In the back half of the 2010s and into 2020, there haven’t been many young actors more impressive than Anya Taylor-Joy. At just 25 years of age, she has already worked in some highly-touted movies and series as her star continues to rise. Even when she’s in something that doesn’t get great reviews, her performance is usually praised.
Thanks to the release of a new Netflix series that she’s starring in, Taylor-Joy’s popularity has never been higher. That makes it an ideal time to look back at the best work of her career, at least according to what the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes have to say.
Updated on October 29th, 2021 by Kevin Pantoja: 2020 proved to be the biggest year of Anya Talyor-Joy’s already outstanding career so far. Although the disappointing The New Mutants was released, she also was the star of a well-received Netflix miniseries that won an Emmy and earned her a Golden Globe for her performance. So far, Taylor-Joy has followed that with another huge film in 2021, starring for the talented and versatile director Edgar Wright. The best movies and TV shows of her career showcase that this is truly a special actor, especially when judged by the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
11 Radioactive (2019) – 63%
If there’s one way to ensure that a young actor will continue to improve, it’s by having them work with experienced ones. That’s what made this film so valuable, as Anya Taylor-Joy got to learn from Rosamund Pike, who portrays the lead character in this story about Marie Curie.
For those unaware, Curie made history as the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, which she did twice and in two different scientific fields. Originally shown at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and released digitally on Amazon Prime in 2020, Radioactive also features Taylor-Joy as Irene Curie, Marie’s daughter.
10 Last Night In Soho (2021) – 75%
One of the most intriguing movie releases of 2021 was Last Night in Soho. The combination of the unique premise, the talented people in the cast and crew, and the mind-blowing trailer made fans everywhere pretty exciting for it all. Although it only just hit theaters, reviews for it are already strong.
The plot centers on a young, aspiring fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie) who gets transported into the past where she finds herself in the body of a singer she idolizes named Sadie (Taylor-Joy). While living out that unexpected life, dangerous things with serious consequences begin to unfold., Among the aspects praised was the performance of Taylor-Joy.
9 The Miniaturist (2017) – 76%
- Stream On PBS Masterpiece
Anya Taylor-Joy has done quite well in period pieces so far in her career. Among them was The Miniaturist, which premiered at the tail end of 2017 and took place during the 17th Century. This miniseries was based on a 2014 novel of the same name.
Airing on BBC One and then PBS’s Masterpiece in the United States, The Miniaturist focuses on Petronella Oortman (Taylor-Joy). She moves in with her new husband and his family but receives a cold welcome. Things get weird when she hires a mysterious miniaturist to furnish her dollhouse and it ends up foreshadowing her own fate.
8 Split (2016) – 77%
This was the film that turned out to be most people’s introduction to Anya Taylor-Joy. It also happened to mark a return to form for filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. Hitting theaters in 2016, Split was an unexpected sequel to Unbreakable and is viewed as the first supervillain origin film.
Split follows a man named Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), who has over 20 different personalities, some of which are violent. He kidnaps three teenage girls in this psychological thriller, one of them being Taylor-Joy’s Casey Cooke. Taylor-Joy got the chance to showcase her acting chops, playing up her traumatic past and becoming a “final girl.” She reprised the role in the sequel, Glass.
7 Barry (2016) – 80%
It’s a shame that more people didn’t watch Barry. Released at seemingly the perfect time in 2016, this biographical film tells the story of a young Barack Obama in his Columbia University days before becoming the President of the United States.
Devon Terrell was praised for his performance as the titular character. The story also didn’t shy away from some of the discrimination that Obama faced while growing up. Taylor-Joy had a supporting role as Charlotte Baughman, an ex-girlfriend of Obama who tries to get him to open up.
6 Emma. (2020) – 87%
Jane Austen novels have been adapted into movies and shows on several occasions. Emma has plenty of them, with four feature films, eight television series, and five theater works based on the tale. The most recent take came in 2020 with the directorial debut of Autumn de Wilde.
Titled Emma., this version sees Anya Taylor-Joy take on the lead role of Emma Woodhouse, a woman in 1800s England who tends to meddle in the romantic lives of her friends. Reviews said that other adaptations were more faithful but this was entertaining and Taylor-Joy was heavily praised.
5 Thoroughbreds (2017) – 87%
This might not rank as her best film on Rotten Tomatoes but there’s a good chance that this is the greatest performance put on by Anya Taylor-Joy in a movie so far. Widely released in early 2018, Thoroughbreds sees two teens scheme to murder one of their stepfathers.
Taylor-Joy was outstanding as Lily Reynolds, an overly emotional girl who wants to be rid of her stepdad. Olivia Cooke plays her emotionless friend Amanda who helps her with the deed, while Anton Yelchin portrays a drug dealer mixed up with them in what would be his final role.
4 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019) – 88%
In 1982, Jim Henson and Frank Oz worked together to deliver The Dark Crystal to audiences everywhere. The puppet-animated fantasy film remains a classic and fans enjoyed it so much that Netflix released a highly-anticipated prequel series based on it.
That was The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, which hit the streaming service in 2019. It follows three Gelflings who attempt to unite their clans and save their planet. Taylor-Joy voices Brea, one of the main Gelflings. The cast also includes Taron Egerton, Nathalie Emmanuel, Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Hamill, and more.
3 The Witch (2015) – 90%
- Stream On Showtime, Fubo, and Kanopy
Although Split was the film that made Anya Taylor-Joy known to a wide audience, it was 2015’s The Witch that was her breakout. It was the actor’s first true role, as her only prior film work came in a deleted scene in the previous year’s Vampire Academy.
Directed by Robert Eggers, The Witch is a slow-burn supernatural horror set in the 1630s that chills viewers to the bone. Taylor-Joy plays Thomasin, a girl who sees her baby brother disappear while playing a game with him. When it’s revealed that he was taken by a witch, it takes a huge toll on the entire family.
2 Peaky Blinders (2013-) – 92%
BBC’s Peaky Blinders is one of those shows that has been receiving tremendous praise from critics and those who have seen it since the day it first premiered back in 2013. Set in England, the story follows the Shelby crime family following the events of the First World War.
The incredible cast features the likes of Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Sophie Rundle, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory, and Sam Claflin. Anya Taylor-Joy joined the cast for Peaky Blinders season 5, playing Gina Gray, the American wife of Michael Gray (Finn Cole).
1 The Queen’s Gambit (2020) – 96%
There are some critics who called The Queen’s Gambit the best thing released on television in the year 2020. That’s not far-fetched considering how spectacular this miniseries is. Based on a novel written by Walter Tevis in 1983, this series tells the story of an orphan who becomes a chess prodigy.
Set in the 1960s, this prodigy finds that her skills come with a price. Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the lead role of Beth Harmon and nails every aspect. In fact, the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes specifies that her performance is “magnetic.” Combine it with great period details and strong writing and it’s a winning formula, making it understandable why it racked up the awards.
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