These Are Taraji P. Henson's Best Movies of All Time

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20th Century FoxParamount

Taraji P. Henson is probably best known for her work on the small screen (Empire, hi)—but, to be fair, you can't create an iconic character like Cookie Lyon and not have that character live in people's brains forever. The actress has a seriously impressive résumé of film work under her belt, though, with a big screen career spanning more than twenty years. Here's a look back at Taraji's best movies of all time, starting with her breakout role in 2001's Baby Boy and working all the way up to this year's hilarious What Men Want.

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21 'Baby Boy'

Release date: June 29, 2001

Starring: Tyrese Gibson, Omar Gooding, Taraji P. Henson, A.J. Johnson, Snoop Dogg, and Ving Rhames

Consider this one Taraji's big break in the movies. Even though the actress had done a few features previously, Baby Boy marked her first main role, as Yvette, the love interest of Tyrese Gibson's Jody.

20 'Smokin' Aces'

Release date: January 26, 2007

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Common, Andy García, Alicia Keys, Taraji P. Henson, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, and Ryan Reynolds

Taraji stood out in this star-studded ensemble with her performance as hit woman Sharice Watters.

19 'Talk to Me'

Release date: July 13, 2007

Starring: Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Taraji P. Henson, Cedric the Entertainer, and Mike Epps

This biopic told the story of Ralph "Petey" Greene, an ex-con who became a popular talk show host and community activist in Washington, D.C. Taraji once again brought more than most actors could to a love interest role, creating a character that Roger Ebert described as "as an unstoppable force and immovable object rolled into one."

18 'The Family That Preys'

Release date: September 12, 2008

Starring: Alfre Woodard, Kathy Bates, Sanaa Lathan, Rockmond Dunbar, Taraji P. Henson, Cole Hauser, Robin Givens, KaDee Strickland, and Tyler Perry

This film, about the friendship (and, eventually, secrets) between two families, marked Taraji's first film with Tyler Perry, whom she would go on to be a frequent collaborator with.

17 'Hurricane Season'

Release date: February 9, 2009

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Taraji P. Henson, Isaiah Washington, Robbie Jones, and Jackie Long

This inspirational sports drama, about the true story of John Ehret High School's 2005–2006 Louisiana State championship basketball team in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ended up getting released directly to video. Still, Taraji was incredible in it as Dayna Collins, the wife of Al Collins, the coach who brought the team together.

16 'I Can Do Bad All by Myself'

Release date: September 11, 2009

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Adam Rodriguez, Brian White, Mary J. Blige, Gladys Knight, Marvin Winans, and Tyler Perry

Taraji plays an alcoholic nightclub singer who finds herself acting as guardian to her three nieces and nephews and makes some drastic life changes. Don't you feel good just reading a summary of the plot? Now, imagine the warm fuzzies that come with actually watching it.

15 'Date Night'

Release date: April 9, 2010

Starring:
Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Common, Bill Burr, and Gal Gadot

This comedy is all about a boring married couple (played by Tina Fey and Steve Carrell) getting mistaken for a pair of criminals and the hijinks that ensue, but Taraji has a memorable turn as a police detective they encounter during the whole ordeal.

14 'The Karate Kid'

Release date: June 11, 2010

Starrring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, and Taraji P. Henson

Remember when they remade The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan? The only other top-billed actor in the film was Taraji, who plays Jaden's mom. This is family-friendly Taraji—you know, in case you're babysitting and still need a fix.

13 'Larry Crowne'

Release date: July 1, 2011

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, and Pam Grier

Tom Hanks stars as a middle-aged man who gets laid off, has a crisis, goes back to college, and finds his tribe. The movie gave Taraji a chance to show off her sillier side as Larry's cooky neighbor, B'Ella.

12 'Think Like a Man'

Release date: April 20, 2012

Starring: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Terrence J, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, and Gabrielle Union

It's a classic people-of-the-opposite-sex-tricking-each-other-for-love screwball rom-com with an ensemble cast, which, of course, includes an always-perfect Taraji.

11 'The Good Doctor'

Release date: August 31, 2012

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, Taraji P. Henson, Rob Morrow, and Michael Peña

Nope, not the TV drama. This Good Doctor stars Orlando Bloom as a doctor who falls for/becomes creepily obsessed with a young patient. Taraji plays a nurse, not the teenage stalking victim.

10 'From the Rough'

Release date: April 25, 2014

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Tom Felton, Michael Clarke Duncan, Henry Simmons, LeToya Luckett, Justin Chon, and Ben Youcef

Taraji has the starring role in this biopic about Catana Starks, who became the first woman to coach a college men’s golf team and went on to lead them to an all-time record at the PGA National Collegiate Minority Championship.

9 'Hustle & Flow'

Release date: July 22, 2005

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P. Henson, and DJ Qualls

As she does often, Taraji took a love interest role and made it something more. In Hustle & Flow, she plays Shug, a prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold who works for and is in involved with Terrence Howard's DJay.

8 'Think Like a Man Too'

Release date: June 20, 2014

Starring: Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Terrence J, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, Jerry Ferrara, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gary Owen, and Kevin Hart

The couples from Think Like a Man reunite in Vegas for new hijinks that may or may not stay in Vegas.

7 'No Good Deed'

Release date: September 12, 2014

Starring: Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson

If you like thrillers, put this one in your queue NOW. Idris. Taraji. A scary-because-it-feels-like-it-could-totally-happen plot. Yes, yes, and yes.

6 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

Release date: December 25, 2008

Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, and Tilda Swinton

Taraji's career got a boost in 2008, when she starred alongside Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as Queenie, Benjamin Button's adoptive mother. She snagged an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the performance.

5 'Proud Mary'

Release date: January 12, 2018

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, Xander Berkeley, and Margaret Avery

Taraji as a badass, expert assassin. Enough said.

4 'Acrimony'

Release date: March 30, 2018

Starring: Taraji P. Henson and Lyriq Bent

Taraji teamed up with Tyler Perry again for this movie, in which she plays the textbook perfect wife who loses it when she finds out her husband hasn't been faithful.

3 'Ralph Breaks the Internet'

Release date: November 21, 2018

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, and Ed O'Neill

Taraji joined the Wreck-It Ralph sequel as a character named Yass, which is appropriate, since that's the response we had to her being in the movie.

2 'What Men Want'

Release date: February 8, 2019.

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Tracy Morgan

This feminist gender-swap on the 2001 rom-com What Women Want put Taraji in a pretty comfortable role for her—a mega powerful business woman who crushes it at work and attracts attention everywhere she goes. Oh, and who ends up with the power to read men's thoughts, which Taraji may or may not be able to do IRL.

1 'Hidden Figures'

Release date: December 25, 2016

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons

We all know this one, right? Taraji plays mathematician Katherine Goble, one of the unsung behind-the-scene STEM heroes responsible for making NASA, well, work.

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