8 Underrated Florence Pugh Performances

Florence Pugh, who throws everything she has behind any script, has swiftly established herself as one of cinema’s most admired young stars in such a short time. The English actress, who was born in 1996, has made a significant impact in both Hollywood and independent cinema by starring in a wide range of movies, including historical epics, MCU blockbusters, mystery teen dramas, spy thrillers, and most recently, cast as Princess Irulan in Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune: Part II.

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Pugh appears open to working in any genre, and each of her performances elevates the quality of the production. However, moviegoers might only be familiar with Pugh as Yelena Belova from the MCU, Amy March from Little Women in 2019, or May Queen in Midsommarwithout being aware of her earlier performances just as fantastic and unforgettable. The list below will assist you in expanding your watch list so that you may see more of Pugh and her talent.


‘Lady Macbeth’ (2016)

This 2016 British film is not to be confused with Shakespeare‘s infamous Lady Macbeth from Macbeth. Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd, is based on Nikolai Leskov‘s novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. The film follows Katherine, a young woman in an arranged loveless marriage, who begins to have a passionate love affair with a worker on her estate.

Pugh successfully portrays the struggles faced by women in the 19th century while accurately capturing the persona of someone who lived in that era. Pugh is completely unexpected and amazing from beginning to end in a wonderful dramatic performance that firmly and officially made her reputation in the industry.

‘Fighting with My Family’ (2019)

A 2019 biographical sports comedy-drama movie titled Fighting with My Family is based on Max Fisher‘s 2012 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family. The movie follows English professional wrestler Saraya “Paige” Knight (Pugh) as she makes her way to WWE while her brother Zak Zodiac (Jack Lowden) battles his inability to experience a comparable level of success.

Because of her charisma and charm throughout the movie and her ability to convey emotional and humorous moments, Pugh garnered international attention for her portrayal in Fighting with My Family. Aside from that, Pugh is one of the rare actors who can pull off any hair color and a grungy goth style, which would set her apart from her other performances.

‘King Lear’ (2018)

King Lear is a 2018 adaptation of the play of the same name written by Shakespeare. The movie, set in an alternate reality version of the 21st century, follows King Lear (Anthony Hopkins) after he decides to divide his realm among his three daughters. Pugh portrays Cordelia, the king’s youngest daughter, who rejects the shallow games her father makes her play while her sisters connive and deceive.

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Pugh shines out among a company of top British performers, including Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, and Tobias Menzies. She gives a highly-praised, excellent, and compelling portrayal of Cordelia despite not getting as much screen time as her co-stars.

‘Outlaw King’ (2018)

The 2018 historical action drama Outlaw King is about Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), a Scottish king who waged a guerilla battle against the more powerful English army in the 14th century. Pugh plays Elizabeth de Burgh, the goddaughter of English King Edward I, who is compelled to wed Robert to create a coalition and quell a rebellion.

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Though the depiction of de Burgh in the movie isn’t persuasive or genuine, Pugh was nevertheless successful in bringing the character to life. Moreover, since Pugh’s portrayal of a mother and a dedicated wife with emotional issues is so unreal, it’s indisputable that her talents exceeded her age even though she was only around 20 when the movie was produced.

‘The Falling’ (2014)

The Falling, a teen thriller about a mystery fainting disease that spreads through a girls’ school, featured Pugh in her debut supporting role. Pugh portrays Abbie, who is experimenting with her sexuality, becoming pregnant, and entering her friend Lydia’s (Maisie Williams) obsessive gaze.

Although Pugh’s character only appears in the film’s first act, Abbie’s presence is felt until the very end. Her performance is incredibly charismatic, and she possesses the power that remains for the rest of the film, which is very impressive for her first feature film role.

‘The Commuter’ (2018)

The Commuter centers on a man played by Liam Neeson who meets a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) on his daily train journey and unknowingly becomes involved in a murder plot. One of Michael MacCauley’s (Neeson) on-train suspects is played by Pugh as the supporting figure, Gwen.

Pugh did a lot with her character, even though she was only in a few sequences. She portrays a wounded, mistreated young woman who struggles with the responsibility of delivering illegal products for her partner convincingly. Pugh once more demonstrated her ability to give a strong performance in a minor supporting role.

‘Malevolent’ (2018)

A unique spin on a ghost story, Malevolent follows Angela (Pugh) and her brother Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) as they con people into going on a ghost search only to find out that one of the properties is genuinely haunted.

Pugh excels in the horror genre and portrays a terrified lady who is unsure of what is real and what isn’t. She also significantly increases the quality of the overall production by giving her all to the part and instantly drawing the audience into the narrative without their knowledge. Additionally, Pugh and her on-screen sibling have such strong on-screen chemistry that they consistently steal the show.

‘The Little Drummer Girl’ (2018)

Mossad hires an ambitious English actress (Pugh) to infiltrate a Palestinian group planning terrorism in Europe in the 2018 British television thriller The Little Drummer Girl, which is based on John le Carré’s 1983 novel of the same name.

RELATED: 7 John Le Carré Novels That Inspired Great Spy Thriller Movies and Series

Pugh, who offers a terrific performance as an actress who continuously pretends to be someone she isn’t, is the star of the show. She exudes charisma, mistrust, and confidence in her acting, and her chemistry with co-star Alexander Skarsgard is also excellent. Pugh never loses her focus in the role, which would have been uneasy for many actresses to do given the politics or deception involved.

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