Anya-Taylor Joy. The name has become synonymous with Hollywood royalty. The odd-looking girl (by her own admission), who made her debut with the scintillating “The Witch,” has come a long way. Anya has gradually grown into a mature, major star, and so has her body of work. Her reputation for playing offbeat characters in darkish settings and macabre backgrounds is firmly cemented.

Filmmakers now look to her as an avenue to build projects around. Financiers are willing to get behind projects that Anya is a part of, which is a huge accomplishment in just nearly a decade. For netizens, she is their favorite thing to see in a movie. Anya has exhibited an exemplary range in her short career. From dramas to horrors to comedies, she has a turn in almost all primary genres. “Furiosa” (2024) might be her crowning moment, and in lieu of it, here is a list of the 10 Best Anya-Taylor Joy Movie Performances.

10. Marrowbone (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%
Starring: George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth
Directed By: Sergio G. Sánchez

Sergio Sanchez, who helms “Marrowbone,” really impresses with his style and the personality he lends to the film’s narrative. Although there was plenty of room for him to make the script a slow burn, he entices you with culturally infused sensibilities that elevate its appeal. The Spanish love affair for carving family dramas within the setup of horror tropes continues with “Marrowbone.” Anya plays Allie, a sweet-hearted outsider whose presence in the lives of the Marrowbone family is a boon. Her extended role gives Anya the license to explore a character that is not larger than life. Allie is a boring public librarian who lacks cinematic flair.

She becomes the backbone of Sanchez’s storytelling and is a reliable outlet for him to look for emotional stability. When everything around her goes haywire, Anya’s Allie must be the responsible one, softening the garish impact of the chaos on the viewer. Marrowbone, though, comes up some way short of titillating you with its genre derivativeness, dampening the extremely original story that had plenty of promise.

Related – 8 Films to watch if you like Where the Crawdads Sing

9. Barry (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Starring: Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfman
Directed By: Vikram Gandhi
Anya-Taylor Joy Movies Ranked - Barry

Makers of “Barry” were perhaps interested in only bringing a one-dimensional portrait of the former American president to life. Make no mistake, “Barry” is not an autobiographical account of Obama’s tenure and how he made history. It focuses majorly on his formative years in college, where politics was the last thing on his mind. Quite in tradition with the initial chapters of his autobiographical book.

“Barry” measures Obama’s conflicted worldview about race relations and its transformation over the years. The exploration is more representational—you see Obama as the summation of racial identity, which is not necessarily a deal breaker. This choice makes watching the film a dull, inanimate experience. Still, it is watchable if you can water down your expectations and prepare yourself for an academic storytelling effort.

8. Split (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

Anya-Taylor Joy Movies Ranked - Split

This was perhaps the first acquaintance with Anya for most viewers my age. M. Night Shyamalan’s unexpected sequel to Unbreakable became a sleeper hit. It came without notice but left a strong impression. James McAvoy satisfies one of the most complex roles to have ever crossed an actor’s table with unmatched showmanship. It definitely holds a special place in every cinemagoer’s heart who enjoyed “Split” because of McAvoy. Anya Taylor plays an equally important Casey Cooke, who sort of becomes the Beast’s wielder. She has the most screen time with McAvoy and mostly has a single button on Casey.

We did not see the best of Anya in this film, but that was mainly down to the job’s requirements. As a film, “Split” will entertain both those who know its backstory and those who don’t. It is not Shyamalan’s best work either, but it has enough legs to last its runtime.

Related – Every M. Night Shyamalan Movie Ranked

7. Last Night on Soho (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp
Directed By: Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright’s Peppy City film has a murderous twist from the past that haunts its protagonist, up-and-coming fashion student Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie). The setting is a decrypt bedsit owned by old Ms. Collins (Diana Rigg) in Soho, which becomes Eloise’s new home after she finds herself not fitting in with the crowd at college. Eloise’s fascination with the fashion of the ‘60s turns into a haunting reality as she finds out her ability to transport into those times in her sleep. Those intrusions present a compelling case of murder to Eloise, who gallops from one end of the city to another to find answers.

“Last Night in Soho” is a deeply enjoyable film. It also gives Anya the platform to play the femme fatale kind of character she is perfectly suited to breathe life into but has been made a pulp horror film queen instead. She looks ravishing in the lovely costume designs by Odile Mireaux, looking like a yesteryear star still trapped in the glory of her times. Even though McKenzie does more of the heavy lifting by becoming the anchor that Wright needed to ground his film, Anya is the real star who adds the X-factor.

Related: All Edgar Wright Movies Ranked

6. Thoroughbreds (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks
Directed By: Cory Finley

Anya-Taylor Joy Movies Ranked - Thoroughbreds

In this dark web of lies, betrayal, and parody, Anya plays the good girl for once. Her character, Lily, is the perfect girlfriend/wife material and personifies the good, the acceptable, and the morally whitewashed in cinema. She has done everything right in her life. All the choices she has made have been tutored by rigorous routine and adherence to the old ideals. Amanda, played by Olivia Cooke, has a different path to adolescence. Her indifferent attitude, which she credits to an unnamed mental disorder, places her in stark contrast to Lily. But the path of the two former friends converges to give them an opportunity to discover themselves for what they are, all in the backdrop of a murderous plot.

Thoroughbreds’ conniving and scheming protagonists are kids, after all. That is what gives Cole Finley’s narrative an amateurish innocence and guilt. It lives mostly at the surface but does not make tangible differences in either Amanda or Lily’s lives. Both characters make bizarre choices that might not make sense but put them on a new path in life. There are more moments of tension and anxiousness because of its plot structure and strict three-act setup. It is arguably one of the most awe-inspiring teen thriller films in recent memory but still obscure enough for you to discover now.

