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Angelina Jolie has several notable movies in her filmography, including films that fall under the action genre.

The star confided that action films in particular hold a special place in her heart. So much so she can find emotional comfort in them when she’s experiencing a crisis.

Why Angelina Jolie saw action movies as therapy

Angelina Jolie posing at the 'Eternals' red carpet event.
Angelina Jolie | Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Jolie is accustomed to the physicality and energy that often come with doing an action movie. Her roles in movies like Wanted, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Lara Croft turned the seasoned actor into a bankable action star. But Jolie’s attraction to action movies wasn’t solely due to spectacle and storytelling. Jolie once confided that the genre had an emotional benefit.

“For me, there have been times when an action movie, even a Tomb Raider, has helped me get out of myself and be physical again. It’s like therapy,” Jolie once said in an interview with The New York Times.

Her 2008 feature Wanted was able to help Jolie through a particularly tough time in her life after she’d lost a loved one. And after acting in the emotionally taxing project Changeling, Wanted turned out to be exactly what she needed.

“I was depleted. I was in a state of just wanting to pull the covers over my head and cry about my mom. It was just too much,” she said about the experience.

Angelina Jolie’s kids have made her less dependent on movies for therapy

Movies may have worked as a catharsis for Jolie in the past. But over the years Jolie felt she found a source of therapy that was a bit closer to home. The actor took on a new role in her life as a mother of six children. And she confided that being with her family was perhaps a better and more rewarding therapeutic exercise.

“I have needed it in the past, but I now have a lot of children who teach me every day. I’m learning a lot from being a mum and from my travels. I’m able to do a lot of that in my life. I need film less and I’m needed at home more. You know, I’m balanced… I’m all right now,” Jolie once said in an interview with The Scotsman.

However, Jolie still believed that it was sometimes a relief to step outside of her home to engage in an action film. Especially since she could sometimes bring her family with her on those kinds of films.

“My life at home is very serious and sometimes it’s good to step away and be physical. Also, when I’m doing easier roles, it’s not so hard for the kids to be on set, [unlike] when I’m a bit of a basket case during the production. With action movies, mum’s a lot easier to be around,” she said.

The action movie Angelina Jolie starred in where she didn’t feel like a cartoon


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There was one action film Jolie starred in that she felt stood out a bit more than other movies she’d done. The 2010 Angelina Jolie movie Salt featured the actor as government agent and titular character Evelyn Salt. And although she was very familiar with the film’s genre, she believed Salt took the genre in a different direction.

Women in action movies, as I’ve done in the past, tend to either be fantasy or something very sexy-cool. They aren’t based in any kind of reality. This is the first one that I’ve tried to do that is not a cartoon. It’s not a fantasy. She is a good, solid character. It’s about the CIA. It’s today,” Jolie said in a 2010 interview with Parade.