Hugh Grant's Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

Ahead of 'About a Boy's' anniversary, Metacritic looks back on the best of Hugh Grant's filmography so far (and yes, that title did make the cut).
by Cynthia Paez Bowman — 

Hugh Grant

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

After years of minor roles in movies and TV series, London-Born Hugh Grant became the king of the '90s rom-com due to his success in Four Weddings and A Funeral. What's most impressive is the major awards he won for his performance as Charles in the film: Grant received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and also picked up Best Actor at the BAFTA Awards.

While that was his first BAFTA nomination and only win thus far, he went on to receive three additional nominations from that prestigious group, for his performances in Florence Foster Jenkins, Paddington 2, and A Very English Scandal.

Grant is well known for characters with blue-blood good looks paired with a funny, bumbling demeanor that's very British. His dry, comedic flair is unique. Although he is well-known for romantic characters (also in films from Notting Hill, to Bridget Jones's DiaryMusic and LyricsLove Actually, and About A Boy, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary), he evolved from his "Mr. Nice Guy" roles. Branching out into more varied and compelling roles include playing a double-crossing private investigator in The Gentlemen and a murderer in The Undoing. The former performance in that list earned him his latest awards acclaim, including Emmy, Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

Ahead of About a Boy's anniversary, Metacritic looks back on the best of Grant's filmography so far (and yes, that title did make the cut), by ranking the top 10 movies he has acted in by Metascore.

Paddington 2

Metascore: 88
Best for: Families and fans of the original novel about Paddington Bear
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes,
Runtime: 103 minutes

The 2017 sequel to Paddington sees the beloved titular bear on a quest to track down a thief, Phoenix Buchanan (Grant), who stole a prized book from the local antique shop. Paddington Bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) wants to gift the book to his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) for her 100th birthday. Interestingly, Paddington 2 is one of few movies that was better-received by critics than the original, with a Metascore of 88 compared to 77 for the first. 

"It's a family adventure that's the right sort of heartwarming, delivering real human emotion through the medium of a small bear." — Helen O'Hara, Time Out London

The Remains of the Day

Metascore: 86
Best for: Period and historical drama fans
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Pluto TV, Tubi,
Runtime: 134 minutes

This 1993 film from director James Ivory tells the story of a butler named Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) and his correspondence with former housekeeper Ms. Kenton (Emma Thompson). The film flips between two time periods, partially set in England during the time leading up to World War II when Stevens takes his work for Lord Darlington (James Fox) so seriously he forgoes his own family obligations and overlooks his bosses' shortcomings (including growing anti-Semitism), and partially in the late 1950s, after the Lord dies, and Stevens expresses regret about his loyalty. Grant plays Reginald Cardinal, a journalist and the Lord's godson.

"Looks grand without being overdressed, it is full of feeling without being sentimental. Here's a film for adults. It's also about time to recognize that Mr. Ivory is one of our finest directors."  — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Sense and Sensibility

Metascore: 84
Best for: Those who crave romantic intrigue, period and historical drama lovers, Jane Austen fans
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , , iTunes, Tubi,
Runtime: 136 minutess

This 1995 cinematic adaptation of the popular Austen novel of the same title follows the lives of the Dashwood girls and mother after the untimely death of their father. Newly impoverished, they must move from the estate they grew up in to a new home, all while considering marriage and their fate. Grant plays Edward Ferrars, Elinor Dashwood's (Thompson) love interest. Unfortunately, Edward is engaged to someone else, adding to the tension and intrigue in this period drama. 

"This rapturous romance is not only laugh-out-loud funny but demonstrates how little humankind has evolved in matters of the heart." — Rita Kempley, The Washington Post

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Metascore: 81
Best for: Romantic comedy seekers who believe in destiny
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes,
117 minutess

Although hardly his first film, arguably this movie from writer Richard Curtis and director Mike Newell landed Grant on the map, earning him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. In the 1994 film, Grant plays Charlie, a single and witty Brit who hasn't been lucky in love — until he meets an American girl named Carrie (Andie MacDowell) at a wedding. Their brief encounter leaves Grant wanting more. Fortunately for him, the story follows them running into each other through the titular weddings and funeral, proving that some people are meant to be in your life.

