Before we start, you must learn how to pronounce Saoirse Ronan’s name! Saoirse is pronounced like “Ser-sha”. It’s pretty easy when you see it written this way, right? Since we got that out of the way, let’s start!
Saoirse Ronan’s Biography
Saoirse Ronan was born on 12 April 1994 in the Bronx, New York. She is the only child of Paul and Monica Ronan. During the economic crisis in Dublin in the 1980s, Saoirse’s parents moved to the US as undocumented immigrants. Her mother worked as a nanny, and her father worked in construction, but they both loved acting and had worked as actors at some point. They had Saoirse in 1994 in New York City but moved back to Ireland when Saoirse was three.
Saoirse grew up in Ireland and was raised in Ardattin, County Carlow, where she attended Ardattin National School, but eventually, her parents decided to homeschool her. As a teenager, she and her parents moved from Ardattin to Dublin.
Saoirse Ronan’s Filmography
Saoirse’s career began in an Irish TV show called The Clinic (2003-2004). She had a small role in The Clinic, followed by appearing in another show called Proof (2005). She tried to start her film career by auditioning to play Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films but lost that role to an actress named Evanna Lynch. Her Film debut came later in 2005 with the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman by Amy Heckerling.
2007 to 2014
In 2007, at 12 years old, Saoirse attended an open casting call for Joe Wright’s adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement. She became Briony Tallis, the sister of Keira Knightly’s Cecilia Tallis. Atonement was the real breakthrough in Saoirse’s career. The movie gained both critical acclaim and commercial success. It earned her the first major award nomination and win. She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, was nominated for a BAFTA, and became the seventh youngest person to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
After Atonement (2008), Saoirse starred in multiple movies, which weren’t all as successful as Atonement. Her period drama Death Defying Acts (2007) and sci-fi movie City of Ember (2008) weren’t as prominent. Still, City of Ember earned her Irish Film & Television Awards nomination. Later, in 2009, Saoirse Ronan starred in The Lovely Bones (2009) alongside Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, and Stanley Tucci. This movie earned a lot of critical acclaim, and her role earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress.
In 2011, Saoirse was reunited with director Joe Wright in his movie Hanna (2011). The movie differed from what she had done before as she played the titular character of a 15-year-old girl training to become an assassin. The movie was moderately successful but earned her great praise for acting and action sequences. In 2014, Saoirse played a supporting role in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
2015 – Present
Saoirse finally earned her second Academy Award nomination for her lead role in John Crowley’s Brooklyn (2015), a movie about an Irish woman who moves to the US and then is called back home to find out how much she has changed and how much her hometown has stayed the same. Three years later, Saoirse earned her third Academy Award nomination for her lead role in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (2017). This nomination made her the second youngest actress to receive three Oscar nominations before 24. Lady Bird also earned her a second Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2018, Saoirse co-starred in the period drama Mary Queen of Scots (2018) alongside Margot Robbie. She played the role of Mary Stuart, aka Bloody Mary, opposite Margot Robbie’s Elizabeth I of England. Saoirse reunited with Greta Gerwig on her movie adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women in 2019. She played the role of Jo March, one of the four March sisters alongside Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen. Little Women earned Saoirse her fourth Academy Award nomination.
Recently, Saoirse starred in Ammonite (2020) opposite Kate Winslet and then had a small role in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch (2021). She made her West End debut in 2021, playing Lady Macbeth in the revival of The Tragedy of Macbeth. Her latest movie was the comedy mystery See How They Run (2022) with Sam Rockwell. This year, in 2023, we are excited to see Ronan star in the upcoming sci-fi psychological thriller movie Foe, based on Ian Reid’s 2018 novel of the same name.
The Movies That Shaped Saoirse Ronan’s Career
Of all these movies Saoirse Ronan starred in as a lead character or a supporting one, there are ones that shaped her career and made her the established actress she is today. Some movies started her career, some earned her awards, and some made her an audience favourite. Let’s take a deeper look into some of Saoirse’s best movies.
Release date: 23 January 2008
Genre: Drama/ Romance
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightly, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan
Atonement is based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. It tells the story of Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), the 13-year-old daughter of the wealthy Tallis family and the consequences of an action she took over six decades. One day, Briony accidentally comes across her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightly) and Robbie (James McAvoy), the housekeeper’s son having sex and thinks her sister is being raped.
With that situation in mind and a letter she found that Robbie wrote to Cecilia about his undying love for her, Briony testifies to her entire family that Robbie is a rapist. Despite Cecilia swearing this isn’t true, Robbie ends up in prison for four years. The story follows the 18-year-old Briony as she discovers the truth and consequences of her false accusations on both Robbie’s and her sister’s lives.
Atonement was Saoirse Ronan’s first critically acclaimed movie and arguably her breakout role. It earned her her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. At just 13 years old, director Joe Wright argues that Saoirse’s incredible acting abilities have shaped the movie into what it became at the end.
The Lovely Bones
Release date: 24 March 2010
Genre: Supernatural/ Thriller
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, and Susan Sarandon
Another book-to-movie adaptation, The Lovely Bones, gave Saoirse Ronan her first major leading role. Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lovely Bones tells the story of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who was murdered and is now living in the in-between, looking over her family. Susie follows a boy she has a crush on into a “hideout” he built.
