Why Did Jennifer Lawrence Actually Take A Break From Acting? How X-Men: Dark Phoenix Factored In

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in Dark Phoenix
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Where the heck has Jennifer Lawrence been? The Hunger Games actress took an acting break for the past couple years, but she’s about to be back, and possibly stronger than ever. Before her break from Hollywood, Lawrence was one of the highest paid actresses in the game. That seems like an odd time to go off the grid for a couple of years, so why did she choose to go on a hiatus and how did her last film before the break, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, factor in?

Jennifer Lawrence has put out plenty of top-tier films. Sure, she gained house-hold name status by portraying Katniss in The Hunger Games film adaptation franchise, but she starred in Winter’s Bone and was X-Men’s Mystique even before that. My personal favorite JLaw films have to be American Hustle and Silver Lining’s Playbook, though, both in which she plays opposite Bradley Cooper

Even though she has proven her talent as an actress, Jennifer Lawrence had a string of underwhelming film releases from 2016 to 2019. Films like Passengers and Red Sparrow did not perform well at all. Mother! is another film during this time that had some harsh critics, although the artsy film did have some fans in certain circles. When Lawrence took back up her role as Mystique for the 4th time in 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix, it was her worst performing film yet, with a devastating 22% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

This string of disappointing roles ultimately was the reason she chose to take a break from acting. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jennifer Lawrence admits that she was not putting out quality films like she should have, and says the pressures of Hollywood and what she felt the industry’s expectations and judgements of her were seemed to weigh on her mental health. This is what the actress says in that regard, exactly:

I was not pumping out the quality that I should have. I just think everybody had gotten sick of me. I’d gotten sick of me. It had just gotten to a point where I couldn’t do anything right. If I walked a red carpet, it was, ‘Why didn’t she run?’… I think that I was people-pleasing for the majority of my life. Working made me feel like nobody could be mad at me: ‘Okay, I said yes, we’re doing it. Nobody’s mad.’ And then I felt like I reached a point where people were not pleased just by my existence. So that kind of shook me out of thinking that work or your career can bring any kind of peace to your soul.

Her break, which luckily lined up pretty well with the pandemic, seems to have brought her back stronger than ever, and with more to look forward to in her personal life as well. Jennifer Lawrence is now married with a baby on the way, and has a number of projects lined up that look killer. 

Don’t Look Up is the first film in the new and improved Jennifer Lawrence line up, which will drop to Netflix December 10th and has Lawrence acting under Adam McKay opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and a number of major Hollywood names. 2022 looks to be a year full of Lawrence as well, as she has two films in post productions and another Adam McKay film (Bad Blood) announced. 

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.