Anya Taylor-Joy's Best Movies and TV Shows, Ranked by Metacritic

'Emma,' 'The Queen's Gambit,' 'The Northman' — period pieces have proved very important to Anya Taylor-Joy's career. But those are not all! Discover her best films and TV shows, ranked by Metascore.
by Katie Song — 

Anya Taylor-Joy

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Born in 1996 in Miami, Fla., Anya Taylor-Joy lived with her family in Buenos Aires until the age of six, when she moved to London. Initially trained in dance and ballet, she left school when she was 16 and was later scouted as a model at age 17. She was removed from the final cut of her first acting role in the 2014 dark comedy film Vampire Academy, so her breakthrough role didn't come until a little later, when she played the young Puritan Thomasin in Robert Eggers' 2015 period horror film The Witch. Taylor-Joy is perhaps best known for her roles in the television series Peaky Blinders, the period dramedy Emma, and the Netflix miniseries The Queen's Gambit.

For her role as the titular character in Emma, Taylor-Joy received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. For The Queen's Gambit, she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television film, as well as the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and the SAG Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries.

Most recently, Taylor-Joy played a prominent role in Edgar Wright's psychological thriller Last Night in Soho alongside Thomasin McKenzie and Matt Smith, and she also appears in the critically acclaimed Viking epic The Northman, which marks the second collaboration between her and Eggers.

Here, Metacritic highlights the top 10 movies and TV shows Taylor-Joy has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

The Northman

Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of Eggers and Vikings
Where to watch: In theaters
Runtime: 136 minutes

Eggers writes, produces, and directs The Northman, which tells the tale of a young Viking prince named Amleth (Oscar Novak in childhood, Alexander Skarsgård in adulthood) who witnesses the murder of his father just as he is about to become a man. Twenty years later, the prince is all grown up and able to fulfill the vow he made of avenging his father's death, and he embarks on a journey to do that, and also save his mother. The film is as brutal as it is epic and features a star-studded cast, including Nicole KidmanEthan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe, just to name a few. Taylor-Joy appears in the film as sorceress Olga of the Birch Forest.

"A truly distinctive epic, blending brutal violence, powerhouse performances and otherworldly imagery into its volcanic rampage of revenge. Unmissable." — Matt Maytum, Total Film

The Witch

Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of period dramas and goats
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 92 minutes

Set in 1630 New England, The Witch follows a Puritan family who is banished from their town and left to survive on their own. Panic ensues when the youngest son suddenly vanishes one day. Thomasin (Taylor-Joy), the oldest daughter, was the one watching the child when he disappeared, leaving the family suspicious of her identity and true motives amid their deep-rooted fear of witchcraft. She is a young woman backed into a corner in this period horror film that keeps audiences at the edge of their seats.

"A hugely assured debut, The Witch is a beautiful, bleak brainwork that will haunt you for days." — Chris Hewitt, Empire

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Metascore: 82
Best for: Fans of The Dark Crystaland fantasy television
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 1

A prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance explores the world of Thra and its inhabitants, including the three Gelflings Rian (Taron Egerton), Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Brea (Taylor-Joy). The trio journeys together on a quest to unite the Gelfling clans to save Thra from a destructive force called the Darkening and rise against the evil Skeksis. Like the original, this fantasy series uses puppeteered animatronics, maintaining the franchise's iconic (and at times dark) imagery and offering audiences a magical world to behold.

"Age of Resistance is like an immense, 10-hour magic show, engrossing down to the very last wondrous detail. " — Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture


Metascore: 80
Best for: Fans of Sherlock and British dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, ,

Set in the 1960s in Oxford, England, Endeavour follows the early career of Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans), who leaves Oxford University without finishing his degree to instead work as a cipher clerk in the Royal Corps of Signals. Eventually, he joins the Carshall-Newtown Police to later become Inspector Morse. This series is the prequel and third installment of the Inspector Morse trilogy and is rumored to be continuing into a ninth season. In the second episode of Season 2, titled "Nocturne," Taylor-Joy guest-stars as Philippa Collins-Davidson.

