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Happy Birthday, Julia Roberts!
The romantic comedy queen — not to mention Oscar winner and mom of three with husband Danny Moder — turns 56 years old on Oct. 28, 2023, and to celebrate, we’re looking back on some of our favorite films of hers through the years.
From her earliest rom-com works to her latest with pal George Clooney, take a walk down memory lane through Roberts’ lighter works, in honor of her latest milestone.
Though Julia Roberts appears as a supporting role in the 1988 flick about a female-led rock band, it marks the beginning of the actress’ decades-long career on the big screen — and particularly, in romantic comedies. Justine Bateman leads the cast of this film, which follows her band, The Mystery, taking a trip to Florida to audition for a summer gig following high school graduation. In the process, Roberts’ Daryle is sure to find a summer romance of her own.
Mystic Pizza (1988)
In this film set in the seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut, Roberts begins to shine. Mystic Pizza follows the story of two sisters, Kat (Annabeth Gish) and Daisy (Roberts), plus their friend Jojo (Lili Taylor), over one summer working at the titular pizza shop. The three women deal with their own romantic journeys throughout the film, including Daisy entering into an affair with a married man played by William R. Moses.
Pretty Woman (1990)
The role that launched Roberts into stardom! Pretty Woman tells the story of Vivian Ward (Roberts), a sex worker who, after being hired by businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) for the night, falls into an unexpected romance. What first starts as a business arrangement, as Edward needs an escort to various events during a weekend in L.A., quickly turns into something more.
I Love Trouble (1994)
Roberts plays a young reporter, Sabrina Peterson, in this 1994 Nancy Meyers film costarring Nick Nolte as seasoned journalist, Peter Brackett. The two competing reporters team up in an effort to solve the mystery of a train derailment but in the process, find romance.
Something to Talk About (1995)
On the surface the plot of the film might not scream comedy — or romance — as it chronicles the story of Grace (Roberts) discovering that her husband Eddie (Dennis Quaid) is cheating on her. Following the revelation, however, she decides to stay with her sister, played by Kyra Sedgwick, as she navigates what’s next for herself and her marriage.
Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
In this Woody Allen film starring Goldie Hawn, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore and Allen, Roberts plays Von, a woman whom Allen’s character, Joe, meets in Venice after another failed relationship — sparking a fling. Joe’s daughter, played by Natasha Lyonne, encourages the relationship, telling her father in the trailer, “She’s perfect for you.”
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
In this beloved rom-com, Roberts plays Julianne Potter, a food critic who tries to sabotage her best friend’s wedding. See while in college, Vivienne and Dermot Mulroney’s Michael had made a marriage pact that said if they were both unmarried at 28, they’d tie the knot. Cut to weeks ahead of her 28th birthday when Michael calls to reveal that he is set to wed Kimmy, played by newbie Cameron Diaz. This plan does not cut it for Julianne, who sets out to change the script.
Notting Hill (1999)
In this 1999 film, Roberts plays movie star Anna Scott alongside Hugh Grant as bookstore owner William Thacker. The two meet after Anna stops into William’s shop, and embark on an unexpected romance. Though they face some hurdles related to Anna’s fame, they make it through hand-in-hand — and with a baby on the way.
Runaway Bride (1999)
Roberts returns to the screen alongside Pretty Woman costar Richard Gere in this 1996 film. Runaway Bride tells the story of Maggie Carpenter, who habitually leaves men at the altar — hence the title — and a reporter, played by Gere, assigned to write a story about her. The movie has everything a viewer looks for in a romantic comedy … and even features Christopher Meloni.
America’s Sweethearts (2001)
In this star-studded film, Roberts plays Kiki Harrison, the sister to Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who along with her husband and frequent costar, Eddie Thomas (John Cusack), make up the titular couple known as America’s sweethearts. When the stars split, a publicist, played by Billy Crystal, calls in Kiki to hopefully help the couple rekindle their romance. In a turn of events, however, it’s Eddie and Kiki who begin to develop feelings for one another instead.
This film veers away from the typical frills of a rom-com and instead brings with it the tale of two ex-government agents with a complicated history. Roberts plays a former CIA agent alongside Clive Owen — a former member of the MI6 — with both now working in the private sector at competing shampoo companies. In a plot filled with twists and turns, the two can’t seem to rid themselves of the other, both personally and professionally.
Valentine’s Day (2010)
Roberts is just one A-list actor in this all-star cast that includes Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner and even Taylor Swift. Roberts plays captain Kate Hazeltine, who has just one day of leave from military service and uses it to travel back to L.A. for the Feb. 14 holiday. While on her long flight, she meets passenger Holden Wilson, played by Cooper. While Holden presumes that Kate is visiting a romantic partner, she’s in fact rushing home to see her son — aww!
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
In the film adaptation of the 2006 best selling memoir of the same name, Roberts plays Liz Gilbert, a globetrotting, hopeless romantic who takes off for Italy, India and Indonesia to find herself. In the film, Roberts divorces Billy Crudup ahead of her global journey, rebounds with James Franco and finds a lover, and partner, in Javier Bardem.
Larry Crowne (2011)
Roberts plays a reluctant college professor, Mercedes, who ends up with the titular Larry Crowne in her class. Larry, played by Tom Hanks, is a former member of the Navy who opts to go back to school after losing his retail job. While the movie begins with Mercedes in an unhappy marriage, she ends up parting ways with her husband, developing a relationship with Larry throughout the film.
Mother’s Day (2016)
Much like Valentine’s Day — and also directed by Garry Marshall — this film features different storylines of people navigating their own unique family relationships. Though Roberts’ character Miranda – a successful TV host and author – doesn’t have kids to spend Mother’s Day with, her real-life kids Hazel, Finn and Henry, all appear in the film. Part of Miranda’s story is that she did in fact have a child earlier in her life, but placed her for adoption. Said daughter, Kristin, played by Britt Robertson, comes into the picture during the film.
Ticket to Paradise (2022)
Roberts reunited with friend and frequent collaborator George Clooney for this tale of a divorced couple who tries to stop their daughter’s wedding. The film made more than $100 million internationally, with fans loving the film despite tepid reviews.