Reese Witherspoon turns 37 today, and we couldn’t think of a sweeter actress to celebrate! In honor of Hollywood’s hottest Southerner, we recommend eight of our favorite flicks she’s starred in.
The Man in the Moon (1991)
In 1990, Reese headed to a casting call for the film The Man in the Moon, expecting to be dealt a minor role. Instead she landed the lead as 14-year-old Dani Trant. Reese, 14 at the time herself, is utterly endearing as the young Louisiana girl who falls hard for her hunky 17-year-old neighbor — and sister’s boyfriend. If you love Reese, this movie is a must-watch. But be warned: it’s a bit of a tearjerker.
With Reese Witherspoon, Mark Wahlberg and Alyssa Milano at the helm, how could this movie go wrong? Anyone who was anyone in the ‘90s (which was basically everyone) saw Fear in the theater and/or bought it on VHS as soon as it hit the shelves — nary a woman existed who didn’t question her attraction to Mark as an extremely troubled teen. Three words: Nicole 4 eva.
Cruel Intentions (1999)
Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon may not have lasted, but the legacy of the movie they shared has. Ryan plays bad-boy Sebastian, with nefarious plans to bed Reese’s virginal Annette. She ends up stealing his heart in the movie, so we all swooned when the two got hitched the same year the film was released.
Legally Blonde (2001)
If there’s one role Reese is most known for, this is quite possibly it — as preppy, pink-clad sorority girl Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. We all know (and adore) the story: She gets dumped by her schmucky Ivy League boyfriend and follows him to Harvard, where she discovers her inner lawyer… and adds a little sparkle to everyone’s lives in the process.
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Another role close to Reese’s Southern roots is her turn as Melanie Carmichael (aka Melanie Smooter) opposite Josh Lucas as her ex, Jake, in Sweet Home Alabama. Um, huge bonus? Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey plays her sweet NYC suitor. They all end up well below the Mason Dixon line in pursuit of wedded bliss, and hilarity ensues.
Walk the Line (2005)
Who knew Reese could sing? The actress put her twangy pipes on display in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, and it won her an Oscar. She was stellar as Johnny’s longtime, long-suffering love, June Carter. So good, in fact, that when we rewatch the 2005 film, we even kind of want to like Joaquin Phoenix all over again.
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
Yes, this is an animated film. And, yes, you should watch it even if you don’t have kids. It’s that cute, we promise. Reese voices the lead character, Susan — a woman who gets struck by a meteorite on her wedding day and transforms into Gigantica. She’s transported to a secret government lair and paired up with other “monsters” to defeat an alien evil genius.
Water for Elephants (2011)
This book-turned-movie brought Reese together with Twilight star Robert Pattinson in a visual feast. He — a veterinary student who joins a traveling circus — and she — the circus’ star — bond over their love of animals and, ultimately, build a beautiful life together. But not before her tyrannical, circus-owning man creates major drama.