Before playing in a box-office hit, Jennifer Lawrence starred in indie films where she was found to be a standout

Six Jennifer Lawrence Movies Before ‘The Hunger Games’ You Need To Watch

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the biggest names in Hollywood today, and she has proven herself to be worthy of the awards she had received for her superb portrayal in her movies. The 26-year-old Kentucky-born actress is best known for her role in the Hunger Games movies, which first released in 2012. But before she became famous for playing Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence starred in some independent films that helped boost her acting career.

The Poker House (2008)

Jennifer landed her first-ever starring role in the Lori Petty-directed 2009 film The Poker House. In this indie film, Lawrence played a teenager who is determined to look out for her two younger sisters, played by Chloe Grace Moretz and Sophie Bairley, and their prostitute mother, played by Selma Blair. Being the versatile actress that she is, Lawrence was a standout even though the movie was not that popular.

The Burning Plain (2008)

The Guillermo Arriaga-directed drama film stars Charlize Theron, playing as Sylvia, with Jennifer playing as her younger version, Mariana. In a story about hope, Mariana changed her name to Sylvia to escape the mistakes of the past. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a rating of 4.6/10 and described it to have lacked “emotional resonance.”

Jennifer Lawrence and Chloe Grace Moretz worked together in The Poker House
Jennifer Lawrence poses with her The Poker House co-star [Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]

Winter’s Bone (2010)

Although Lawrence was popular for her starring role in the Hunger Games movie franchise, Katniss was not her breakout role. The three-time Golden Globe Award winner landed her first Oscar nomination at the age of 20 for the 2010 independent drama film Winter’s Bone. She even credited director Debra Granik for giving her the opportunity to star in a movie that brought out her best.

“Certain movies [financiers] think are going to be so obviously successful, and other movies aren’t perceived that way, and it takes one or two filmmakers committing years of their lives to making that movie possible. So many people [initially] didn’t see the potential of Winter’s Bone, but Debra did, and I really credit her for that.”

Jennifer was even considered as the second youngest person to have earned a Best Actress nomination at that time. Lawrence played Ree in the Appalachian-set movie, and her portrayal was well-received by critics.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Before she became the bow-wielding heroine Katniss, Jennifer played the mutant Mystique during her younger days in X-Men: First Class. Lawrence was part of an ensemble cast, but she did not play a lead role. Still, her portrayal of the blue-skinned shapeshifter was liked by the audience that there had been talks of a standalone spinoff movie, Cheat Sheet reported. However, nothing has been confirmed at the moment.

Like Crazy (2011)

Lawrence landed a minor role alongside the late Anton Yelchin in Like Crazy, where she played Sam, Yelchin’s character’s love interest. So far, it’s the movie in which Jennifer appeared in only a few scenes but she was, nonetheless, compelling in this romantic drama.

The Beaver (2011)

Jennifer Lawrence starred alongside Yelchin in this Jodie Foster-directed movie, which also had Mel Gibson on board. Gibson played Walter Black, the depressed husband of Foster’s Meredith who had a beaver hand puppet as his way of communicating to others. Yelchin, once again, played Lawrence’s love interest, who asked him to write her graduation speech. Several media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, reported that the movie was generally a flop. It garnered a 57 percent rating at Metacritic and a 63 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt promote their film Passengers
Jennifer Lawrence with Passengers co-star, Chris Pratt [Image byGareth Cattermole/Getty Images]

Following her box-office hit The Hunger Games, Lawrence landed even bigger roles that earned her critical appraise. She won three Golden Globes for her movies Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and Joy.

In 2016, Forbes listed Lawrence as the highest-paid actress in the world for the second time in a row. A large percentage of the actress’ earnings comes from her movies The Hunger Games and Passengers.

Jennifer earned $46 million in 12 months, and although the number is down from 2015’s earnings of $52 million, she is still hailed as the top-notcher among today’s big celebrities.

[Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]