9 of Melanie Lynskey’s best roles so far, from Yellowjackets to Up In The Air

Melanie Lynskey may be the most recent star to join The Last Of Us, but she’s had a long, successful career. Here is a look back at just a few of her brilliant performances.

If you were one of the 6.4 million people who tuned into the hotly anticipated fourth episode of HBO’s The Last Of Us this week, you’ll have seen Melanie Lynskey take to the screen as Kathleen.

The character – who doesn’t appear in the original game – appears as part of a group of rebels living in Kansas City, Missouri. Unlike Lynskey’s personality IRL, Kathleen is hardened, ruthless and motivated by grief, and while episode four introduced us to her motivations, we’re excited to see how her story continues in episode five.

Kathleen is, of course, one of a long list of brilliant characters Lynskey has taken on throughout her career. So, as we enjoy the results of her latest venture, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the best roles she’s taken on to date.  

  • Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures (1994)

    Lynskey’s on-screen debut came in the form of Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, a psychological true crime drama in which she starred alongside a similarly young Kate Winslet.

    The film, which is based on the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case in Christchurch, New Zealand, sees Lynskey star as Pauline Parker, whose friendship with Winslet’s character, Juliet Hulme, produces disastrous consequences. 

  • Hilary in But I’m A Cheerleader! (2000)

    This cult classic saw Lynskey take on the role of Hilary, a timid, teacher’s pet-esque character who attends a residential inpatient conversion therapy camp alongside the film’s protagonist, Megan (Natasha Lyonne).

    Sharp, satirical and surprisingly funny despite its subject matter, the film has entertained generations of viewers since it was first released back in 2000, with Lionsgate releasing a 4k Ultra HD version of the movie in 2020.

  • Julie Bingham in Up In The Air (2009)

    Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and a young Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air sees Lynskey take on the role of Clooney’s character’s sister, Julie Bingham. 

    Moving and full of humanity, Lynskey may not be on screen as much as we’d like, but she certainly holds her own alongside the film’s stars.     

  • Rose in Two And A Half Men (2003-2015)

    Melanie Lynskey in Two And A Half Men.

    The longest role of Lynskey’s career was that of Rose in Two And A Half Men, the next-door neighbour of the Harper family and the stalker and friend of one of the show’s central characters, Charlie (played by Charlie Sheen). 

    It was this role that helped Lynskey achieve widespread fame and launch her TV career – a shift that would later prove very successful for the actor.

  • Annie in The Intervention (2016)

    Lynskey was reunited with her But I’m A Cheerleader! co-stars Clea DuVall and Natasha Lyonne in this comedy-drama about a group of four couples whose weekend away takes a sharp turn after three of the couples stage an intervention with the remaining pair. 

    Lynskey’s performance as Annie – a “neurotic, insecure alcoholic” – demonstrates the ease with which she takes on multi-faceted, complex characters.

  • Michelle Pierson in Togetherness (2015-2016)

    Returning to TV once more, Lynskey took on the role of Michelle Pierson in Togetherness – a HBO comedy drama about two couples trying to make things work under one roof. 

    Hilarious and hard-hitting all at once, it’s not hard to see why the show was so loved – or how Lynskey’s performance eventually secured her a Critics Choice Awards nomination for best supporting actress in a comedy series.

  • Ruth in I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017)

    This Netflix film – which went on to win the grand jury prize for the US Dramatic competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival – stars Lynskey as a downtrodden woman who takes the law into her own hands after a burglar breaks into her house and steals a number of her possessions.

    Also starring Elijah Wood as Lynskey’s disgruntled neighbour who helps her enact her revenge, this is certainly one to add to your watch list.

  • June Mindy in Don’t Look Up (2021)

    This satirical comedy about two low-level astronomers who go on a media tour to warn humanity of an incoming asteroid features Lynskey as June Mindy, the wife of one of the two astronomers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). 

    It may not be her most standout role, but Lynskey brings a sense of softness and emotion to her character’s journey that adds to the overall impact of the film. 

  • Shauna in Yellowjackets (2021-2023)

    Melanie Lynskey in Yellowjackets.

    Season one of Yellowjackets shot to popularity soon after it aired in 2021, and for good reason. 

    Lynskey’s performance as Shauna – the adult version of one of the girls who was stranded in the wilderness – is certainly one of the series’ standout qualities.

Images: Getty/Sky/Showtime

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