While I have forgiven the transgression of helping Lucas mess with our collective childhoods by being the in the Star War prequels, I still think she is a great actress.
I love the trajectory of her career. She has been in small dramedies like Anywhere But Here, Where the Heart Is, and Zach Braff's Garden State. She has also done diverse comedies like Mars Attacks! (remember that?) and the recent No Strings Attached.
While a generation will think of her as Padme from Star Wars, there are two movies that stand out for me. The more recent V for Vendetta was a great performance. However, if I have to pick a single performance that is her shining moment: the breakout role of Mathilda from Leon, the Professional.
At 13, she held her own in an action/drama against Jean Reno and Gary Oldman! You knew from that performance alone that she would eventually get an Oscar, right?
So which is your epitome role for Portman?