The Five Best Films Starring Shailene WoodleyCustom Packaging
Shailene Woodley has an extensive filmography. She has appeared on television (Big Little Lies) and in films such as the Divergent trilogy.Tris Prior is the protagonist of the science fiction franchise set in a society that divides individuals into factions based on their characteristics. Divergents are individuals who do not fall into a single category.
1. Endings, Beginnings
Woodley first came to fame in 2008 for her role as Amy Juergens on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which ran for five seasons. This was her big break and gave her much needed momentum to land other notable roles in films like The Spectacular Now and The Fault in Our Stars.
In The Fault in Our Stars, Shailene starred as Hazel Grace Lancaster, the teen cancer patient who falls in love with Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort). Their onscreen romance became one of the most talked about and generated some serious box office money.
Between the first two seasons of Big Little Lies, Woodley landed another huge film with the oceanic drama Adrift. She stars alongside Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan. The movie bombed critically, but if you’re looking for an earnest romantic drama to watch, this is a good pick. The movie also features a great soundtrack and some interesting editing mannerisms.
Woodley’s big break came with her starring role in the yes movies film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars in 2014. She was a sensation and went on to win multiple awards at various prestigious film festivals. It was the first of many YA films to hit the big screen and was a huge success. This helped bring both Shailene and co-star Ansel Elgort to the forefront of Hollywood’s attention.
Based on the Veronica Roth novels, this sci-fi film tells the story of a dystopian society that divides people into factions based on their personalities. Those who are intelligent go to Erudite; the kind go to Amity; the honest go to Candor; and the brave go to Dauntless. Those who don’t fit into one of these groups are called Divergent. Woodley plays Tris Prior in this thrilling and action-packed movie that is a must-see.
3. The Fault in Our Stars
When this heartbreaking adaptation of John Green’s book hit theaters in 2014 it was all anyone could talk about. Though the movie has its fair share of credibility-stretching moments (like the actions of cantankerous author Peter Van Houten and various scrubbed-up hospital scenes), Woodley and co-star Ansel Elgort give truthful performances that make this flick a tearjerker worth seeing.
In the YA sci-fi franchise, Woodley’s character Tris Prior is a fierce fighter against a dystopian society that categorizes people by their personalities into groups — those who value intelligence belong to Erudite; those who value kindness are in Amity; those who value honesty go to Candor; and those who value selflessness go to Abnegation. Woodley rocks her pixie cut in this film and manages to carry the movie on her shoulders.
It’s hard to imagine any actor other than Woodley playing Hazel Grace Lancaster, a book lover with stage-four metastatic cancer that has spread to her lungs. Even if the pairing at the center of this romantic drama doesn’t always work—Elgort, while good, can sometimes seem a little too synthetic and stiff to play the part—Woodley’s portrayal of a gentle but wickedly smart young woman is one that isn’t easily forgotten.
4. The Descendants
After spending some time in small and recurring roles on television, Woodley hit the big screen with the young adult drama series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She made her leading role debut in this melodrama, which lasted five seasons before ending in 2013.
In the film, she stars as Aimee Finecky, an innocent bookish high school student who falls for her freewheeling classmate, Sutter (Miles Teller). This was one of Woodley’s most critically-acclaimed films and led to a huge boost in her career. She and Teller’s chemistry onscreen was unreal.
In The Descendants, Woodley plays the lead role of Alex King. She carries this complex family drama with grace and aplomb. It’s easy to sneer at this kind of TV soap opera, but director Alexander Payne walks the high wire between humor and heartbreak with ease. Woodley is especially outstanding, as she slams Clooney’s character with a catalog of family betrayals.
5. The Secret Life of the American Teenager
Shailene Woodley started her career with small, recurring roles in television shows. After a few years, she made her way into film and gained more popularity with movies like The Spectacular Now.
She became known for her leading role as Amy Juergens in the teen drama series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. This show ran from 2008 to 2013.
In 2014, she starred in the movie adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. This heartbreaking romance/drama brought her broader recognition. It also helped her become a global sensation.
In the same year, she also starred in the political thriller Snowden. This was one of the highest-grossing films of 2021. The movie is about Edward Snowden who exposed covert government operations tracking citizens’ personal information on their cell phones. Shailene played the character of Lindsay Mills in this movie.