Susie grows uncomfortable when he attempts to grab her and tries to leave, but he murders her. Throughout the movie, we investigate Susie’s death and how Susie refuses to let go of her old life and move on to heaven.
The Lovely Bones received mixed reviews, from some enjoying it to some being critical of the movie’s message. It didn’t do very well at the box office either. However, Saoirse Ronan received much praise for her role and acting. Sukhdev Sandhu of The Daily Telegraph said she was the only positive thing about the movie. Her role earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Release date: 6 November 2015
Director: John Crowley
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleeson
Brooklyn tells a beautiful tale of the life of an immigrant. Ellis, played by Saoirse Ronan, is an Irish woman living in a small town in Ireland with her mother and older sister. She struggles to find a full-time job in her town, so her sister arranges for her to move to Brooklyn and work there. When Ellis first moves to the US, she struggles to fit in and finds herself missing her home, that is, until she starts attending night classes at the university and meets a handsome Italian-American young man named Tony.
As Ellis starts to feel at home in New York, her sister suddenly dies, and Ellis returns to Ireland to help her mother. While in Ireland, Ellis starts to question her life in Brooklyn and thinks about staying, but through a series of events, she eventually decides to leave back to Brooklyn and build her own life.
Saoirse’s acting in Brooklyn is very gentle, and her character is relatable to anyone with immigration experience. Her role in the movie earned her a well-deserved second Oscar nomination and Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG nominations.
Release date: 10 November 2017
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein, and Timothée Chalamet
It’s probably the most beautiful and truthful coming-of-age story you will ever see. Lady Bird tells the story of Christine, aka Lady Bird, the main character played by Saoirse Ronan, as she navigates her final year of high school, tries to get into a good college, fights with her mom, and gets disappointed in her love life. Lady Bird is a dramatic teenager on the cusp of adulthood who dreams of attending a prestigious school on the East Coast despite her family’s financial struggle. Lady Bird believes the world revolves around her and her hopes and dreams.
Throughout the movie, she abandons her best friends to hang out with the popular kids until they also abandon her. She breaks up with her boyfriend, who she discovers is gay and dates another popular boy until he lies to her. But the most strained relationship she has throughout the movie is with her mother, who refuses to see her daughter as an adult.
Every viewer of Lady Bird will find something of their life in the film’s storyline. It’s a magnificent film that gained raving reviews and critical acclaim. The movie earned Saoirse Ronan her third Oscar nomination in 2018.
Release date: 25 December 2019
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, and Timothée Chalamet
Adapted from Louisa May Allcott’s best-selling classic American novel, Little Women was one of Saoirse Ronan’s latest and most successful movies. It tells the well-known story of the March sisters: Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, through two timelines, the past and the present. Jo March, played by Ronan, is the second eldest daughter of the March family. She dreams of becoming an author, while each of her sisters has their own dreams. Meg wants to be an actress, Amy an artist, and Beth a musician.
In the past timeline, we follow the sisters as they meet Laurie, a wealthy neighbour’s nephew who instantly becomes their friend. They live a wonderful, carefree life until the youngest sister, Beth, gets sick with Scarlet Fever. In the present timeline, Jo works as a governess in New York when she hears Beth is sick again and might be dying. She hurries back home to face the life she left behind.
There are no words that describe Little Women. It’s a beautiful story of family, sisterhood, first love, and heartbreak. Saoirse Ronan campaigned to play the role of Jo March, and she did it more than justice under the guidance of Greta Gerwig. Jo earned Saoirse her fourth Oscar nomination and several others, including a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination.
Only 29 years old, Saoirse Ronan already has an incredible and versatile acting career that many well-established actors only wish to have. We cannot wait to see what she has planned next as she blesses the world with more movies. We hope it doesn’t take the Academy too long to award her with her well-deserved Oscar—we don’t want another Leo Dicaprio situation in our hands.
I Could Never Be Your Woman
as Izzie Mensforth
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
as Celia Hardwick
as Briony Tallis (aged 13)
Death Defying Acts
as Benji McGarvie
City of Ember
as Lina Mayfleet
The Lovely Bones
as Susie Salmon
as Arrietty (voice)
The Way Back
as Irena Zielińska
Violet & Daisy
as Eleanor Webb
as Melanie Stryder / Wanderer "Wanda"
How I Live Now
Justin and the Knights of Valour
as Talia (voice)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Muppets Most Wanted
as Leia Dargon
Weepah Way for Now
as Emily (voice)
as Éilis Lacey
as Marguerite Gachet (voice)
as Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson
On Chesil Beach
as Florence Ponting
as Nina Zarechnaya
Mary Queen of Scots
as Mary, Queen of Scots
as Josephine "Jo" March
as Charlotte Murchison
The French Dispatch
as Junkie / Showgirl #1
See How They Run
as Constable Stalker
Saoirse Una Ronan
April 12, 1994 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Critics' Choice Awards
Best Young Performer
The Lovely Bones (2009)
Golden Globe Awards
Best Actress –Comedy or Musical
Lady Bird (2017)
British Academy Film Awards
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Lady Bird (2017)
Little Women (2019)