Best: Black Swan (2010)
All eyes are on Natalie Portman this awards season, and she's hot favourite to take home the Oscar for her stunning turn in Darren Aronofsky's ballet psychodrama.
It's not like she doesn't deserve the praise either: the movie rests heavily on her en pointe toes and her haunted, frail performance as virginal dancer Nina, who struggles to summon the darkness required to play the Black Swan.
As well as nailing the mental transformation, Portman fully convinces in the physical stakes, as a performer pushing her body to the limit in the search of perfection. Could herald a whole new era for Portman as an actress.
Worst: Brothers (2009)
Portman had a pivotal role in this remake of 2004's Brødre : she plays the war widow who falls for her departed hubbie's bad-boy brother (Jake Gyllenhaal), only to discover her husband (Tobey Maguire) survived after all.
The central trio give it a decent shot, but they all feel too young to inject the story with the required heft, and at times it can feel like Portman is more like a lovesick schoolgirl than a grieving mother-of-two. Stick with the Danish original.
Best: Hotel Chevalier (2007)
Natalie Portman had a miniscule role in Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited , but it came with added significance via this short companion piece.
Sporting a Hepburn crop, and shedding her clothes for a much-discussed flash of skin, Portman's minxy ex-girlfriend is the catalyst that sends Jack (Jason Schwartzman) on his India-bound voyage of discovery with his brothers.
Ditching her trademark innocence, Portman proves compelling, intimidating, and pretty much irresistible.
Worst: My Blueberry Nights (2007)
Wong Kar-Wai's English language debut failed to beguile in the same measure as the likes of In The Mood For Love and Chungking Express .
Surprisingly, it's singer Norah Jones who stands out above big movie names Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Portman. Jones' dreamy-eyed middle-distance stare may not be too everyone's taste, but Portman's garish southern gal feels entirely forced in comparison.
Not entirely uninteresting, but it's unlikely that this'll be one you watch more than once.
Best: Garden State (2004)
Scrubs man Zach Braff made an impressive directorial debut with this Sundance favourite. It verges on being overly quirksome, but ultimately it's saved by solid performances, and some well-handled thematic elements.
Portman plays an life-grabbing epilepsy sufferer who Braff's Large ends up falling for when he decides to take a break from his medication.
She's addictively charming in a potentially annoying role, and she provides much of the genuine heart that buoys the movie.
Worst: Goya's Ghosts (2006)
This movie is loaded with cinematic big-hitters and packs a hefty subject matter, but sadly it never really rises above the mundane. Stellan Skarsgård is the painter whose work falls foul of the Spanish Inquisition.
Natalie Portman doesn't get room to breathe in her role as Goya's muse, though Javier Bardem at least brings presence to spare as unrelenting monk Lorenzo.
That this was the comeback movie from Milos Forman ( One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , Amadeus ), makes its underwhelming impact all the more disappointing.
Best: Closer (2004)
Portman got an early chance to demonstrate the kind of duality she can so confidently slip in and out of in Mike Nichols' ice-cold relationship drama.
Patrick Marber adapted the smart script from his own play, which sees the action jump to key moments in the interwoven relationships of four people.
As Alice, Portman flits between über-confident stripper and needy betrayed woman, and gives one of this four-hander's standout turns (much credit is also due to a crackling Clive Owen).
Worst: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
Portman looks striking in the full Queen Amidala garb, but otherwise the young actress is as false as George Lucas' digital sets.
It remains a mystery how the talents of Portman and Ewan McGregor seem to evaporate as soon as they get in front of one of Lucas' cameras.
There's also the quite queasy fact of her relationship with the pre-pubescent Anakin (Jake Lloyd), that's almost as unpalatable when she gets with his older counterpart. The young actress's first big blockbuster role should have been so much better, in terms of movie, performance, everything...
Best: Cold Mountain (2003)
Anthony Minghella's lavish period piece didn't garner the plaudits of The English Patient , but it's a film that's impossible to not admire.
The driving force of the film is the relationship between Jude Law's Confederate soldier and Ada (Nicole Kidman), the love he left behind in Carolina, but Portman shows up in a valuable support role.
As a young widow who takes in Law's wayward soldier for a night, her underlying youthfulness is contrasted with a believable layer of lived-in grime.
Worst: Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)
This Willy Wonka -lite toy-store tale features one of Portman's most annoying performances. Even her elfin charms can't sell the magic this story desperately needs.
Sadly, Portman's not on her own, as being irritating seems to be the order of the day here, with Dustin Hoffman gurning for all he's worth as the excessively kooky Magorium, and Jason Bateman failing to bring charm or giggles to his troublesome accountant.
Portman's character suffers from a lack of confidence, which speaks volumes for this tonally-unsure kids' movie.
Best: V for Vendetta (2006)
Vendetta opened to mixed reviews, and comic creator Alan Moore of course distanced himself as far as he could from the project, but it remains a decent actioner, with more brain and political bite than your average.
It also boasts a ballsy, post- Star Wars turn from Portman, who made headlines by shaving her head for the role (in the process proving that she can pull of any 'do thrown at her).
