There are certainly some names in Hollywood that some might say get way too much attention, but on the flip side of that, there are stars who are so underrated it hurts. Toni Collette is one of those people, in my opinion. Her name may be one that you aren’t familiar with right off the bat, but her face is most likely one you are very familiar with. She’s been in some major series and films over the years, isn’t afraid to take risks in a role, and she brings her A game each time.
Collette is, I think, one of the most talented living actors to grace our screens. She’s been in iconic films since the ‘90s, has worked opposite some of the biggest names in the industry, and owns one hell of a powerhouse scream that is sure to have even the biggest horror buff shaking in their boots. From The Sixth Sense to A24’s Hereditary, we’ve collected some of the best Toni Collette movies and TV shows and where you can witness her greatness yourself, either by streaming or to adding to your home video collection.
United States of Tara (2009 - 2011)
If you ever needed an example of the massive range Toni Collette has as an actor, look no further than the Showtime series, United States of Tara. Colette plays the titular character, who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder). She also plays, and completely EMBODIES, each one of Tara’s personalities, of which there are a handful who include a 5-year-old child, a rebellious teen, and a grumpy Vietnam vet named Buck. Collette won an Emmy for this (these?) role(s).
If you ever wanted to see a grown woman switch from a regular suburban mom to pretty much every possible opposite in existence, United States of Tara is the perfect show for you. It’s undeniably funny, but it also deals with some pretty heavy topics and conversations. DID is a disorder that stems from a ton of trauma, and Tara explores her harsh history throughout the series.
Knives Out (2019)
Knives Out was one of the last big films to hit theaters before the pandemic threw Hollywood for a loop, and it sure did make for a star-studded bookend on the backside of 2019. Toni Collette was joined by a number of other talented actors in the Knives Out cast, like Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig (who is revisiting his role in the upcoming sequel), Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas.
Basically a cross between Clue and the children's mystery The Westing Game, the whodunit puts a number of interesting characters together as they wait for a will reading after the death of the head of the family. Deaths occur, mystery abounds, and comedic timing is all but perfected in this fun film.
There are countless things that can be said about this film. The acting in Hereditary shows a level of dedication that is only found in the best Hollywood has to offer, and Toni Collette’s performance is the most realistic, moving portrayal of grief I have ever seen on screen. This theme of grief can also be found in director Ari Aster’s later film Midsommar, but the way Toni Collette played her role in the contemporary horror film is just *chef’s kiss*.
If you ask any horror buff to list their top ten horror flicks, I’m willing to bet the majority will have Hereditary somewhere on it. Although the film didn’t quite make the 90 percentile on Rotten Tomatoes, it has achieved reverence in a lot of horror circles and is an example of a truly horrifying work of art to come out of Hollywood.
Pieces of Her (2022)
Netflix’s Pieces of Her series brought a bestselling novel’s story (although, with a few differences) to our small screens not too long ago, and the thrilling and dark story earned a spot on Netflix’s Top 10 upon its release. It sees tragedy hit a small town, leading a woman to try to piece together her mother’s troubled past. The mysterious mother is played by our girl Toni Collette, and she gives yet another daunting and impressive performance.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Toni Collette is just as amazing in a supporting role as she is in the lead, and her work in the Little Miss Sunshine cast is one such example. Colette plays the mother of Abigail Breslin’s titular character, and she shines just as bright as the rest of the film family played by a cast of some fantastic talent like Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, and Steve Carell. Although Little Miss Sunshine is one of the many, many films in which Collette plays the matriarch of the family, it certainly is a stand out on her resume of film titles.
Unbelievable jerks Toni Collette out of the mom role we are so used to seeing her in and gives her a gun. She plays a detective who connects a serial rapist to a case that happened a few years prior. The case in question was one in which the woman was not believed by the male investigators on the case.
Unbelievable is a true crime thriller that seems to blur the lines of our world and one of fiction, as many women could find truth in the story. The Netflix original series is an emotional one, and seeing Toni Collette in a serious, based on real events series hits different, but not at all in a bad way.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Now, there are plenty of people who, when thinking about The Sixth Sense, can only bring up the image of Haley Joel Osment as a small child in bed with the covers around his face, uttering that iconic “I see dead people” line to a concerned Bruce Willis. However, Toni Collette put on a pretty spectacular performance in the horror flick, as always.
You may not recognize her because her signature strawberry blonde hair is dyed a deep red, but Toni Collette plays Osment’s mother in The Sixth Sense. She does a pretty amazing job at playing mother to a creepy kid, too, and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.
About A Boy (2002)
Toni Collette is a pro at portraying moms on screen. She pretty much has never played the same mom twice, and her About A Boy performance is one of a severely depressed woman who is also raising an incredibly special and endearing young boy by herself.
While the film centers around the relationship between Toni Collette’s on-screen son and his unlikely friendship with a slacker playboy on the hunt for single moms, Collette adds something powerful to the film in her portrayal of motherhood and mental illness.
Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
If you’re a fan of Toni Collette and looking for something that showcases the actress that you probably haven’t seen, Muriel’s Wedding most likely fits the bill, and may even become your new Collette go-to film. It was one of her very first movies, and it’s such a hidden gem. It’s quirky, funny, and hosts Collette as the central character in a way that’ll make you love her even more - not to mention she has her natural Australian accent in the film.
In Her Shoes (2005)
As far as the chick flick genre goes, In Her Shoes is an underrated, yet vital film. Toni Collette looks almost unrecognizable in the role of a straight edge workaholic who is the opposite of her party girl sister, played by Cameron Diaz. The two are forced together after their grandmother, whom they never knew previously, shows up.
The film is a story of how two polar opposite, rival sisters can grow together again. It's funny and endearing, and a great addition to any girls' night in.
Fright Night (2011)
Another film where Toni Collette plays mom, Fright Night is a humorous remake of the classic ‘80s vampire film of the same name. David Tennant, Colin Farrell, and Anton Yelchin join Collette in a pretty impressive line-up of stars, and they all totally work in sync together.
While not the shining star at the top of Toni Collette’s collection of horror flicks, Fright Night is still a great watch for a lot of different reasons. As far as remakes go, it’s a great one. It’s a modern version of a pretty great classic and a wonderful combination of horror and comedy; the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, even though it’s going up against the already-solid original, is refreshing. Also, the acting talent is respectable - Collette has a smaller role compared to the other great names in the cast, but she definitely doesn’t shrink beside them.
Toni Collette has been a part of so many fantastic projects, and she honestly gives something a little (or, honestly, a lot) extra to whatever film or series she lends her talents. It’s practically a sin she hasn’t won an Oscar yet, or has even been nominated since the ‘90s, because she is one actress who can contend with the biggest players in Hollywood.
No matter which direction you go into when you sit down to watch a film or series, if Toni Collette’s name is in it, it’s pretty much a promise that it will be worth your time. Luckily, she can be found all across the major streaming platforms, whether you just have a Netflix subscription, or one to all the streamers, you can find something that features the actress pretty easily.
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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.