Dakota Johnson: 10 Films to Watch

We're closing in on the release of Dakota Johnson's new film "Our Friend." Here, too, are 10 more worth watching from the breakout star.

By Jesse Conner

Dakota Johnson in "A Bigger Splash."

© Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection

This weekend sees the release of an emotional indie film with some names you're sure to recognize, titled "Our Friend."

While we'll witness the immediate bromance between Jason Segel and Casey Affleck, the real story is the struggle of a very sick wife and mother, played by Dakota Johnson.

As the film progresses, her character begins to decline in a devastating way, and the relationship between Johnson, Affleck as her husband, and Segel as their dear friend, becomes important in a critical way for dealing with hardship.

Sad details aside, the film looks incredible and especially because of Johnson's commitment to her character. So in honor of what looks to be an extraordinary performance, we've rounded up 10 of her best films and ranked them - one more way to chart the progress of this amazing actress.

  • 1

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    The Peanut Butter Falcon

    © Roadside Attractions / Courtesy Everett Collection

    First on our list is Johnson's best and most recent film where she plays a concerned worker from a care facility who's on a mission to find an escaped resident with Down syndrome. Working alongside Shia LaBeouf and newcomer Zack Gottsagen, Johnson nails the role and shows a great deal of compassion and sensitivity.

    Now streaming on: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, VUDU, Sling TV, & Philo

    The Peanut Butter Falcon

    Comedy / 2019

    After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down syndrome befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally.

  • 2

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    A Bigger Splash

    © Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection

    When an old pal and his daughter show up unannounced, that might seem a little intrusive, but at least they're old friends, right? Johnson might not be as well-known for this film, but the actress brings a remarkable presence playing the flirtatious daughter of an energetic man, played by Ralph Fiennes, who's visiting (without invitation) his previous lover, now a well-known rock star. What could go wrong?

    Now streaming on: Cinemax, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    A Bigger Splash

    Thriller / 2015

    While vacationing on a Sicilian island with her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts), a rock star (Tilda Swinton) receives an unexpected visit from an old flame (Ralph Fiennes) and his seductive daughter (Dakota Johnson).

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    Bad Times at the El Royale

    © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. /Courtesy Everett Collection

    A handful of colorful strangers, one of whom is played by Dakota Johnson, stay at the same hotel one night. It might seem like everyone checking in is well-mannered and relatively normal...but guess again. To see what Johnson's poker face looks like, look here. There's a lot going underneath the surface.

    Now streaming on: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    Bad Times at the El Royale

    Thriller / 2018

    The El Royale is run-down hotel that sits on the border between California and Nevada. It soon becomes a seedy battleground when seven strangers -- a cleric, a soul singer, a traveling salesman, two sisters, the manager and the mysterious Billy Lee -- converge on a fateful night for one last shot at redemption before everything goes wrong.

  • 4

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    The High Note

    © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Starring as an assistant to a famous singer, Johnson is convincing as a woman who wants more. She works towards that goal by attempting to convince her talented boss, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, that it's not too late to create some new and even more amazing music.

    Now streaming on: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    The High Note

    Comedy / 2020

    Maggie is the overworked personal assistant to Grace Davis, a superstar singer whose talent and ego have reached unbelievable heights. Stuck running errands, Maggie still wants to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. But when Grace's manager presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change both of their lives forever.

  • 5

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    Black Mass

    © Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    Dakota takes some risks playing the wife of a mob boss (Johnny Depp) who is also an informant. With Depp starting out as a low-level thug, we watch his life become increasingly more dangerous as he moves up the ranks. Johnson herself starts to change, too, as she begins to pull away to keep their young son safe.

    Now streaming on: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    Black Mass

    Biography / 2015

    While his brother Bill (Benedict Cumberbatch) remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Irish hoodlum James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) continues to pursue a life of crime in 1970s Boston. Approached by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), the lawman convinces Whitey to help the agency fight the Italian mob. As their unholy alliance spirals out of control, Bulger increases his power and evades capture to become one of the most dangerous gangsters in U.S. history.

  • 6

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    Suspiria

    © Amazon Studios/courtesy Everett Collection

    Standing out as the creepiest flick on this list, the project stars Johnson as a young dancer in a famous dance company. In this organization, though, there is also a very sinister presence among them. To prep for her role, Johnson actually completed two years of ballet training prior to filming.

    Now streaming on: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    Suspiria

    Horror / 2018

    Young American dancer Susie Bannion arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces breaks down and accuses the company's female directors of witchcraft. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist and a member of the troupe uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio's hidden underground chambers.

  • 7

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    For Ellen

    © Tribeca Film/courtesy Everett Collection

    This indie film features a struggling musician, played by Paul Dano, trying to gain partial custody of his daughter. Although Johnson doesn't play one of the major characters, she's memorable as Dano's sister, who doesn't see eye-to-eye with his custody approach.

    Now streaming on: Tubi, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    For Ellen

    Drama / 2012

    A struggling musician (Paul Dano) tries to pull himself together and fight for shared custody of his young daughter (Shaylena Mandigo).

  • 8

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    The Five-Year Engagement

    © Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    In an amusing role, Johnson lets loose and shows off her wild side as Jason Segel's younger ex-girlfriend who just wants to get crazy and have a good time. Sometimes, it's fun to hang out with crazy...at least if it's done vicariously, with fictional folks on a tv screen.

    Now streaming on: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    The Five-Year Engagement

    Comedy / 2012

    On their one-year anniversary, sous chef Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) plans to surprise his girlfriend, Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt), with an engagement ring. The lovers do end up engaged, but the fact that the proposal does not go exactly as planned proves to be a harbinger of things to come. Each time they try to set a date, various obstacles stand in their way. As more and more time passes, Tom and Violet begin to wonder if perhaps their marriage is not meant to be.

  • 9

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    How to Be Single

    © Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    The title of the movie perfectly sums up the plot. The only addition that could make it clearer would be adding "101" at the end of it. Johnson does an incredible job showing what it's like to jump back into casual dating when you've been out of the game for a while.

    Now streaming on: Cinemax, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    How to Be Single

    Romantic Comedy / 2016

    After four years of college, young Alice (Dakota Johnson) decides she needs a break from her long-term boyfriend Josh. Excited and ready for new challenges, the eager grad moves to New York to take a job as a paralegal. Helping her navigate her way through an unfamiliar city is Robin (Rebel Wilson), a fun-loving, wild co-worker who enjoys partying and one-night stands. With Robin as her freewheeling guide, Alice can now learn how to get free drinks, meet men and enjoy the single lifestyle.

  • 10

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    Fifty Shades of Grey

    © Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection

    Alhough it's last on our list, this is the one which Johnson will always be known for, along with the two films in the franchise that followed. Based on a book celebrated for its sensational content, the movie allows Johnson to bring the famous good girl gone bad in a good way, Anastasia Steele, to full three-dimensional life.

    Now streaming on: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, & VUDU

    Fifty Shades of Grey

    Drama / 2015

    When college senior Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) steps in for her sick roommate to interview prominent businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for their campus paper, little does she realize the path her life will take. Christian, as enigmatic as he is rich and powerful, finds himself strangely drawn to Ana, and she to him. Though sexually inexperienced, Ana plunges headlong into an affair -- and learns that Christian's true sexual proclivities push the boundaries of pain and pleasure.

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