For some, the name Anya Taylor-Joy is new in television, probably brought upon by the show The Queen’s Gambit. After all, some might have just discovered her thanks to that series. However, Taylor-Joy’s career began earlier than that.
This list showcases Anya Taylor-Joy’s most memorable performances, cementing her name in the movie industry. From her first breakthrough in 2015 up to her escape out of some crazy chef’s island in 2022, this list follows the rise of Taylor-Joy while looking through her roles that made it possible. Finally, this list will show how and why she deserves to be recognized worldwide.
1. The Witch (2015)
In her late teens, Anya Taylor-Joy found her first breakthrough in the movie industry in the horror film The Witch. She played Thomasin, the teenage daughter of the family in the movie. Thomasin stood her ground despite her family accusing her of being a witch. Nevertheless, in the end, she became one.
Taylor-Joy portrayed the role of a lovable and hardworking teenage sister, something expected in the era of the movie’s setting. Despite her nailing this loving and steadfast character, Taylor-Joy also showcased that she could change characters in quick succession, and change her personality, especially in the ending where she turned into a witch. Her performance in the ending contributed to her fame, propelled by her disturbing act in the very last seconds of this film.
2. Split (2016) and Glass (2019)
The young actress starred in another horror film, Split, which was a standalone sequel to Unbreakable (2000). Taylor-Joy played Casey, one of the three teenage girls abducted by Kevin’s alternate personality. Casey was the only one among the three who survived.
Her acting was commendable, especially during the scene where Kevin broke into the three friends’ car. She exhibited what it felt like to freeze during a tense situation, moreover, for a teenager like her. Taylor-Joy would return in 2019 to reprise her role as Casey in the sequel, Glass.
3. Emma (2020)
Taylor-Joy starred in a comedy film, Emma, released a few months before the show where she would be known. She played the titular protagonist, a wealthy, beautiful girl who a local landowner was courting. After a few agreements here and there, Emma and the landowner got married.
The movie took place during Regency-era England, and the characters in the film were those in the nobility. Taylor-Joy took the spirit of a typical wealthy woman back then, timid, sometimes quiet, and reserved. Her acting also proved to be noteworthy, especially in scenes that require fast changes of emotions for the comedic effect. She could equally transition from crying to laughing to anger in a short period.
4. The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
An Anya Taylor-Joy list is not complete without any references to the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit. In this monumental show, Taylor-Joy played Beth Harmon during her journey to become one of the best chess players. Harmon did have one major flaw, though, she was very emotional and had a dependence on drugs (at some point), which effects were portrayed by Taylor-Joy naturally.
After the success of the show, it appears that Beth Harmon became Anya Taylor-Joy’s synonymous character. It is among the likes of how Rowan Atkinson is synonymous with Mr. Bean or Daniel Radcliffe with Harry Potter. The Queen’s Gambit put the spotlight on Taylor-Joy, making her more known than ever.
The Queen’s Gambit also had implications for the chess community as well. Conveniently released during the quarantine, the show introduced the world to chess and removed the stigma that chess was more male-inclined. Chess.com, a popular website, experienced a sign-up volume five times higher than usual, brought upon by the public’s discovery and interest in the game of chess. Taylor-Joy won a few awards, such as a Golden Globe for her performance in The Queen’s Gambit.
5. The Northman (2022)
The actress returned for another Robert Eggers film, The Northman. Eggers also directed another film on this list, The Witch (2015). This time, Taylor-Joy was not on the set of a horror movie but more on an epic adventure one.
She played the Slavic sorceress Olga, whom the main character, Amleth, met on a slave boat. They joined arms to overthrow Fjölnir, Amleth’s bastard uncle, as an act of revenge because the uncle killed Amleth’s father. Later on in the film, she bore Amleth’s twins, one of whom was prophesized to become a ruler someday.
6. The Menu (2022)
Anya Taylor-Joy made another appearance in the horror film The Menu. The artist played Margot (later Erin) as she left an island owned by a vengeful chef. Erin then managed to be spared by the chef after sympathizing with his experiences and gaining his trust. She was an intelligent character. She traversed her way into the chef’s heart, which eventually led her to the island’s exit. Her portrayal of this character earned her a Golden Globe nomination.