Elle Fanning: What To Watch If You Like The Great Star

Elle Fanning in The Great.
(Image credit: Hulu)

Hulu has been coming out with some killer original shows, and one that has popped up in popularity over the last couple of years is The Great, an occasionally true story about the reign of Catherine the Great, one of the most known rulers of Russia, and her rise to power. Playing Catherine is Elle Fanning, an actress that has been around in the business for quite some time. 

From her early childhood roles to more recent performances that off her legit acting abilities, Elle Fanning has been in many other movies that you might want to watch if you enjoyed her skills in The Great. Here is what some of her best are, most of which are streaming right now. 

Elle Fanning in Super 8.

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Super 8 (HBO Max)

Directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, Super 8 tells the story of a group of teens who are filming their own Super 8 movie back in 1979, but as they do, a train derails and releases a dangerous presence into their town, causing their lives to be flipped upside down. 

Elle Fanning received so much praise for her role in this film, as it showed the capable young actress’ abilities. The monster/thriller movie was truly terrifying and created this sense of dread that you felt while watching it, feeling like that monster was going to jump out at you at any moment, capitalized by the fear that you can easily see on these kids face. It’s acted to perfection thanks to a brilliant leads from the Super 8 cast. Honestly, this is one of those movies I actually wished got a sequel instead of many others. 

Stream Super 8 on HBO Max. 
Rent Super 8 on Amazon. 

Elle Fanning in Somewhere.

(Image credit: Focus Feature)

Somewhere (Amazon Rental)

Directed by Sofia Coppola, Somewhere is a drama film about a newly famous actor in Hollywood who has emotional emptiness in his life. But through the help of his young daughter, he learns the value of becoming an adult, of being a father, and the life of being a star as he sees it. 

Elle Fanning has done so much in terms of brilliantly acted independent films (as you’ll see later on this list), and this was one of her first. With great chemistry with Stephen Dorff, who plays her father in Somewhere, the two co-stars create a beautiful father-daughter story that not only feels genuine but heartfelt at the same time, showing that fatherhood isn’t easy. 

Rent Somewhere on Amazon.

Elle Fanning in Ginger & Rosa.

(Image credit: Artificial Eye)

Ginger & Rosa (Showtime)

If you want a nice coming-of-age movie mixed in with drama, check out Ginger & Rosa. This film tells the story of two teenage girls who grow up in London during the 1960s, as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, one event that happens in their lives ends up changing their relationship to each other forever. 

Elle Fanning plays one of the main characters (Ginger), and her chemistry with Alice Englert (who plays Rosa) is what makes this movie shine. We’ve all seen period pieces set before showing a specific instance in history, with a story revolving around it. But what I really adore about this movie is the realistic portrayal of best friends who truly do love and care for each other - even when something terrible happens between them. 

Stream Ginger & Rosa on Showtime. 
Rent Ginger & Rosa on Amazon. 

Elle Fanning in We Bought A Zoo.

(Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

We Bought A Zoo (Disney+)

This heartwarming story is one that everyone should watch. We Bought a Zoo, based on the memoir of the same name, tells the story of a family who ends up buying a broken-down zoo and takes it upon themselves to somehow rebuild it so they can reopen it for the public to enjoy. 

Elle Fanning plays one of the zoo’s “workers” (although she was too young to work so she was paid under the table), creating cute moments between her and the kids as well as the older adults. Her character brought so much life to this movie, but in reality, this whole cast was a great pick. Both Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson as the leads were excellent choices and really made this movie so much fun to watch, but the addition of not only Elle Fanning but several other talented young actors like Colin Ford really sold it as a lovely family film. 

Stream We Bought a Zoo on Disney+. 
Rent We Bought a Zoo on Apple TV+.

Elle Fanning in the Maleficent series.

(Image credit: Disney)

The Maleficent Movies (Amazon Rental And Disney+)

In this live-action Disney movie, the Maleficent movies follow one of the most iconic Disney villains ever, Maleficent, featured in the Sleeping Beauty movie back in 1959, showing how she became the woman she is, and the history behind her wickedness. 

I have to admit, seeing Elle Fanning as a princess fits so well. While I love her in The Great as the badass empress she is, there’s something about her portrayal of Aurora that just feels so right. It’s like the perfect casting, as she has this sort of halo of sweetness and light around her that’s perfect for the role of Aurora. And her chemistry with Angelina Jolie (who plays Maleficent) is second to none. I love them together and wish there could be more movies in this series. 

