British-American actress Anya Taylor-Joy has starred in several widely-acclaimed films and miniseries in the brief ten years she has been in the acting industry.
She saw early success at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, being one of two actors awarded the Trophée Chopard, just two years into her career.
Most widely known for her work in The Queen’s Gambit and The Witch, Taylor-Joy has shown versatility in the roles she plays. From horror films to period dramas, she succeeds in them all.
Here are two miniseries and three movies Taylor-Joy has starred in that you won’t want to miss!
The Queen’s Gambit
The award-winning miniseries The Queen’s Gambit is a period drama that follows Elizabeth (Beth) Harmon, portrayed by Taylor-Joy, as she strives to become an elite chess player.
Taking place in the 1950s and 1960s, the series begins with Beth as a newly orphaned child who is brought to the Methuen Home for Girls, where staff administer daily tranquilizer pills to the girls. After meeting the orphanage’s custodian Mr. William Shaibel and witnessing him studying chess by himself, Beth is determined to be taught how to play.
Mr. Shaibel eventually teaches her, and with the assistance of the mind-altering tranquilizers, Beth is instantly a good player, in part due to her spatial intelligence that allows her to practice by visualizing chess games on her bedroom ceiling.
Beth grows to be dependent on pills and alcohol and has to navigate her struggle while also aspiring to become a top chess player.
With spectacular reviews and several award wins, The Queen’s Gambit might just be Taylor-Joy’s most celebrated work. She won a Golden Globe Award, Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Hollywood Critics Association Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television.
The Miniaturist is a two-part BBC and three-part PBS period thriller set in 1686, adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Jessie Burton.
The miniseries follows Nella Oortman (Taylor-Joy) as she moves to Amsterdam to meet her wealthy husband Johannes Brandt. Upon her arrival, Johannes presents Nella with a wedding gift, a miniature replica of her new home. Johannes shares that the Miniaturist will furnish the mini house to her liking. After receiving a few packages with attached notes, Nella begins to notice that the Miniaturist is either predicting the future or has firsthand knowledge of situations Nella is not yet familiar with.
Nella is encouraged by the notes to take charge of her life, and as she begins to unravel the secrets of the house, is led onto a potentially dangerous path.
Though the series wasn’t widely acclaimed, it has favorable enough reviews and is another example of Taylor-Joy exceeding in the roles she is cast in.
Marking her film debut, The Witch is a folk horror film set in 1630s New England starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the daughter of a Puritan family. Parents William and Katherine have teenager Thomasin (Taylor-Joy,) preteen Caleb, young twins Mercy and Jones, and newborn Samuel. After being banished from a Puritan settlement, the family decides to build a farm near the edge of a remote forest.
Following the disappearance of Samuel, strange and evil happenings begin to occur, and the family fears witchcraft is at play. With no other leads, William and Katherine turn on their own daughter and begin to blame Thomasin for the evil that has occurred.
The well-received film is an unsettling and slow-building horror that successfully frightens audiences and critics alike. With a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, this historical horror film acted as a stepping stone for Taylor-Joy, preparing her for her future spooky roles.
Another unsettling experience, The Menu is a comedy horror film that follows the guests of celebrity chef Julian Slowik’s remote dining experience. The mysterious Margo Mills (Taylor-Joy) is not interested in the foodie experience like her date Tyler Ledford is, and she is one of the first to question the character of Julian Slowik.
As Julian delivers ominous monologues before each dish and works with a kitchen staff that’s maybe too loyal, Margo suspects that something weird is happening, especially as she is told by Julian and staff that her name was not on the list, ergo, she wasn’t meant to be there.
The night grows more and more sinister, and Margot realizes she’s on the worst date ever.
The Menu is a horror satire that comments on extravagant and wildly expensive restaurant experiences that are accompanied by food enthusiasts with way too much money. Though the experience the guests endure is not quite laughable, the film manages to have brief comedic moments that lighten the mood (just a bit.)
Seven years after The Witch, Taylor-Joy continues to prove she has just the right energy to star in these unnerving films.
Drastically shifting gears, Taylor-Joy starred as Emma Woodhouse in the historical romantic comedy film Emma. Based on classic novelist Jane Austen’s 1815 novel of the same name, Taylor-Joy plays the wealthy and dignified young woman who lives with her father in Regency-era England.
Emma spends her time meddling in the lives of her friends and family, romantic relationships especially, though she is not in a relationship herself. Emma and those around her navigate these friendships and blossoming relationships, though things are sometimes mixed up and confused.
Though the story isn’t revolutionary, Emma is a refreshing film about the complexities of love and friendship.
Although Taylor-Joy did not win, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy for her performance in Emma.
Most recently voicing Princess Peach in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Taylor-Joy’s career is just getting started. She will also be in three upcoming movies, Laughter in the Dark, The Gorge, and Furiosa which are in pre-production, in production, and post-production respectively.
Keep an eye out in the coming months and years to see an actress as talented and versatile as Taylor-Joy continue to take on various roles.