Joan Allen first caught my eye with her work in Manhunter. Specifically in a scene in which she lays her head against a tiger to hear its heartbeat as a shaken Frances Dolarhyde looks on. Allen's characters are multi- faceted strong women with integrity. She isn't afraid to stretch herself to play the villain or the accused either.
Favorite role: Senator Laine Hanson in The Contender
Of all her roles, her turn as Senator Laine Hanson has affected me the most. She displays just enough and knows when to draw back if necessary. Through her acting, she shows Hanson as having a social life and, as this scene shows, someone who lives by ethical principles that will remain unshaken.
Reba McClane in Manhunter
Patricia Nixon in Nixon
Elizabeth Procter in The Crucible
Elena Hood in The Ice Storm
Betty Parker in Pleasantville