Margot Robbie rose to prominence less than a decade ago, thanks to her part in Martin Scorsese’s 2013 biopic The Wolf of Wall Street, and it’s impressive how much she achieved in so little time. She is also a producer, involved in prominent films, like the recent hit Promising Young Woman.
Robbie’s career is still in its early stages, but she already has performed the role of a lifetime: the chaotic and charming Harley Quinn. Although audiences go back and forth with the DCEU, Harley is one of its most beloved characters. Robbie successfully explored other genres and even achieved two Oscar nominations, establishing herself as an Academy darling and displaying her versatility as a performer. But to some, she’ll always be Harley Quinn — and it’s easy to see why.
10 Harley Is Best: Beautiful Chaos
Harley Quinn is the perfect combination between chaos and hilarity. She’s her own person, an unpredictable woman bound to cause a riot wherever she goes. Unlike the Joker, Harley isn’t cruel or merciless. She just wants to have a good time, even if that sometimes means breaking the law.
Harley is unlike any female character in comics or movies. She’s not an outright femme fatale, nor a helpless damsel in distress. In fact, she doesn’t fit any classic archetype. Harley is a true original, and Robbie does a fantastic job capturing her essence.
9 Better Alternative: Sharon (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is unrestrained and thrilling. A movie made by a film lover, for film lovers. Tarantino once again blends fact with fiction, creating a provocative and thought-provoking fantasy that translates into a satisfying film experience.
As Sharon Tate, Robbie is the embodiment of said fantasy. She exists in the film as a dream, almost detached from the reality around her. And Robbie gives it her all in the role, becoming an incandescent and irresistible ray of light that illuminates and elevates the entire movie.
8 Harley Is Best: Robbie Made Her A Star
Like most fans know, Harley Quinn made her debut in the now-iconic Batman: The Animated Series. The character was an instant hit and soon made her way into the pages of the comic books. Harley is now a staple in the Batman franchise, even receiving her own HBO Max animated show.
While the character was already immensely beloved when Suicide Squad came out in 2016, Robbie’s performance helped consolidate Harley’s popularity. The actor defined Harley for an entire generation, and the two became bonafide stars in the process.
7 Better Alternative: Queen Elizabeth I (Mary Queen of Scots)
2018’s Mary Queen of Scots was a critical and commercial disappointment. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Robbie, the film focuses on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her troubled relationship with her cousin, Elizabeth I, Queen of England.
Despite its lackluster reception, critics and audiences agreed that Robbie gave one of her best performances in the film. As Elizabeth, she’s a true force of nature, commanding, overbearing, and absolute. It’s a challenging role, but Robbie rose to the challenge and came out victorious.
6 Harley Is Best: Fashion Icon
Suicide Squad featured Harley in an instantly iconic yet problematic outfit. Things changed with 2020’s Birds of Prey, as Robbie and the film’s team decided to go all-in with the absurdity and camp. The result is a vibrant and eclectic clash of colors and patterns that create a truly distinctive look for Harley.
The fashion choices in Birds of Prey are, for the lack of a better word, fantabulous. They not only capture Harley’s personality but actually enhance it. Even when she’s not speaking, audiences can tell who Harley is, all thanks to the clothes she’s wearing.
5 Better Alternative: Naomi Lapaglia (The Wolf of Wall Street)
From the moment Robbie first appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street, it became clear that she was a star. She commanded the screen, holding her own against a heavyweight like Leonardo DiCaprio, who in turn was doing some of the best work in his career.
To use internet vernacular, Robbie understood the assignment. She fit perfectly with the film’s tone, delivering a performance that’s as over-the-top as it is sincere. It’s a tricky combination to pull off, but Robbie did it, and she made it seem effortless.
4 Harley Is Best: A Woman Antihero (At Last!)
Stories of male antiheroes became increasingly prevalent in the 21st century. Numerous television shows — Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Dexter — indulged in the trope and gave audiences iconic but questionable protagonists. And as the age of the antihero rose to its peak, fans wondered when a female antihero would come along.
Harley fits the description perfectly. She’s not good or bad, just selfish. Her self-preservation instinct guides most of her decisions, and while she certainly tilted more towards the “good” side in Birds of Prey, the upcoming The Suicide Squad seems to take her back to her antagonistic roots.
3 Better Alternative: Kayla Pospisil (Bombshell)
Bombshell is far from perfect. In fact, it leans into sensationalism when it should treat its delicate subject matter with more nuance. The result is an uneven story that benefits greatly from the sheer amount of talent in front of the camera, especially Charlize Theron and Robbie.
As Kayla Pospisil, Robbie proves her ability to elevate even the thinnest material. She imbues Kayla with earnestness and vulnerability while still retaining her humanity. And while the film around her somewhat lets her down, Robbie is in complete control of her craft, and it shows.
2 Harley Is Best: LGBTQ Representation?
Harley is currently in a relationship with Poison Ivy in the HBO Max animates series. The romance received praise from critics and audiences alike and provided some much-needed positive LGBTQ+ representation.
Robbie recently discussed how she lobbied Warner Bros. to include Poison Ivy in the DCEU. And while her efforts were unsuccessful, she assured fans she’ll keep trying, stating how great it would be to bring the relationship to the big screen. It would also be a huge step forward for representation and a welcome addition to Harley’s characterization.
1 Better Alternative: Tonya Harding (I, Tonya)
Fierce, committed, and transformative, Robbie’s performance in I, Tonya is nothing short of spectacular. She never once judges the character for her actions, but she doesn’t try to excuse them either. Instead, she does something far more complex: finding the humanity in Harding and displaying it to the audience without any embellishments.
It’s a meal of a role, and Robbie made the most out of it. She received rave reviews and her first Oscar nomination, and in all honesty, would’ve been a deserving winner. Still, and with her entire career ahead of her, it’s only a matter of time before she delivers another stunning performance that finally lands her the gold.
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