In this article:
- Chloë Grace Moretz has an impressive, if somewhat chaotic, resume, having essentially grown up in front of the camera and around some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
- Having starred in over 50 films before she was even legally allowed to drink, Moretz has done a little bit of everything — from drama and rom-coms, to thrillers and auteur horror films.
- But what defines her nearly two-decade acting career is intention, both in the roles she chooses and in the compelling ways she breathes life into them.
- The films below are some of the best, as rated by the users of IMDb, and are followed by some honorable mentions I thought important to include, as well as one dishonorable mention we shouldn’t support.
Chloë Grace Moretz began her professional acting career at age 6, got her breakthrough at age 12, and to date, has an impressive 75 acting credits to her name. And really, she’s only just begun.
Moretz is 25 now, and after a whirlwind of roles in her earlier years — even being hailed as Hollywood’s busiest in 2013 — she decided to be a bit more intentional with her work. In 2016, she dropped out of her unproduced film projects, including a lead role in the Little Mermaid live action film.
Not that she wasn’t already picky, of course. What characterized her busy career pre-2016 was the refusal to do what was expected of her.
Moretz, who was born in Georgia, steered clear of “southern belle” scripts sent her way, and was careful to reject roles that she deemed objectifying. Instead, she chose work that pushed her to do new things and grow her craft in haunting, complex roles.
And in 2016, she said, “I think as an actor you have a huge opportunity to find yourself through the roles that you choose. I think it’s my time, right now in my life, to figure out who I am and what I am and what I want and what this industry means.”
She came out of this brief pause with two films in 2018: the Luca Guadagnino-directed Suspiria and Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The latter film is especially important for her, as it was one that everyone — except for her brother and acting coach, Trevor — told her not to do.
The film went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and for Chloë Grace Moretz, it was a lesson to trust in her heart and in her gut.
So if you’d like to see Moretz trusting herself and growing into her own on screen, the movies below are considered some of her best, according to IMDb.
500 Days of Summer (2009)
IMDb Rating: 7.7
What is likely the film that introduced many casual moviegoers to an 11-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz is Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer, which explored the failed relationship between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel).
In the movie, Moretz plays Rachel, Tom’s brutally honest younger half-sister.
Where Gordon-Levitt’s Tom is a hopeless romantic, Moretz’s Rachel is more pragmatic. Her line, “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate,” is probably the smartest in the entire film.
Kick-Ass (2010) & Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
In 2008, a young Chloë Grace Moretz saw Angelina Jolie in a poster for the action-thriller film Wanted. This prompted her to ask for a role that was “an Angelina Jolie-type character,” who was, “like an action hero, woman empowerment, awesome, take-charge leading role.”
A month later, she got the role of Mindy Macready, or Hit-Girl.
In both Kick-Ass movies, Moretz’s badass Hit-Girl is ruthless, vulgar, and violent — making it one of her most memorable roles in a resume that’s filled with them. The comic book movies are based on Marvel’s Kick-Ass comic books, but are a world away from the MCU films we know today.
Kick-Ass stars Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski, a high school nerd who sets out to become a real-life superhero and calls himself Kick-Ass.
Before long, his adventures get him entangled with his city’s crime boss, and he meets Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his daughter, Hit-Girl — who, like him, are masked vigilantes, but infinitely much better at it.
Though she doesn’t play the films’ main protagonist, the 12-year-old Moretz pretty much steals every scene with her sharp dialogue and impressive stunts.
Prior to filming, she had prepared with the stunt crew that had helped no less than Jackie Chan, training herself in gymnastics, guns, knives, and swords to do much of her own stunt work.
And all this paid off: Moretz took home a slew of awards for her role, including Empire’s Best Newcomer Award, MTV Movie’s Best Breakout Star and Biggest Badass Star Awards, and IGN’s Best Actress Award.
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Chloë Grace Moretz stars opposite Asa Butterfield (more popularly known today as the star of Netflix’s Sex Education) in Martin Scorsese’s 2011 film Hugo, which was based on Brian Selznick’s 2007 book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Set in Paris in the 1930s, the film follows Hugo Cabret (Butterfield), who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station and wants, more than anything, to repair his automaton, left to him by his late father.
Soon he meets Moretz’s Isabelle, and the two become fast friends, working together to learn more about the secrets of Hugo’s father.
The film is a visual spectacle and a love letter to the magic of cinema, going on to win five out of the 11 Academy Awards it was nominated for the following year.
For her work as Isabelle, Chloë Grace Moretz won the Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film and the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie Star Under 25.