Rent Maleficent on Amazon. 
Stream Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Disney+. 
Rent Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Amazon.

Elle Fanning in 20th Century Women.

(Image credit: A24)

20th Century Women (Showtime)

In this comedy-drama movie, 20th Century Women is set in the 1970s, telling the story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women that help raise him to be the best version of himself that he can be, while living in the lower class. 

Elle Fanning plays Julie, the best friend of the main character (Jamie), played by Lucas Jade Zumann, and I really love their interactions together. The bond the best friends have between them is strong, but due to one wanting it to become a relationship and the other fearing it costing them their friendship, that bond becomes strained, despite both both still caring for each other. And the actors do an excellent job of showing that. 

I also love the other characters as well, played by the likes of Greta Gerwig, Annette Bening, and more. They really make this film such a fun time, and an important story about the value of having strong female figures in your life. 

Stream 20th Century Women on Showtime. 
Rent 20th Century Women on Amazon. 

Elle Fanning and Timothee Chalamet in A Rainy Day in New York.

(Image credit: MPI Media Group)

A Rainy Day In New York (Peacock)

Directed by Woody Allen, A Rainy Day in New York is a romantic comedy movie that follows the life of a college student, who is trying to deepen his relationship with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, she is in the city to interview an acclaimed film director, a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

A Rainy Day in New York isn’t the most inventive independent film out there, as it is satire and even its plot feels very familiar and is nothing new. However, Elle Fanning is wonderful in this role, showing how far she has come as an actress, and having excellent chemistry with her on-screen boyfriend, Timothee Chalamet. The rest of this cast is fantastic as well, with the likes of Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna, and many others rounding out a seriously talented ensemble. 

Stream A Rainy Day in New York on Peacock. 
Rent A Rainy Day in New York on Apple TV+. 

Elle Fanning in The Beguiled.

(Image credit: Focus Feature)

The Beguiled (Netflix)

This movie is drama-filled and you’ll love it. The Beguiled tells the story of a Union soldier, who ends up on the doorstep of a girls school, wounded and looking for help. However, his arrival ends up raising tensions between the girls, creating a web of jealousy, lies, and betrayal. 

Elle Fanning plays Alicia, one of the students at the school, and while her acting performance is great in this period piece, I have to say that it’s even better paired with everyone else. Her interactions with the rest of the cast are brilliant, with amazing scenes with Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst, and more. The whole movie is entertaining from start to finish if you enjoy Civil War movies. I think for those who aren’t even huge fans of war movies in general will enjoy it just for the brilliant cast. 

Stream The Beguiled on Netflix.
Rent The Beguiled on Amazon. 

Elle Fanning in All the Bright Places.

(Image credit: Netflix)

All The Bright Places (Netflix)

Moving on, we have the Netflix original movie, All the Bright Places. Based on the book of the same name, this romantic drama tells the story of two teenagers in high school who are both suffering depression, and who both want to try and escape their little town. Soon, these shared traits lead them to each other, and down a road of romance and tragedy. 

All the Bright Places is a movie that will make you cry. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about that. Elle Fanning, alongside her co-star, Justice Smith, have this captivating young romance that truly feels like they are trying to heal each other, but one thing after another causes them to drift apart. It’s heart wrenching and tragic and honestly, one of the better romantic films that I’ve seen in the last couple of years because it doesn’t feel like a fairy-tale. It feels real, dealing with real-life issues such as survivor’s guilt, suicide, depression and more. 

Stream All the Bright Places on Netflix.

Elle Fanning in The Great.

(Image credit: Hulu)

The Great (Hulu)

I mean, I have to include this, don’t I? The Great is a Hulu original series that follows the story of Catherine the Great, one of the greatest rulers of Russia, known for her progressiveness and how she pushed Russia into the future.

While the Hulu series is not known for its accuracy (they don’t claim to be an accurate story either), The Great is so much fun, I don’t even care. Elle Fanning is perfectly casted in the role of Catherine, bringing not only a spunk to the ruler’s legacy but this sort of fierceness that I love to see in a ruler. Her chemistry with Nicholas Hoult is also brilliant and I love to hate/root for their strange romance in the series, alongside the ridiculously talented The Great cast. Definitely watch it if you haven’t - but I’m sure you have. Huzzah! 

Stream The Great on Hulu. 

Now that you know about all of her other amazing movies, I think it’s time that we all get onto our streaming services and watch some awesome Elle Fanning roles, because truly, this actress has been in so much and there’s no way she’s slowing down anytime soon. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.