7 Julia Roberts Thrillers That Will Have You on the Edge of Your Seat

No doubt about it,  Julia Roberts is an icon in romantic-comedies, but she has quite the resume within the thriller genre as well. Alongside leading men such as  George Clooney and  Denzel Washington, Roberts is more than up to the task of taking on a government cover-up or two. Her characters don't back down. They have the tenacity to ensure the endgame works in their favor.

The secret ingredient might just be her charisma. She's known as America's Sweetheart for a reason, going back to her star-making role in . If she can find herself in one bad mess, maybe we all can. Nothing gets the adrenaline going than watching to see how she pulls herself out of a dire situation.

Be it in sci-fi horror or a domestic thriller, you got to root for Julia.

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

This remake of an Argentine film, itself adapted from a novel by  Eduardo Sacheri, puts Roberts in a very dark place. The story is shifted over to the United States, taking place in 2002, with the scars of 9/11 still fresh. Jess Cobb (Roberts) is an investigator for the LA attorney's office, who learns her daughter has been murdered. When the suspect is brought in, justice isn't so easy.

Nicole Kidman and  Chiwetel Ejiofor are several of the other big names that get involved within the investigation. Grimmer than her other thrillers, happy endings aren't to be found without a heavy bittersweetness. The themes of government corruption of the original film are changed to showcase the aftermath of 9/11 when the counterterrorism units made to protect citizens were possibly doing the complete opposite.

Flatliners (1990)

What happens after death? Five medical students decide to find their own answer and the film's title lets you in on how they're going to do it.

Each one takes a turn to flatline and essentially die, allowing their bodies to experience clinical death. Alongside Roberts in this one are some very well-known faces like Keifer Sutherland and  Kevin Bacon, and for such an extreme premise, the remaining story needs an extra dose of something. So while it starts out in the science fiction genre, soon it leans more towards horror. Maye some questions should remain unanswered.

With director  Joel Schumacher at the helm, it's a stylish ride through some spooky territory. More shocking than finding out the secrets to the afterlife could very well be the fact that this almost wasn't a project Roberts signed on for.

Schumacher very much wanted her onboard but someone else was close to That would have been another young, up-and-coming actress at the time, none other than  Nicole Kidman. Roberts ended up in the role but Kidman faired pretty well herself, creating her own acting legacy within Hollywood.

Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Mel Gibson plays Jerry, a NYC cabbie on the verge of a mental breakdown. What's keeping him going is the same thing making him fall apart. Conspiracy theories are part of his diet, the kind of "theories" that deal with global events being triggered by shady government involvements.

But one just so happens to be true. He seeks out the help of Justice Department attorney Alice Sutton (Roberts) and the crazy ride keeps on getting crazier.

This is a film that has a lot of ground to cover, very closely resembling Jerry's state of mind. It includes MKUltra, the very true CIA human experimentation program often used by fiction writers to push the boundaries of what took place and what proved successful. It has  Sir Patrick Stewart in a sinister role as a psychiatrist who sits on the complete opposite side of the moral compass compared to his famous role as Professor X. And through it all, Alice is there to believe in Jerry's rants as best as she can but more importantly, try to stay alive herself.

Money Monster (2016)

Roberts teams up with her costar  George Clooney and the duo is directed by  Jodie Foster in the actress' fourth feature-directing effort. Playing a Wall Street TV host, Clooney and his producer (Roberts), along with their crew, are taken hostage by an enraged young janitor (  Jack O'Connell) who lost everything based on a tip from the show. Socioeconomic issues are brought to the screen and motives to the central crisis are made murky.

While the two big stars spend more time off-screen from one another than onscreen, that distance benefits from the easy repertoire between them.

The film as the two try to figure out a way to diffuse the escalating crisis through an earpiece.

Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)

Laura Burney (Roberts) finally breaks free from her abusive husband, faking her death and leaving scenic Cape Cod behind. With her new identity as Sara Waters, she relocates to Iowa and slowly builds up a new life for herself. But this is a thriller, good things early on don't last for long. This is the film that ended 's 12-week long run at the top of the box office.

It even broke records for the highest domestic opening of a film with a female lead.

Being only her second film in a leading role since , this was a far different story compared to the rom-com classic. But a certain appeal was still there. You root for her characters and that's more crucial than ever for Laura/Sara, who needs to escape from horrible domestic abuse.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

From director  Alan J. Pakula, comes another political thriller. But if his past works in the genre proved too slow for you, maybe this might capture your attention.

The main mystery reaches the highest level of the United States government and in doing so, goes for more dramatic flair than Pakula's other more grounded thrillers. There's a lot of known faces in the cast alongside Roberts, from Denzel Washington to . But bringing in Roberts is crucial for the character she plays.

As Darby Shaw, Roberts is a grad student that confidently goes deep into research for a paper and then just as quickly becomes insecure that it was all for nothing. Of course, that is anything but the truth. She gets caught up in a conspiracy with assassins and car bombs, forcing Darby to realize she can't easily trust anyone.

Homecoming: Season One (2018)

Each of this show's ten episodes had a runtime of a half-hour, if not less. This bite-sized love letter to the paranoid thrillers of the '70s, directed by  Sam Esmail (), had something else special to it too. With Roberts in the main role of Heidi Bergman, it had fun at going against type for what fans have come to expect. Her charisma is drained of its energy during "flash forward" segments of the story, remaining mostly to the "past". It even brought in her onscreen sweetheart 

Dermot Mulroney from but stripped away the romance between them.

In playing two versions of Heidi, one where she is in control and one where she is not, might just be the best thriller she has done that shows off her range as an actress. Heidi can be warm and inviting and then distant and self-loathing. The cental mystery picks up speed with each episode, offering twists and turns . But the best part is trying to figure out if Roberts may not be one of the good guys this time around.

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