10 Florence Pugh Movies Before She Made Black Widow


A flashback into Pugh’s journey to Black Widow.

The internet is going crazy about Florence Pugh, the adorable, affable, and angelic actress from Oxford, England.


A24 / Via giphy.com

Pugh recently set the box office and internet on on fire after she appeared as punchy little sister Yelena Belova in Black Widow. It speaks volumes about Pugh’s innate talent that, despite zero classical training, she’s wowed audiences with suspiring performances. Pugh has risen quickly from virtual anonymity to one of the most acclaimed actors of her generation, and it’s a perfect time to revisit her filmography thus far.

1.

The Falling


British Film Institute

This 2014 British film was Pugh’s cinematic debut. She was seen in a supporting role as Abigail, in Carol Morley’s The Falling. The movie is a mystery drama that focuses on a girls’ school in the throes of a mysterious illness that is making its students faint. Pugh’s character appears only in the first act of the movie which sees her getting knocked up and then kicking the bucket after fainting. The movie’s protagonist is Lydia, Abigail’s friend, played by another wonderful actress of Pugh’s age, Maisie Williams. The movie was well received critically, but not well liked by viewers, and offers double delight of Williams and Pugh. There is something in the story which viewers will immediately be able to relate with Game of Thrones

2.

The Commuter


StudioCanal

Though not primarily a Pugh movie, the few minutes she is on screen are captivating and make you relate to her character. The Commuter is another one of Liam Neeson’s action thrillers where he gets to show his “very special set of skills” and uses those skills to search for a girl. Again. Though not in a European capital but on a train going to Grand Central. The movie is a forgettable but enjoyable watch and keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end. Pugh features as a goth girl who is being used as an unwitting mule by her abusive boyfriend. Her acting though will have you buy into that unwittingness. 

3.

King Lear


Amazon Prime

This small screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s epic retells the story of an old king, who in a fit of narcissism and daftness, decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters based on how much filial flattery they dish out. The movie is set in 21st century Britain where a military dictatorship is in place instead of the monarchy. Florence Pugh joins the august company of highly talented thespians like Emma Thompson, Emily Watson and Sir Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Hopkins is the titular character and in the first few minutes of the movie he banishes his youngest daughter Cordelia (Pugh) to France. The movie mostly revolves around Hopkins’, Thompson’s, and Watson’s characters while Pugh re-emerges in the last quarter of the movie. The love and grief that Pugh’s Cordelia has for her father is palpable. 

4.

Outlaw King


Netflix

This Scottish war saga is a less anachronistic spiritual successor to Braveheart. It primarily focuses on the 14th-century Scottish insurrectionary, Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), and his efforts to keep his position and head on his shoulders, after the execution of Sir William Wallace (the protagonist in Braveheart). Pugh shines as Robert’s English wife, Elizabeth, who is quite courageous and loyal to her husband despite facing some misgivings from Robert’s associates for her English parentage. The movie is an entertaining watch, full of Games of Thrones style gore fest and climaxes in a fierce battle. 

5.

Lady Macbeth


Sixty Six Pictures/ Amazon Prime

Pugh’s second movie named after a Shakespearean character has got nothing to with its Shakespearean namesake except that titular character, played by Pugh, too murders innocent folks & then frames them for the murder of other innocent folks. Lady Macbeth is an erotic and bloody drama which can be seen as Pugh’s first foray into the villainous territory. She plays the role of an evil and selfish woman who is lustful, cheats on her husband with a house help, and goes around silencing people, permanently. This is one of the first movies where Pugh gets top billing.

6.

The Little Drummer Girl


Amazon Prime

You can be forgiven for believing that Black Widow was Pugh’s first foray into spy cinema. Three years before Black Widow, Pugh starred in a British espionage miniseries set in 1979, based on a novel by the highly acclaimed author John le Carre. The story follows a young and pugnacious left-wing English actress, Charlie (Pugh), who is recruited by Mossad while she is on a holiday in Greece. The actress is tasked with infiltrating a Palestinian terrorist cell and helping her do this are two Israeli spies, Kurtz (Michael Shannon), the spymaster, and Gadi Becker (Alexander Skarsgard), the recruiter. Pugh gives a remarkable performance that looks authentic and intelligent. The miniseries rests upon her shoulders much like her character’s mission rests upon her flawless and convincing performance. 

Another reason to watch this miniseries is its director Park Chan-wook, who’s best known for Korean masterpieces like Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance, and the outré erotic thriller The Handmaiden.

7.

Fighting With My Family


MGM

This 2019 movie based on a documentary of the same name sees Pugh as the WWE wrestler Paige. The movie traces Paige’s journey from a wild nondescript wrestler in a British city to stardom and recognition in the US in WWE. It also sheds light on her family dynamics as she comes from a family of wrestlers and her brother too is trying to make it big in the field of wrestling. Pugh is amazing and at ease as Paige. She sports a goth look for most of the movie and is charming, lovable and fierce. 

8.

Black Widow


Marvel Studios / Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Fresh off the stove, Black Widow is the sole female Avengers’ prequel/quasi-origin story. Pugh’s Yelena dominates the movie so easily that one starts feeling that Natasha Romanoff is a supporting character in her own movie. She is cute and adorable and never shies away from speaking her mind and that includes sometimes speaking for the viewers, like when she deconstructs Natasha’s gimmicky landing pose. Come for Scarlett Johansson’s probably last MCU appearance but stay for the delightful tapestry of emotion, dialogue and action that Pugh weaves on screen. 

9.

Midsommar


A24

From the director of Hereditary, comes a breakup movie, summer comedy, evil-but-charming cult story, and folk-horror all rolled into one. Pugh stars as Dani, an emotionally insecure and naïve (willfully?) girl latching on to her trashy boyfriend for some solace in her gloomy life. A distressing family tragedy drives Dani further into Christian’s reluctant embraces & soon after, Dani joins him and his 3 chums on a backpacking trip to Sweden after a reluctant last moment invitation. Their destination in Sweden is an idyllic commune bursting with bright colors, inhabited by the beguiling and ever-smiling tribe called Harga who practice enigmatic and violent rituals, and later seen, lots of creepy stuff (like a man finds a girl’s pubic hairs in his food). Though the mood remains bright and funny mainly due to cultural misunderstanding, the hosts understand exactly what has to be done. What starts as a laidback exploration (with “high” hopes of hedonism) of an obscure community soon transforms into And Then There Were None set in a pagan village.

Pugh gives us the perfect portrayal of a grieving girl trying her best to ignore all the gloom and move on. She is trying to show a calm and normal face but is tormented within. Pugh is so convincing as a clueless and morose girlfriend that we see the innocence and tragedy in her eyes whenever she looks into the camera. For most of the movie Pugh is usually sobbing, and in an iconic scene is seen hyperventilating with her Harga BFFs. This kicks in her ultimate transformation and later she asserts herself. Pugh’s performance was so intense that she called her work in Little Women as therapy.

10.

Little Women


Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

This 2019 period masterpiece from Greta Gerwig is based on the American classic of the same name. Pugh plays the role of the bratty, spoiled and youngest March sister, Amy, while Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Eliza Scanlen play her siblings. And yes, there’s Meryl Streep too. Long denounced as the villain of Little Women novel, Pugh upended the character’s portrayal & had everyone love Amy March so much that many critics felt that she had made Amy March the most beloved character of the story. Unsurprisingly, Pugh received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for this movie. This movie is Pugh’s crowning glory (till now). 

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