Related: Thoroughbreds [2017] – A Deliciously Twisted Tale of Murder and Deep-Seated Apathy

5. Emma. (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth
Directed By: Autumn de Wilde

“Emma” is streaming on Netflix and revolves around the titular character’s attempts to influence others around her at a confusing age in her life. Jane Austen’s subtle world-building in the literary source of the same name finds its way into Autumn Wilde’s rich direction. The talented cast made up of inspiring and rising actors flourishes under the debutant’s commitment to the story. Anya and Mia Goth are a wonderful pair to watch together. Despite playing healthy rivals, they bring a sense of joy and warmth to their relationship.

Anya once again dons the hat to play an unlikable character whose perceived repulsiveness only stems from the variables in her life she cannot control. She is an unmistakably Jane Austen creation, marrying the offbeat girlish charms and warmth with existential dread and longing for self-service. For fans of colorful, fancy-sounding accents in a plush period drama, “Emma” is the perfect film to sink your teeth in.

4. The Menu (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau
Directed By: Mark Mylod

This new age of horror films is quickly taking over. Fresh ideas, inspired execution, and top-notch acting are essential elements whose coagulation is important to mark the venture’s success. Mark Mylod’s avant-garde, darkly humorous, and insanely serious “The Menu” fulfills all those requirements and more. “Eat the Rich” is literally the film’s mojo that takes you by surprise with its brazenness. Mylod does not shy away from showing off his themes and worldviews in the high-concept narrative delivered with a derisive, uncompromising presentation that will excite purists to no end.

As bizarre as the setting and events of the film are, Mylod has carefully assembled each frame, sentence, and impact in his narrative. The storytelling is so detail-oriented and refined you would think you’re having one of Chef Slowik’s special offerings. Anya plays Margot, perhaps the only dark horse amongst the slaughtering pigs, who is uniquely capable of winning Slowik’s approval and saving the other rich diners. Right from the first frame, Mylod uses her physicality to position her as the center of attraction in every frame.

Her distinguishing presence also boils down to how her character is written. She truly owns the third act, where her actions will keep you on edge and provoke amazement at how she manages everything. This might be one of Anya’s best performances in her short-lived career and a kinetic precursor for things to come.

Related: The Menu (2022) Review: An Exquisitely Served Twisted Satire

3. The Northman (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke
Directed By: Robert Eggers

Robert Eggers and mystical folklore tales are a love affair that must never end. “The Northman” is the latest cinematic marvel born out of this partnership. It stars Alexander Skarsgard as Amleth, a prince in exile plotting revenge against his uncle condemned by the Norns of Fate to complete his pledge of avenging his father. Other stars attached to the film include Anya Taylor Joy, Claes Bang, and Nicole Kidman. The prominent theme that throws the plot of “The Northman” into action is the choice between vengeance and making a new start.

Amleth faces this confrontation while on the ship with Olga. The two have successfully escaped Fjoolnir’s men, but despite that, Amleth decides to pursue his destiny. Much like his previous venture, “The Lighthouse,” Eggers creates an immersive experience that has all the makings of a classic. All film components—light, sound, and story—in “The Northman” are drenched in Viking flavor. Eggers nails his beautiful and meticulous details, vividly bringing out the legends of the culture he represents.

Related – 6 Films to Watch if You Like The Northman

2. The Witch (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
Directed By: Robert Eggers

Anya-Taylor Joy Movies Ranked - The Witch

“The Witch” was Robert Egeers’ much-talked-about debut as a filmmaker. Having the benefit of hindsight, one must revisit this work in the light of Eggers’ understanding of cinema and what impassions him as an artist. Shot exclusively in natural light, the unconventional modern horror mantlepiece boasts a striking visual appeal. The grim weather and barren terrain of New England house a family banished from their village facing an unknown and vile evil that lurks in the woods just beyond their idyllic farm life. He ditches orthodox filmmaking conventions to adopt newer standards that are more visceral and raw and drown you with its endless measure of expectation. Eggers carefully weighs his choices to balance out his narrative’s fierce evil potency and the tender dissection of a loving family.

Anya is the focal point for his frontal exposition. She is our guiding light and the reference point for experiencing the horrors unfolding at the farm. The slow, gradual corruption of the human soul gives the actress all possible time to adjust her scales and pull you out of your seat. His ascetic style of shooting compels your attendance with the character at the moment, bringing an insatiable urgency to his narration.

Related to Anya-Taylor Joy Movies Ranked: Top 10 Witch Movies to watch

1. Furiosa (2024)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke

Directed by: George Miller

Anya Taylor-Joy_Furiosa (2024)

While Anya Taylor-Joy has effortlessly played lead characters with aplomb, George Miller’s “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” presents an extra challenge: to embody the road warrior role that has already become an action-movie icon. As Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Charlize Theron offers an intense physical performance, and in a few moments, the character’s hard exterior comes down to reveal her tragic and burdensome past. Furiosa is Theron’s most challenging and career-defining role after Aileen Wuornos in “Monster” (2003). 

So, it’s exciting to see Anya Taylor-Joy rise to that challenge and infuse Furiosa with more layers to make us understand how the wasteland or its swaggering men aren’t a match for the woman’s indomitable spirit. Like Theron, Anya has only a few lines of dialogue in the movie, and it’s all for the best since witnessing how the actor conveys determination, brazenness, and grief, you’d feel the words would only lessen those deeply felt emotions and gestures. Perhaps Anya Taylor-Joy was let down by a narrative that isn’t as robust as “Fury Road.” Yet you cannot help but get swept up by her spectacular screen presence. Finally, a special mention should be made to Alyla Browne’s performance, who plays the younger version of Furiosa.

Related to Anya Taylor-Joy Movies Ranked: All Mad Max Movies (Including Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga) Ranked

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