The movie's also bolstered by some decent knife-wielding action scenes and an intriguingly Orwellian vision of Britain under a fascist dictatorship.
Worst: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
For her second go at Star Wars , Portman failed to spark any chemistry with Anakin (Hayden Christensen), let alone convince as a key stepping stone on the path to the ultimate dark lord losing his way.
If as much attention was paid to Padmé's character as to her make-up and costume design, we might have got somewhere.
Hamfisted dialogue aside, Portman also gets involved unconvincingly in the action, via the arena showdown, where she gets to wear a conveniently ripped top.
Best: Heat (1995)
Portman didn't start here cinematic career slowly: after an explosive performance in Leon , she bagged a role in Michael Mann's intense crime thriller.
She plays Lauren, the troubled stepdaughter of Al Pacino's workaholic lawman Vincent Hanna, pretty much embodying the destruction that his obsession is wreaking on his personal life.
The showy centrepiece was obviously the De Niro vs Pacino acting showdown, but Portman more than holds her own amidst a staggeringly packed cast.
Worst: The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Portman's performance is far and away the most successful part of this otherwise messy adaptation of Philippa Gregory's historical bodice-ripper, investing Anne Boleyn with tempting appeal and a naive misguidedness.
Sadly, Eric Bana and Scarlett Johansson give can't-be-bothered turns as the remaining vertices of the love triangle, and the film fails to match the tension of the tacky page-turner of a source.
The movie doesn't capture the courtly intrigue that was required for the claustrophobia and tension, faring poorly in comparison to TV romp The Tudors .
Best: Mars Attacks! (1996)
Portman is a rare child actress worthy of being cast as the screen offspring of Jack Nicholson and Glenn Close, and this movie gave her the opportunity to add her name to an enviably starry cast list.
Tim Burton's big-budget B-movie isn't to everyone's taste, but once it gets going after a bit of a dawdling start, it's unashamedly good fun.
Portman's First Daughter is a bit ambivalent to the alien invasion to begin with, but she proves herself pretty capable when she's forced to muck in.
Worst: Where the Heart Is (2000)
In this bizarre slice of Southern Americana, Natalie Portman fails to convince as a trailer trash teen mom. In fact, a feeling of inauthenticity pervades the whole movie, from the 'colourful' (read, ridiculous) character names, to the string of almost random occurences.
Portman's Novalee Nation finds fame when she gives birth in a Wal-Mart outlet, but the story quickly jumps from the fun of living in a supermarket to the struggles of trying to raise a family under difficult circumstances.
It feels like it's trying to instil you with a new-found appreciation for life, when instead it ends up making you question your faith in humanity.
Best: Beautiful Girls (1996)
Another precocious turn from an extremely young Portman. While her character, Marty, verges on jailbait, she once again shows a wisdom beyond her young years.
Set in snowy Massachusetts, the movie puts 'guy problems' front and centre, unhurriedly analysing the male fascination with unattainable women.
Pianist Timothy Hutton returns home from New York for a school reunion to find himself enchanted by Portman's smart thirteen-year-old. Thankfully the issue is sensitively handled, and doesn't skirt into Lolita territory, giving Portman another opportunity to show off her natural screen presence.
Worst: Anywhere But Here (1999)
Portman teamed with Susan Sarandon for this soulless mother-daughter drama, which aims for tear-jerking but is more likely to leave you weeping with frustration.
As the daughter of flighty, irresponsible Adele (Sarandon), Portman does the teen sulk all too well, but relentless bickering doesn't make for an enticing cinematic experience.
When redemption does come, it feels too little, too late, as you'll have lost any interest in the characters way before then.
Best: Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
Woody Allen convinced an all-star cast to have a go at singing and dancing in this musical spin on the trusted Allen formula.
The plot centres on Drew Barrymore and Ed Norton's lovelorn teens, but Allen also plays a prominent role in his usual screen guise.
Portman plays it prim and prissy as one of the Dandridge sisters, and she eschews her natural vunerability to embody the bitchy Park Avenue princess who bursts into song after being dumped.
Worst: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
By the time the third prequel rolled round, Portman seemed a little more comfortable within the Star Wars universe, but she still fails to master George Lucas' leaden script.
It doesn't help matters that she's still saddled with Hayden Christensen, who has gained no additional gravitas with the acquisition of his new mullet.
Spared of any action scenes this time around, Portman has little to do but mope around, biding her time until she pops out a couple of prophesy-fulfilling sprogs.
Best: Leon (1994)
Natalie Portman's film debut was so astonishing it almost acted as a hinderance, as it was some time until she could quite match it for intensity, charm and magnetism (thankfully she's since proved several times that this was no one-off).
A permanent fixture on best ever child performance lists, Portman's Mathilda develops an uncomfortably close relationship with hitman Leon (Jean Reno, never cooler) after her family is wiped out by Gary Oldman's corrupt cop.
It's rare that an action movie ever has a likeable child sidekick, let alone one who drives the entire movie.