowly picking them apart.
A sort of update of Mozart’s tragic opera Cosi fan tutte , Mike Nichols directs Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in a film that questions love and loyalty.
The Role: It’s the one that bagged Portman a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination. Alice has run away from New York, fleeing a life spent in the sex industry. Portman is sexy, sultry and manipulative.
The Hair: Take your pick. Our favourite is the pink bob, naturally.
The Film: Director Anthony Minghella’s penultimate big screen directing gig is a two-and-a-half-hour war drama based on Charles Frazier’s novel.
The Role: Portman originally went for Nicole Kidman’s role. Instead, she took the arguably far more affecting part of tragic Sara.
A young widow who’s raising her child alone, she’s almost raped by a soldier, then shoots another. The intensity sizzling behind Portman's eyes is staggering.
Did we mention it’s all rather tragic?
The Hair: Simple plaits befitting of a busy young mother.
V for Vendetta
The Film: Still cruising on the accolades that the first Matrix earned them, the brothers Wachowski dusted off a pre- Matrix script that they had written for Vendetta and handed it to James McTeigue to direct. The two flicks follow similar themes relating to society, power and corruption.
The Role: Ms Portman beat both Scarlett Johansson and Bryce Dallas Howard to the part of Evey. Ever the pro, Portman was most excited about the scene in which she had her head shaved – naturally, they did it in just one take.
The Hair: It all gets chopped off. She still looks amazing.
The Film: Critically mauled on release, Milos Forman’s return to the camera after a five year break still sits uneasy with critics, but attracts Portman fans thanks to her dual role of Inés/Alicia.
Though shot entirely in Spain, with Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgård, it’s an English-speaking oddity.
The Role: Cast after director Forman noticed that she resembled the girl in Goya's painting ‘Milkmaid of Bordeaux’, Portman plays wronged model Inés and benevolent street-walker Alicia.
The Hair: Jet black. She’s Spanish, innit?
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Film: Written by Peter Morgan, this sweeping period drama is adapted from the book by Philippa Gregory.
It follows the tragic relationships between King Henry VIII and Mary and Anne Boleyn.
The Role: Portman replaced Keira Knightley to play Anne Boleyn when the young Brit vacated the role.
She describes the character as “strong, yet she can be vulnerable, and she will step on people but also feels remorse for it.”
The Hair: Mostly hidden underneath a variety of sumptuous headdresses.
Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium
The Film: Crazy, zany wack-a-doo fantasy written and directed by Zach Helm (of Stranger than Fiction ). Mr Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) is a centuries-old toy shop owner who decides to hand the reigns over to his manager Molly Mahoney (Portman).
In response, the shop throws a tantrum, and all hell breaks loose.
The Role: Drew Barrymore was originally up to play Molly Mahoney, but Portman jumped in when the role became free. She might be regretting it now, though; the movie bombed.
The Hair: A pixie cut magnifies Ms Portman’s pre-existing elfin beauty.
The Film: Translating the original Danish film Brødre for an English-speaking audience, this Jim Sheridan-directed drama follows the horror of war both home and away.
It features a staggering show from Tobey Maguire as a kidnapped soldier treated to extremes of violence of mental torture. It’s released this Friday.
The Role: Portman gives a killer performance as grieving mother-of-two Grace Cahill in a film overflowing with great performances (including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Carey Mulligan). Next up, it’s Thor and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies .
The Hair: Blonde highlighted anti-mum mum hair.