"British humour at its eclectic best, a deliciously heady mix of dry wit and ribald farce." — Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail

About a Boy

Metascore: 75
Best for: Comedy lovers and those in the mood for a feel-good story
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, ,
Runtime: 101 minutes

Grant plays Will Freeman, a London bachelor with no responsibilities, in this 2002 adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel of the same name. As a ploy to meet women easier, Will tells potential conquests he has a son. He takes it further by attending single-mother meetings. His path leads to meeting a particular single mom named Suzie (Toni Collette) and Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), a child suffering from social troubles. In the end, Will's unexpected relationship with Marcus helps the irresponsible bachelor mature and grow. 

"About a Boy knows exactly what it wants to do: It wants to make you smile, and grin, and then laugh with recognition, and it manages all three, again and again." — Mark Savlov, The Austin Chronicle


Metascore: 75
Best for: Period drama fans and viewers interested in exploring homosexuality throughout history
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi
Runtime: 140 minutes

Set at the turn of the 20th century in Cambridge, Grant plays a wealthy Clive Durham in Ivory's 1987 film, marking the actor and director's first collaboration together. Clive befriends Maurice, (James Wilby), and the attraction between the two is palpable, although social norms at the time make such a relationship difficult. The drama's tension continues as they pursue a reserved emotional affair, and Maurice questions whether he is gay, involving others for appearances in an emotionally-charged love triangle.

"To director James Ivory's credit, however, he has recreated that period in pre-World War I England and endowed the platonic passion between two upper-class Englishmen with singular grace in Maurice." — Judy Stone, The San Francisco Chronicle

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Metascore: 73
Best for: Kids and family viewing, pirate and swashbuckling fans
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes,
Runtime: 88 minutes

In this 2012 3-D stop-motion animated film, Grant voices a pirate captain opposite Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven as his rivals. The goal of all three is to win the "Pirate of the Year" award, and the quest takes them across the high sea to Victorian London. But they are not the only ones involved or creating complications for the title: Staunton voices the Queen, who despises pirates, and David Tennant voices Charles Darwin.

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits is one of the funniest animated films in years, or to put it in terms you scallywags can understand: it's a treasure trove of laughs." — Pete Hammond, Boxoffice Magazine

Florence Foster Jenkins

Metascore: 71
Best for: Comedy and opera lovers
Where to watch: 

, , Google Play, iTunes, ,
Runtime: 111 minutes

Florence Foster Jenkins is the story of an aspiring opera singer (played by Meryl Streep) with big ambitions — and little talent. Fortunately, her husband and manager, St. Clair Bayfield (Grant), is her biggest supporter and enabler, ensuring that she never gets wind of how badly received her singing is. But when Florence sets her sights on a performance at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair has his biggest challenge yet to make Florence happy. 

"With Streep on grandstanding form and Grant given a rare chance to show his range, this is an intelligent dramedy that moves and amuses." — Jamie Graham, FILM

Small Time Crooks

Metascore: 69
Best for: Rom-com fans who love Bonnie and Clyde
Where to watch:

Runtime: 94 minutes

Small Time Crooks is a typical Woody Allen film with lots of dialogue and an ensemble cast that features Allen, Tracey Ullman, and Grant. Allen plays a career criminal named Ray who, along with his wife Frenchie (Ullman), wants to dig a tunnel to rob a bank. They hit it big, but the abundance of cash doesn't change the fact that they're not easily accepted in higher-society circles. That's where Grant's art dealer character David comes in: He is supposed to help them learn how to fit into their new world.

"A delicious comedy that starts out promisingly as a pleasant gag comedy but then turns unexpectedly into a bright social satire." — Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle

Notting Hill

Metascore: 68
Best for: Fans of charming romances and fairy-tale love stories
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi
Runtime: 124 minutes

In Notting Hill, Grant plays William Thacker, a bookstore owner who meets a famous American actor named Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) when she randomly enters his store one day. The two begin a relationship, but it is constantly complicated by aspects of her career and fame, which highlights just how different their lifestyles are from each other. With a little nudging from his friends, though, William doesn't give up.

"The overall result is a romantic comedy that indulges fantasies, calms insecurities (can an ordinary bloke stack up?), and breaks and mends hearts with surgical precision." — Jami Bernard, Daily News