The gems are her indie film and left-of-center stuff, like "Lizzie" or "J.T. LeRoy," where Stewart, 30, has carved out a niche in her signature understated way. But she's been in many big films – the ones where she’s in a love triangle with a vampire and werewolf, obviously, but also Elizabeth Banks’ “Charlie’s Angels” redo last year, the 2020 sci-fi thriller "Underwater" and Stewart's newest effort, the Hulu holiday romantic comedy "Happiest Season."
So while Bella Swan doesn’t show up in this ranking of the 10 best Stewart movies (sorry, Twihards!), consider it a greatest-hits package to kick off a deep dive into a sneakily impressive resume.
10. 'The Cake Eaters' (2007)
Stewart had quite a few roles the year before she broke big with "Twilight," and this one teased the impressive talent we'd see more of later: The coming-of-age indie drama casts her as a physically impaired young woman with a rare genetic disease, Friedreich's ataxia, who yearns to experience love and gets close to a young man (Aaron Stanford) who'd been caring for his ailing mom before her death.
9. 'Certain Women' (2016)
The ensemble drama features some heavy hitters – not only Stewart but also Michelle Williams and Laura Dern – though it's Stewart's part of these three intertwining, Northwest-set tales that's the most emotionally engrossing: She stars as a young lawyer teaching a night class who finds a connection with one of her students, a determined ranch hand (Lily Gladstone).
8. 'Camp X-Ray' (2014)
Stewart trades movie-star glam for Army camo in this gripping military drama that stars the actress as a very green private assigned to a mostly male group of guards at Guantanamo Bay. She showcases simmering rage in dealing with misogynistic peers, as well as both disdain and care for prison detainees.
7. ‘In the Land of Women’ (2007)
Sweet and captivating wins the day with this little gem that stars Stewart as a teenager who strikes up a growing relationship with an older dude (Adam Brody) visiting next door, who himself finds a closeness with the girl’s cancer-stricken mom (Meg Ryan). Complicated emotions abound, for sure, but it draws you in with its unmistakable heart.
6. ‘Lizzie’ (2018)
The mystery surrounding Lizzie Borden and infamous 1892 ax murder of her father and stepmother allows for speculative dramas like this twisty thriller, where the bloody situation unfolds alongside a forbidden romance between lonely misfit Lizzie (Chloe Sevigny) and reserved Irish housemaid Bridget (Stewart) that gets discovered by Lizzie’s domineering jerk of a dad (Jamey Sheridan).
5. 'Charlie's Angels' (2019)
Forget the atrocious box office or even director Elizabeth Banks calling the reboot a "flop": "Angels" is a super-fun, proudly quirky action comedy, and Stewart almost singlehandedly makes it all work through sheer charisma. She dazzles in glamorous dresses and whups bad guys as the hero trio's resident heiress-turned-criminal-turned-oddball, stealing the movie using cool style rather than brute force.
4. ‘Still Alice’ (2014)
Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her portrayal of a linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, and while the cast is strong across the board, the highlight is the relationship between Moore’s Alice and Stewart as her actress daughter Lydia. At the beginning of the movie, Alice is highly critical of Lydia's life choices, though by the end, as Alice’s condition has taken hold, Lydia is the one in the family most supportive of her mom.
3. 'Happiest Season' (2020)
Stewart flexes considerable comedic chops in one of her most wide-ranging roles with Clea DeVall's LGBTQ holiday film. Abby (Stewart) is invited by girlfriend Harper to the annual Christmas family gathering, but because Harper's conservative parents (Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber) don't know she's a lesbian, Abby has to pretend to be her roommate. Dysfunctional high jinks and emotional truth ensue, plus Stewart finds a great scene partner in Daniel Levy ("Schitt's Creek"), who plays Abby's gay best friend.
2. ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ (2014)
The film-festival fave casts Juliette Binoche as A-list film star Maria and Stewart as her assistant Valentine, who keeps her client sane as Maria is asked to again do the stage play that made her famous years ago – one that centers on a turbulent, same-sex May/December romance. Binoche and Stewart are great together as the younger woman tries to get Maria on board with the reinterpretation, while their relationship begins to mirror the play.
1. ‘Personal Shopper’ (2016)
Much of Stewart’s best work comes from bouncing off another actor, but “Shopper” is noteworthy for a stellar performance where she's by herself for much of the film – or is she? The actress plays Maureen, a globe-trotting personal shopper for a celebrity who yearns to communicate with her twin brother, recently dead of a heart attack. The open-ended ending is great, as is Stewart’s haunting exploration of a woman caught between the right here and the hereafter.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kristen Stewart's 10 best films, ranked (including 'Happiest Season')