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11 films that define Sigourney Weaver

11 films that define Sigourney Weaver — A select filmography of the star’s best work

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11 films that define Sigourney Weaver

Combining blue-blood hauteur with rawboned, sexy unpredictability, Sigourney Weaver is a rarity among modern screen faces: She’s the star who got away. Despite appearing in two of the most successful movie series of the ’80s, the actress has cut her own path, with odd, elusive forays to Europe and movie choices that seem both wiggy and determined. Here are the 11 major films, all on video, that catch her fleet uniqueness.

ALIEN
As you watch this sci-fi screamer, think of Ten Little Indians in space. Forget that you know who lives to see the sequel; marvel instead as a star is born. A

EYEWITNESS
Janitor William Hurt tells TV reporter Weaver more about a murder than he really saw. The thrills are engrossing but farfetched; the actress is gorgeous but ill at ease. B-

THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
Weaver and Mel Gibson fall in love between the bullets and betrayals of ’60s Indonesia. It may be the most romantic movie for smart people ever made. A

DEAL OF THE CENTURY
Weaver cozies up to Chevy Chase; after Dangerously, that’s a definite trade-down. D-

GHOSTBUSTERS
A nifty career save: from dismal Deal to the 10th biggest money-maker of all time. Bill Murray gets the gag lines, but straight woman Weaver does get to be possessed by Zog the Gatekeeper. A

ONE WOMAN OF TWO
A French farce starring Weaver, Gérard Depardieu…and Dr. Ruth? A sort of subtitled Bringing Up Baby, Woman has an enjoyable dumbness that raises it above the level of résumé oddity. C+

ALIENS
Among the best sequels ever, and one of the finest pure action movies. But without Weaver, who earned a Best Actress nomination, it would have no sorrow, soul, or sinew beneath the muscle. A+

HALF MOON STREET
This thriller about an American intellectual in London who moonlights as a call girl is pretentious — but credit Weaver for tackling a character who’s self-absorbed yet honestly sexual. C

WORKING GIRL
As Melanie Griffith’s witchy boss, Weaver took the patrician arrogance that hovers over her and turned it into self-parody. Her fluffiest role and a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Go figure. B

GORILLAS IN THE MIST
Weaver saves the apes but loses her mind, taking the character of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey farther into the darkness than the rest of the movie dares to go. One of the more miraculous performances of the ’80s, and another Best Actress nomination. A-

GHOSTBUSTERS II
Goofier than the original, and it suffers by comparison. But everyone seems to be having fun at this reunion, including the still-bewitching Weaver. B+

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