The Best Anya Taylor-Joy Movies To Date

Anya Taylor-Joy may not be a globally known name despite a strong track-record, and I would put her in the same category as Carey Mulligan for having made alot of films but for most people, unrecogisable. Carey Mulligan even admits that she is not often recognised in public.

Anya Taylor-Joy is quite possibly one of the best actresses of her generation. At only twenty-six years old, she’s managed to give some of the most captivating performances of the last decade. Her latest film, The Menu, is currently in theaters, and looks to add to her ever-growing list of fantastic performances.

From comedic period pieces, to indie-horror and dark thrillers, Taylor-Joy has dabbled in a bit of everything over her seven-year career. Consistently the best part of any film she’s in, a viewer simply can’t have a bad time watching her take over the screen. No matter the mood one might be in, there’s certainly a movie in her filmography to fit the occasion.

‘The Witch’ (2015)

The Witch was the debut hit from director Robert Eggers, and one of many great horror films from A24. Told in true folklore fashion, it tells the story of a family’s run-in with Satan, going under the moniker Black Phillip, on their New England country farm. Taylor-Joy plays the lead role of Thomasin, finding herself wrongfully accused of witchcraft.

With production beginning the day after her eighteenth birthday, this 2015 film was Taylor-Joy’s breakout role. It’s hard to believe this is the first film role for the young actor, as the brilliantly passive performance feels like a feat only a veteran performer could pull off this well. It marked an exceptionally promising start to what was bound to be a strong career.

‘Thoroughbreds’ (2017)

Thoroughbreds is a tense thriller that flew under the radar in 2017. Starring alongside Olivia Cooke, Taylor-Joy’s character is Lily, who reconnects with her apathetic friend Amanda (Cooke). When the two come together over their disdain for Lily’s stepfather, they form a plot to kill the man.

RELATED: 10 Best Olivia Cooke Projects To Watch After ‘House of the Dragon’

To this day, this film stands as Anya Taylor-Joy’s greatest performance. Her soft-on-the-outside, overly cheerful portrayal of Lily pairs perfectly with Cooke’s emotionless Amanda, but it’s Taylor-Joy that truly shines. Watching the layers of her performance peel back as Lily’s intentions are revealed helps cement the actor as a true master of her craft.

‘Emma’ (2020)

Emma is based on the 1815 novel of the same name, with Taylor-Joy playing the title character. She’s a young, elegant woman obsessed with the romantic affairs of her social circle. She sees herself as a matchmaker, constantly searching for love for others, ignoring the quest of fulfilling her own desires.

This 2020 Jane Austen adaptation finds Taylor-Joy at the helm of a romantic period satire. The portrait she constructs of the perfectly royal young woman is mesmerizing, and watching her emotions burst from the seams as it’s all stripped away in the final act is beautiful. If Taylor-Joy was born to play a role, it’d be this one.

‘Split’ (2016)

Split represented a comeback for filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. Taylor-Joy plays Casey, a girl who is, along with her two friends, abducted by Kevin (James McAvoy), a troubled man with Dissociative Identity Disorder. While a few of the man’s alters are innocent and kind, a couple of them are quite terrifying, and Casey must figure out how to play them against each other.

Along with McAvoy, Taylor-Joy leads this film. She plays Casey as both brave and extremely intelligent, communicating with Kevin’s different alters with brilliant effectiveness. She instills a strong sense of courage into the character, making her inevitable triumph over the monstrous McAvoy feel immensely genuine.

‘Last Night in Soho’ (2021)

Edgar Wright‘s latest film shows Taylor-Joy playing opposite Thomasin McKenzie in a twisted, time-warping paranormal horror movie. When McKenzie’s Eloise finds that she can travel back in time, she starts to experience disturbing events from the past, all from the viewpoint of Taylor-Joy’s Sandie.

Taylor-Joy’s performance of the fame-seeking Sandie is dazzling, and she really finds her place in 1960s London. It’s a role that could’ve easily been nothing without proper casting, but Taylor-Joy takes the character to tremendous heights, providing a level of depth that even the script didn’t contain.

‘The Northman’ (2022)

Taylor-Joy teamed back up with director Robert Eggers for this high-budget Viking epic. Inspired by Norse mythology, The Northman tells the tale of Amleth, a Viking set on revenge. It doesn’t hold back on the bloodshed, violently rampaging through its most memorable sequences.

Thrown in the midst of an all-star cast (featuring the likes of Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Defoe), Taylor-Joy still manages to stick out among the legends beside her. She produces a much-needed presence for the film, her character Olga displaying a brilliant form of intellect amid a sea of raging masculinity.

‘The New Mutants’ (2020)

The New Mutants takes the supernatural elements of the X-Men franchise and twists them together with the coming-of-age genre. Taylor-Joy plays one of a group of kids who discover they possess remarkable abilities, having to learn not only how to control their newfound powers, but how to move on and break free from their past.

While it may not be the most successful installment in the Marvel franchise, Taylor-Joy is without a doubt the shining star of the film. In a film full of awkward and tedious sequences, she makes every scene she’s in a joy to watch. If there were any reason to check out this underperforming film, it’d be to appreciate Taylor-Joy’s delectable performance.

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ (2020)

While not necessarily a film, this miniseries allows Taylor-Joy to dive deeper into a character than she ever has before. She portrays chess prodigy Beth Harmon, a woman who takes over the male-dominated world of the game while living with a drug addiction. It’s the greatest piece of chess entertainment ever created, taking a game of the mind and turning it into a thrilling spectacle.

Taylor-Joy plays Beth through several stages of her life, exhibiting a broad range of acting ability within the same character. The entire series relies on her to carry it, and she does far more than enough to keep viewers engaged. Her portrait of a young chess master is delightful, but her depiction of a person living with addiction takes this performance to the award-winning level that it is.

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