The Equalizer (2014)
IMDb Rating: 7.2
In Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer, Chloë Grace Moretz is nearly unrecognizable as she takes on a more mature role as Teri, a teenage prostitute.
One night, she meets and befriends Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall, a former U.S. Marine turned DIA intelligence officer who faked his own death to live a quiet life working at a Home Mart hardware store.
But when Teri is beat up by her pimp and McCall discovers exactly who she is working for, he can’t just walk away. Instead, he comes to her aid and becomes an angel of vengeance.
It’s a pretty good film if you’re into stylishly shot violence, and Washington and Moretz play off of each other pretty well.
Let Me In (2010)
IMDb Rating: 7.1
A Hollywood remake of a European film becoming critically acclaimed is a bit of a rarity, and so are romantic horror films. But Matt Reeves’s Let Me In, adapted from the Swedish film Let the Right One In manages to be both.
In this vampire story, Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Abby, a strange new girl whom her lonely neighbor Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) befriends.
The 12-year-old Owen is neglected at home and bullied at school, and the two form a strong bond as strange and gruesome murders rock their quiet town in New Mexico.
But Abby, who never leaves her apartment in the daytime, vows to protect Owen, who slowly begins to suspect that Abby is hiding a terrible secret.
The film went on to win several awards for the finesse of Matt Reeves’s directing and the chemistry and skill of its young actors. Moretz herself, who was only 11 years old at the time of filming, won five exceedingly well-deserved awards for her performance as an adult trapped in a child’s body.
But perhaps one of the highest praises came from horror icon Stephen King, who wrote, “Let Me In is a genre-busting triumph. Not just a horror film, but the best American horror film in the last 20 years.”
IMDb Rating: 6.7
Another excellent horror remake, this time directed by Luca Guadagnino, Suspiria is a modern take on a prestigious Berlin dance academy run by a coven of witches. Dakota Johnson stars as Susie, an American ballerina who makes the journey to Berlin to pursue her dreams.
There, she meets a few other students — except for Chloë Grace Moretz’s Patricia, whose body is found on Susie’s first day.
Moretz’s role is a relatively small one, but she definitely makes the most of it and seems almost unrecognizable as Patricia in this arthouse horror film.
She also has plenty of praise for the film’s acclaimed director.
Moretz commented on her participation in the film: “It’s unlike any other directing process I have ever been a part of… Luca is Luca and there’s kind of no mistaking it for anything else,” she says.
“He’ll let you do the craziest stuff on screen and won’t bat an eye, he’ll tell you to go farther.
If I Stay (2014)
IMDb Rating: 6.7
At the start of R. J. Cutler’s If I Stay, high school cellist Mia Hall gets into a car accident and falls into a coma — so she spends most of the movie lying immobile in a hospital bed.
But Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays Mia, still has a lot of acting to do, as Mia also goes through an out-of-body experience, watching herself and her family get taken to the hospital and her surviving loved ones come visit her.
There’s also plenty of flashbacks of her life before the accident, including her passionate relationship with Adam, an up-and-coming rock star, and her family: ex-rock star father, travel agent mother, and little brother Teddy.
From here, Mia must decide if she wants to wake up into a completely new life without her family.
To prepare for this film, Moretz shared that she trained with a cello for two hours a day for seven months. Though it was far from enough to get a mastery of the instrument, she did learn the emotion and passion required to play the cello.
She says, “You have to surrender your entire soul to the instrument as you play it.”
And it paid off. For her role as Mia, Moretz won the People’s Choice Award for Dramatic Movie Actress and the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Drama.
Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)
IMDb Rating: 6.7
In Clouds of Sils Maria, Chloë Grace Moretz plays a chaotic young actress called Jo-Ann Ellis, who’s been cast in the role of Sigrid in Maloja Snake.
The play centers on an emotionally turbulent relationship between her character’s character Sigrid and Helena, a vulnerable older woman. Jo-Ann is set to star alongside Juliette Binoche’s Maria Enders, an older actress who got her big break 20 years earlier in the same play, but as Sigrid.
Most of the film focuses on Enders’s relationship with her younger assistant Val, played by a magnificent Kristen Stewart.
And really, the thing that makes this Olivier Assayas masterpiece work so well is the affectionate, yet prickly and tension-filled dynamic between the two of them.
But here, Moretz holds her own in this film as an actress who is nothing like her in real life: just as scandal-ridden as she is shrewd and fresh-faced.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Chloë Grace Moretz plays the titular character in Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
Based on a novel by Emily M. Danforth, the film tells the story of a girl whose conservative parents force her to go to a gay conversion therapy center for teenagers called God’s Promise.
