12 Best Frances McDormand Movies and TV Shows

Frances McDormand really needs no introduction. Often cited as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, McDormand continues to rule the roster even today. With her newest revenge flick ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, she garnered her fifth Academy nomination and won her first BAFTA and Golden Globe. Her endeavors off the camera have earned her the title of the “boss” in the industry. Her fearless approach and bold method of acting often converge with critical acclaim and love from the audience. Here is the list of top 12 Frances McDormand movies and TV shows. Happy reading!


12. Friends with Money (2006)

Olivia is a charming, cash-strapped spinster, working as a maid to make ends meet. Surrounded by well-meaning and affluent friends, Olivia denies help, which she sees as charity and instead continues striving to make a better life for herself. ‘Friends With Money’ is an intricate and deft tale of helplessness and self-esteem, and how life challenges us with harsh circumstances to test our virtues and principles. Jennifer Anniston shines transiently in a role that allows her to showcase her obscure diversity as an actor and unguardedness as one of us.


11. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

I couldn’t help but reminisce about the movie’s similarity with Tarantino’s collaborative effort, ‘Sin City’. The similar visual style and thematic undertones prompt a critical analysis of the two and draw unwanted, but compelling comparisons. ‘The man Who Wasn’t There’ gathers its charming cast and weaves a distinguished cinematic piece that is not only brilliant on paper but mesmerizes with their disarming performances. Roger Deakins, who finally has an Academy award after 15 nominations, uses his characteristic soft lighting and bold color rendering to further the impact of the movie. A HUGE shout out to Billy Bob Thornton, grossly underrated and marginally appreciated, who triumphs with yet another doyen display.


10. Wonder Boys (2000)

I don’t think so anyone in the industry can hold a closeup as well as Michael Douglas. The acting paragon’s scintillating performances went unnoticed, failing to get their due. With ‘Wonder Boys’, he inhabits the character of Grady Tripp, a crafty and kind English professor, whose life down spirals into chaos when his wife leaves him and people around him involve him in their own despairing miseries. The exorbitantly talented ensemble wholeheartedly acts out an impressively put together script, accompanying an assured effort behind the camera.


9. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

A straitlaced governess, daughter of the town’s vicar, gets fired from her job for a preposterous fourth time. Looking for jobs, she finds one for a popular singer. Unaware that she needs a socially active and exerted assistant, Pettigrew takes up the job. How the introverted Pettigrew deals with the singer’s world, which includes three people she’s involved in, makes up for the story and a good one at that. The biggest surprise in the movie was Amy Adam’s stunning turn as the bitchy, outwarded, and extroverted socialite singer. Known for playing roles which walk the line between naivety and foolishness, Adams transformed herself for the role and did a particularly good job. A beautiful and fun-filled film that will make you laugh. Recommended.


8. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Two 12-year olds fall in love and escape their humble abodes to unite as one. The reason why I sufficed the plot in a line was to focus more on Wes Anderson’s prodigal cinematic brilliance. The perfect symmetry in his uniquely framed shots is visually stunning. Working with his long-time collaborator Robert Yeoman, Anderson’s movies feel like a pseudo-theatre performance with impeccable lighting and anamorphic shots. The use of colors and offbeat characters in his movies is reflective of his own personal demeanor and personality. The elaborate sets that his film gives shape to, and of course, his dolly tracks, are characteristic of his distinct style and vision as an auteur and a master storyteller.


7. Almost Famous (2000)

Travel is perhaps the most difficult task to capture through a lens. Every person’s experience and the mood is different in the moment and to get a wholesome effort that represents everyone’s tastes is a tricky job. ‘Almost Famous’ succeeds with aplomb, managing to arrest the beautiful age of teenhood and the rebellious instincts that attach itself to it. The narrative centralizes on William, a 15-year old, who gets a lifetime opportunity to tour with a rock band, Stillwater. During the trip, his naive and raw perspective of life and relationship metamorphoses into a mature and well-bred outlook which affords him to appreciate the gift he has been given. Essentially a coming-of-age, ‘Almost Famous’ rides on a typically virtuoso performance from Kate Hudson and captivates with every turn of the track to emerge as a movie replete with a titillating cinematic experience.

Read More: Best Kate Hudson Movies

6. Mississippi Burning (1988)

Seeing a young Willem Dafoe reminds you of how old he has suddenly grown. He forms a pair of well-meaning detectives who investigate the disappearance of civil right workers, shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Their misery multiplies as they have another enemy in the form of an outraged and disconcerting town. With yet another classic team of thespians and a masterful effort by Peter Biziou, ‘Mississipi Burning’ uses every inch of its technical brilliance and emotional vulnerability to knit an important and cathartic retentive experience, proving itself to be more than just another crime-thriller.


5. Burn After Reading (2008)

I think I made my feelings clear about the Coens. Two friends and co-workers, Chad (don’t get me started) and Linda, happen upon a mysterious CD with the dark secrets of a CIA agent after his wife mistakenly left it out in the open. They decide to blackmail the agent, threatening to sell the CD to the Russian embassy. The amateurish way in which the two conduct themselves throughout adds to the humor, complimenting and intelligent script. ‘Burn After Reading’ adds as an impressive effort to the already growing list of masterpieces in the Coens’ filmography.


4. North Country (2005)

‘North Country’ presents a dramatic fiction of one of America’s most groundbreaking sexual harassment lawsuit. It revolves around Josey Aimes who flees her abusive husband and tries to support her two children. Bolstered by a provocative story of David and Goliath and a courageous cast, ‘North Country’ exists as an apt reminder of the mentality that breeds in the society about women and a warning to change the status quo.


3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri


Badass would be the word I’ll use to describe McDormand in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. The comedy-crime, as it works out to be, tells the story of Mildred Hayes, a grieving woman who lost her youngest daughter (who was “raped while dying”), and is now hell-bent on extracting justice on the perpetrators. She puts up three billboards in the town, blaming the authorities and singling out Chief Willoughby, a highly respected man living out his last days. She faces the ire of the city but doesn’t back down and gets more extreme with every single day. I probably should have opened with a disclaimer: unpopular opinion. While the comedy, well-intentioned or not, works out splendidly, the drama quotient is laughable and irresponsibly written. The movie is probably the worst photographed feature I’ve seen in quite some time. The performances, especially that of Rockwell and McDormand, drive the movie and make it bearable and in many senses, a very pleasant watch.


2. Fargo (1996)

As God couldn’t be himself on the earth to direct movies, he sent the Coen brothers. ‘Fargo’, probably their underrated masterpiece, creates a new benchmark for cinematography and black humor. Jerry, a mild-aged car seller, hires a couple of contractors to get his wife abducted and ransom money out of her rich father. The plan is on track until the abductors demand more money and Jerry plots another plan to bring them down and keep his father’s money. There isn’t a dull moment in the film, the credit for which should be given to the cast and the splendid effort behind the camera from the Coens. Boasting of artsy elements and mass appeal, ‘Fargo’ rests in cinematic annals as one of the quirkiest and most exhilarating movies ever made.


1. Oliver Kitteridge (2015)

‘Oliver Kitteridge’ presents one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive character-studies ever attempted on television. McDormand gives birth to a character which not only weakens with her kind eyes but also enthralls with her untimely and well-intentioned bursts. in the town of New Orleans, Oliver, an aged woman with almost nothing to do, observes people, tending to like being a witness to illicit crimes and affairs. Maturely written and skilfully performed, ‘Oliver Kitteridge’ stands tall as one of the most thoughtful and emotionally satisfying mini-series in recent memory with its charming star and affable production designing.

Read More: Best Coen Brothers Movies