The career of Kirsten Dunst never ceases to both amaze and intimidate me. Just when I think I’m having a productive day, my Dunst-centric intrusive thoughts come knocking on my brain’s door with the outrageous fact that she held her own acting opposite both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise when she landed the role in Interview with a Vampire at a mere 10 years old.
Dunst is currently under 40 years old and has a resume of works spanning the last 30 years that are so impressive that it’s tough pinpoint just which performances are her best - but we’re sure going to try! We’ve put together a list of 10 of the best Kirsten Dunst movies and TV shows from the powerhouse actress and how you can watch them streaming.
Honorable Mention: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
When most people think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, they go straight to Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet erasing each other from their memories. The film dives into the idea that people can just delete their memories, and the consequences of losing our own thoughts.
While Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are certainly the main characters and put on a stellar performance, Kirsten Dunst just has a small part in the film. Although she’s but a small part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, her role adds quite a bit to the message of the film, and the movie is worth a rewatch for her supporting performance alone.
Stream Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on Starz. (opens in new tab)
Rent/Buy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind digitally on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Buy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Interview With The Vampire (1994)
Interview with the Vampire was one of the first film adaptations of an Anne Rice novel, and it remains a classic today. Kirsten Dunst starred opposite both a young Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the film, and the three make up a vampire family of sorts living in Louisiana in the 1700s. The film follows the head of the family, Cruise's Lestat, and how he came to both create and lose the other two vampires.
Dunst plays the cold and detached child vampire, Claudia. Since she can’t age, her maturity far surpasses her child body, and Kristen Dunst does a phenomenal job capturing the dismal existence an adult would have, forever trapped in the body of a child. It’s absolutely insane to think of a real life 10 year old playing a 65(ish)-year-old vampire, and it’s an impressive feat by Dunst.
Another film that showcases just what kind of films Kirsten Dunst was pushing out when she was a mere pre-teen, Jumanji remains a vital movie in pretty much any collection and is a source of nostalgia for more than just one generation. Dunst's character and her on-screen brother find a mysterious board game that comes to life when they play it. Naturally, chaos ensues.
Kristen Dunst was filming Jumanji around the time of Little Women (opposite Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder), and this classic children’s film is another in which Dunst played opposite an absolute icon: Robin Williams. Dunst, again, does a phenomenal job of acting out a very outlandish fantasy world and leaves other child actors in the dust with her skills, the film is a must-see for Williams, as well.
On Becoming A God In Central Florida (2019)
Kirsten Dunst doesn’t star in many series, but when she does, she really brings it. On Becoming God in Central Florida is a dark comedy that explores the toxicity of pyramid schemes in the early ‘90s, and Dunst’s character pretty much has her life wrapped up in one. Refusing to be poor ever again, she takes matters into her own hands after her husband (played by Alexander Skarsgård) is eaten by an alligator.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida is hilarious and keeps viewers on their toes pretty much throughout the entirety of the series. Kirsten Dunst is amazing, and we see a very different side of her in this ‘90s era show, compared to where she was in her career during the same time period in real life, and I’m all about it.
Stream On Becoming a God in Central Florida on Showtime. (opens in new tab)
Buy On Becoming a God in Central Florida digitally on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Buy On Becoming a God in Central Florida on DVD on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Bring It On (2000)
This list would not be complete if Bring It On wasn’t on it. It, like many of Kirsten Dunst’s other works, has achieved cult status, and I can still recite an alarming number of lines from the cheerleading film over 20 years later. The film centers on a two rival cheer squads as they head to a huge competition, and their new cheer captains as they navigate the rivalry.
Not only is Kirsten Dunst’s performance Grade-A in Bring It On, but also those of her many co-stars. This film made Gabrielle Union and Eliza Dushku my heroes and lady crushes pretty much for life. There are so many iconic scenes in this film, I can’t even begin to count. It’s both a must-see and a must-revisit.
Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Yet another cult classic on the resume of the great Kirsten Dunst, Drop Dead Gorgeous centers on a beauty pageant where contestants are murdered to make the way clear for the killer to nab the crown. It’s a dark comedy thriller that everybody has to see at least once.