And though it’s set in the ‘90s, the bigotry and suffering portrayed in it is still very real today, which is why Moretz, who has two gay brothers, felt the need to do the film. Though it can be difficult to watch for some, the film does give its queer protagonist a good ending, which is refreshing.
Moreover, Moretz’s work here is one of her best, thanks in part to a lifetime’s worth of acting, and in part to a genuine passion for the film’s message.
“Chloë is incredibly ambitious, focused and driven and I have no doubt she’ll be producing her own content soon,” she says.
“She’s a smart businesswoman who has clocked more hours on set than any of her contemporaries and it’s clear she gleaned a lot from growing up on shoots.”
Brain on Fire (2016)
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Gerard Barrett’s Brain on Fire is based on the memoir of the same name by Susannah Cahalan, a young woman whose dream job at The New York Post and lovely home life with her new boyfriend Stephen is rocked when she starts feeling seriously ill.
Here, Chloë Grace Moretz acts out Susannah’s real-life medical struggle, which starts off as similar to a flu and progresses into full-on seizures, hallucinations, and hypersensitivity to loud noises.
No one could diagnose her condition properly, until she meets Dr. Souhel Najjar, who manages to help her find the answers she needs.
The film was lambasted by critics and, despite its IMDb rating, has a sad 13% score on Rotten Tomatoes. But what it lacks in quality, it more than makes up for in terms of its advocacy, as it spreads awareness about a rare disease called the anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.
In fact, many of the comments on the trailer point out personal experiences with the little-known condition.
The real-life Susannah was only the 217th person to ever be diagnosed with it. The 2012 memoir, alongside this 2016 film, has led to thousands more being diagnosed and treated.
The Best Chloë Grace Moretz Films: Some Honorable Mentions
Though useful, the IMDb rating system is far from perfect, so I thought I’d add in a few more standout films by Chloë Grace Moretz that I think you should definitely see:
- Shadow in the Cloud (2020, 4.9 on IMDb): This Roseanne Liang film is described as “part creature feature, part war movie, and part social commentary,” but it’s all silly, but sincere fun.
Here, Moretz plays WWII fighter pilot Maude, who is ridiculed by her male fellow crew members, but must fight off not just their misogyny, but also enemy planes and a giant gremlin. If you want to shut off your brain for a while, here’s a pretty good feminist pick.
- Neighbors 2 (2016, 5.7 on IMDb): This star-studded film is the sequel to 2014’s Neighbors, and is one of those rare comedy sequels that are actually pretty good.
Here, Chloë Grace Moretz plays Shelby Robek, the head of a sorority house who refuses to stop partying despite the protagonists’ pleas.
It’s a far cry from a lot of the roles she’s played in the films on this list, and she even took home the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Actress: Comedy for it.
- Carrie (2013, 5.8 on IMDb): Though not Moretz’s best film, fans of horror in general the Carrie franchise in particular would still enjoy director Kimberly Peirce’s take on the Stephen King novel of the same name.
Moretz has shared how she used method acting in this film, and she is one of the film’s bright spots — as evidenced by the awards she was able to get.
- Say When / Laggies (2014, 6.4 on IMDb): In this film, Chloë Grace Moretz co-stars with Kiera Knightley, Sam Rockwell, and Kaitlyn Dever, as her teen character Annika forms a special bond with Kiera’s 28-year-old Megan.
The film is a lot of fun, and is a nice change of pace from the rest of Moretz’s other work. Plus, there’s always something delightfully disconcerting about seeing Kiera Knightley in a movie set in the modern times.
- The Poker House (2008, 6.3 on IMDb): Chloë Grace Moretz has a smaller role in this Lori Petty film as Cammie, the younger sister of Jennifer Lawrence’s Agnes. The compellingly acted film is inspired by Petty’s own youth, and focuses on a day in the life of Agnes, who attempts to care for her two younger sisters despite poverty and abuse.
…And One Dishonorable Mention
If there is one film that Chloë Grace Moretz wishes you wouldn’t see, it’s 2017’s I Love You, Daddy. It scored a decent 6.3 rating on IMDb despite poor reviews overall, and features Moretz as a 17-year-old daughter of TV producer Glen Topher, played by Louis CK, who also wrote and directed the film.
When CK was accused of sexual misconduct by several women (confirming long-time rumors about the comedian), the film was dropped by its distributor. Moretz had pulled out of promotions the moment she heard of the allegations.
She later said she hoped the entire film would no longer be released.
Despite having spent time working on the film, she had said, “I think it should just kind of go away, honestly.” Referring to men accused of sexual misconduct, she continued, “I don’t think it’s time for them to have a voice right now.”
And she’s right to say it.