Kristen Bell is known for her bright and bubbly personality, but her range as a performer extends far beyond just playing the girl next door. From her breakout role in Veronica Mars to her voice work as Princess Anna in Frozen, Bell has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with.
She radiates infectious charm in projects like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and reveals her impeccable comedic timing on The Good Place. Just last week it was confirmed that she will star in a new Netflix series from Modern Family producer Steven Levitan. Hopefully, it’s a better vehicle for her talents than last year’s lackluster The People We Hate At the Wedding.
10 ‘Queenpins’ (2021)
Bell stars in this comedy as Connie Kaminski, a suburban housewife who becomes bored with her mundane life and decides to embark on a criminal enterprise: creating counterfeit coupons. As one would expect, things quickly go awry. Bell’s performance is solid, but the script doesn’t giver her much to work with.
The film is thoroughly mediocre. Not even the charm of co-stars Vince Vaughn and Kirby Howell-Baptiste can salvage it. It was a major box office bomb, too, grossing just $1.2 million against a $20 million budget.
9 ‘The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window’ (2022)
The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is a comedy series that plays on thriller tropes, especially those of slashers like Scream. Bell plays a woman who is struggling to cope with the death of her husband. She suspects that she has witnessed a murder, but her neighbors simply dismiss her as crazy, so she sets out to find the truth on her own.
The show might be a little slow-paced for some viewers, but Bell’s deadpan performance is frequently hilarious and fans of classic thrillers should enjoy the spoofs. In particular, it satirizes the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Paula Hawkins, and Gillian Flynn.
8 ‘Veronica Mars: The Movie’ (2014)
Veronica Mars is a film adaptation of the TV series of the same name. It follows the titular character, played by Bell, as she returns to her hometown to help her former high school flame who has been accused of murder. It’s a terrific blend of nostalgia and suspense, bringing back beloved characters and exploring their relationships while also introducing new twists and turns to the story.
Bell’s performance as Veronica is as brilliant as ever, showcasing her wit, intelligence, and strength as she navigates through the complex and dangerous case. The movie stays true to the spirit of the TV series, delivering a satisfying conclusion while also leaving room for potential future installments.
7 ‘Frozen II’ (2019)
Frozen II continues the story of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven as they embark on a new adventure to discover the truth about Elsa’s powers and the history of their kingdom. Bell returns as the voice of Anna, and once again, she delivers a standout performance.
Bell really fleshes out the role, emphasizing Anna’s fears and doubts as well as her unwavering loyalty to her sister. She also showcases her incredible singing voice once again with several show-stopping musical numbers. Bell’s performance is a testament to her versatility as an actress and cements her status as one of the most beloved Disney princesses of all time.
6 ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ (2008)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall was one of the 2000s’ biggest smash-hit romantic comedies. It follows Peter (Jason Segel), as he tries to move on from his recent breakup with his celebrity girlfriend, played by Bell. Bell’s new boyfriend is played by Russell Brand, in one of his early star-making roles.
Bell is just a supporting character, but she nevertheless delivers a standout performance as Sarah, portraying her as both charming and flawed. Despite being the one who initiated the breakup, Sarah struggles with her feelings for Peter and her own insecurities. Bell’s ability to balance Sarah’s confident and vulnerable sides makes her unusually relatable.
5 ‘Frozen’ (2013)
Frozen II might have a more complex story, but it can’t top the original Frozen in terms of pure entertainment. From the animation to the jokes to the infectious songs, it’s no surprise that the film captured the hearts of audiences around the world. It seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere in 2013 without being bombarded by the soundtrack.
Bell’s portrayal of Anna is lively and endearing. She perfectly captures Anna’s journey of self-discovery as she navigates the challenges of her magical world. But the real highlight is her singing. Bell’s rendition of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” is especially memorable. Her contribution to Frozen is an essential part of what made the film such a sensation.
4 ‘House of Lies’ (2012-2016)
Bell took a step into darker comedy with House of Lies, a show about Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) and his team of management consultants, who are always willing to bend the rules to get what they want. Bell plays Jeannie Van Der Hooven, Marty’s cunning protégé. She has great chemistry with Cheadle; their on-screen dynamic was one of the highlights of the show.
It’s one of Bell’s more nuanced characters too. Jeannie is driven by cutthroat ambition, but she’s also vulnerable and not quite as cold as Marty. Hopefully, we get to see Bell tackle similar edgy roles in the future.
3 ‘Gossip Girl’ (2007-2012)
“You know you love me…” People often forget it, but Bell featured in every episode of Gossip Girl, the hit showabout wealthy teenagers on the Upper East Side, and the anonymous blogger who chronicled their every move. Bell was the voice of the titular Gossip Girl who provided the narration throughout the series.
Bell’s sardonic and sometimes biting commentary added an extra layer of intrigue to the show. Her distinctive voice was a perfect fit for the role, all breathy and light despite the sometimes menacing content. Although she never appeared on-screen, Bell’s contribution to Gossip Girl is undeniable.
2 ‘The Good Place’ (2016-2020)
Bell’s funniest role is Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who mistakenly finds herself in the afterlife’s “Good Place” despite living a less-than-moral life on Earth. Bell is both vulnerable and witty in the part. Her disses were particularly enjoyable: “Ya basic!”
Her chemistry with her co-stars, particularly William Jackson Harper, was a highlight, and their on-screen relationship was one of the most compelling aspects of the series. For good reason, Bell’s performance was critically acclaimed. Although the show explored complex philosophical concepts, the warm-hearted performances from the leads kept it accessible and entertaining.
1 ‘Veronica Mars’ (2004-2019)
Although it was one of her earliest roles, Veronica Mars remains Bell’s most beloved character. Bell plays a high school student turned private investigator who solves crimes in her hometown of Neptune, California. The first season revolved around her best friend’s death and a corrupt sheriff taking charge of the town. Each episode tended to feature a stand-alone case but built up to season-long arcs involving greater mysteries.
The show had a pulpy premise – detective noir meets high school drama – but along the way it morphed into a sharp character study with plenty to say about adolescence. A lot of it only works because of Bell. She absolutely nails Veronica’s hard-boiled, acerbic dialogue, for example, which sounds like it came out of a Raymond Chandler novel. Her performance was praised by critics and filmmakers alike, including Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, and Stephen King. The latter described Veronica Mars as “Nancy Drew meets Philip Marlowe, and the result is pure nitro.”
NEXT: ‘The Good Place’ Series Finale Explained: An Afterlife of Peace