Kirsten Dunst is acting opposite Kirstie Alley, who is fantastic in the film, and stars like Brittany Murphy and Amy Adams. Drop Dead Gorgeous had a slew of other recognizable faces as well, and is just an all-around good time to watch, even decades later. Dunst puts on a southern bell accent and kills it in a role that kind of feels like a natural pre-cursor to Bring It On.
Inspired by the 1996 film of the same name, Fargo is an anthology style series that introduces new characters set in a midwest town as they get involved with crime and murder investigations that end up being connected.
Fargo is a two-fold recommendation, because both fans of Kirsten Dunst and fans of the OG film will love one of the best FX series. The series definitely stands up to the original and does it justice, with great performances from the whole cast. Dunst appeared in the second season of Fargo, and received some major acclaim for the role, including being nominated for an Emmy.
The Power Of The Dog (2021)
The Power of the Dog is both a western and psychological drama led by Benedict Cumberbatch, whose character is a harsh rancher whose heart softens after getting to know his brother's new family. While there have been choice words for the film from fellow western actor Sam Elliott, it's gotten some massive praise and currently has a rating of over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
With how fantastic an actress Kirsten Dunst has pretty much always been, she just keeps getting better. The Power of the Dog is her most recently released film and it marks her very first Oscar nomination (very hard to believe she’s never been nominated before, I know). While she didn't win the award, her performance definitely deserved her finally being recognized for her acting chops.
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Marie Antoinette is basically a biopic of the titular French queen, but it’s also so much more than that. With gorgeous cinematography and a soundtrack with songs from bands like The Strokes and The Cure, Marie Antoinette breaks away from your typical historical drama. The film has a number of less than great reviews, but you don’t have to look further than Netflix’s Bridgerton to see how a sexy, modernized period drama can appeal to the masses and create something pretty special.
This film is absolutely a stand-out film for Kirsten Dunst, even though she has many widely known titles in her movie credits. Dunst has worked with director Sofia Coppola a number of times, Marie Antoinette being an underrated film for both Hollywood powerhouses. Dunst’s performance in the film was iconic, even if she did say she was uncomfortable filming the steamy scenes.
Another film with some absolutely beautiful cinematography, Melancholia tells the story of two sisters as the world is about to come to a crashing end when a planet collides with Earth. The film explores mental illness and how one may react to such a dire situation, as Kirsten Dunst’s character suffers from depression. She is getting married despite impending doom, and the series of events that unfold during the big day lead her into another depressive episode.
Melancholia is not a feel-good film, but it is a reflective and thoughtful one. Dunst does a great job of portraying the extremes that mental illness and depression can reach, once again accomplishing an impressive feat.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The Virgin Suicides centers on a family of five mysterious sisters who have very strict, overbearing parents and the group of four boys who become enamored with them. The film specifically focuses on Kirsten Dunst’s character, as the storyteller is the older version of the boy who is pining for her. She's more strong willed than her sisters, and tries to break free from their parents’ domineering ways.
The Virgin Suicides is the first film that Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst worked together on, and it is probably the most renowned of their team-ups. It is another Dunst film that has some interesting and striking visuals, and I honestly can't get enough of how at home Dunst is in low-key artsy films. It's a throwback well worth a watch.
The Spider-Man Franchise (2002 - 2007)
Did you really think we weren’t going to get to the whopper that is the Spider-Man franchise? The three-film franchise with Tobey Maguire as the titular superhero is pretty vital, no matter who your favorite Spidey is. While it’s a real shame we didn’t get to see Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane come back through the Multiverse like we did with Maguire, rewatching the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films and revisiting that iconic upside down kiss is the next best thing.
While the Spider-Man films may be a step away from what we typically see Kirsten Dunst in, she completely rocked the comic book character Mary Jane Watson, and she is the face of the character for a whole generation. It’s not a role that will be forgotten anytime soon. Unfortunately, you can’t watch the Kirsten Dunst/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films streaming at the moment, but you can buy or rent them all.
It’s hard to believe that Kristen Dunst could still very much have a number of decades of work in her future when she has already given her skills to so many films that are now considered classics. I think Dunst is an all-around underrated actress (just look at that Oscars bit from this year), especially since her face is so recognizable. While the actress has a hell of a future ahead of her if she stays in the Hollywood game, her past films are definitely worth a revisit.
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.
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