"If you love English mysteries, and love the old Inspector Morse, you will love young inspector Morse more." — Linda Stasi, New York Post

The Queen's Gambit

Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of period dramas and chess
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 1

Based on the 1983 Walter Tevis novel of the same name, The Queen's Gambit tells the story of Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy), a fictional chess prodigy and orphan who aims to become an elite chess player. The series begins in 1950s Lexington, Ky. when eight-year-old Beth loses her mother in a car crash. Sent to an orphanage, Beth is taught chess by the building's custodian while also developing an addiction for the daily pills administered to the children. As she grows up and begins to rise to the top of her game, her addictions begins to best her, leaving Beth to weigh her biggest chess match against her greatest vices. This coming-of-age drama won 11 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited Series, marking the first time a show on a streaming service won the category.

"It flows swiftly and elegantly, recovering from a few stumbles with grace and aplomb. Its final conclusions have a striking power." — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Peaky Blinders

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of Cillian Murphy and gangster dramas
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 6

Set in post-World War II Birmingham, Peaky Blinders follows Thomas Shelby (Murphy) and his brothers as they return home after serving in the British Army. As leader of the gang known as the Peaky Blinders and in control of the city, Thomas' ambitions yearn for more. When a crate of guns goes missing, Thomas realizes that the future of his family and their power can be found in the establishment of a business, legitimate or not. Meanwhile, a new inspector is sent to Belfast, set on ridding Britain of its crime. Taylor-Joy joins the series in its fifth season as Gina Gray, the manipulative wife of Michael Gray (Finn Cole), a cousin of Thomas'.

"Peaky Blinders remains one of the most entertaining shows on the box." — Abby Robinson, Radio Times


Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of dark comedies and frenemy complexes
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , Vudu
Runtime: 92 minutes

Thoroughbreds chronicles the friendship of childhood friends Lily (Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke), who are reunited after years of growing apart. Once good friends, Lily is now a popular upper-class boarding school student with an impressive internship lined up, while Amanda is a witty and unfeeling teen in the process of becoming a social outcast. Despite seeming unalike, the two rejoin forces to help the other carry out dark and deceptive plans that are each in their best interests.

"Thoroughbreds doesn't look or sound anything like other teen-centric movies, but this is hardly a surface-only character study." — Peter Debruge, Variety

Barry (2016)

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of biopics and Barack Obama
Where to watch: Netflix
Runtime: 104 minutes

Barry chronicles the life of a 20-year-old Barack Obama, who's commonly known as Barry, as he arrives in New York City to attend Columbia University. Set in 1981, Barry has just transferred from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif. In class, he is eager and engaged, participating in class debates about society and philosophy. Everywhere else, Barry struggles to feel that he is accepted. Depicting Barry's struggles with staying connected to his mother, his estranged father, and his peers, Barry not only tells the story of a future president, but also one of a struggling college student who yearns to find his place in the world. Taylor-Joy plays Charlotte Baughman, a fictional character based on Obama's college girlfriends.

"Barry's questions are powerful whether asked by a future president or a future janitor. The script is great no matter who it's about." — Amy Nicholson, MTV News


Metascore: 71
Best for: Fans of Jane Austen and romantic comedies
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 124 minutes

Based on the 1815 Austen novel of the same name, Emma tells the story of Emma Woodhouse (Taylor-Joy), a young and beautiful woman who takes it upon herself to advise on the ongoings of the various relationships of her friends and family. Set in Regency-era England, this 2020 period romantic comedy follows Emma as she meddles in the lives of those closest to her in often misguided and unapproved fashion. The film received two Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 93rd Academy Awards and was celebrated as a successful and fresh take on the Austen classic.

"This film is both a loving homage to Austen and a celebration of fashion and decorative arts." — Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

The Miniaturist

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of period dramas and miniature makers
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes,
Seasons: 1

Adapted from the Jessie Burton novel of the same name, The Miniaturist follows Petronella "Nella" Oortman (Taylor-Joy) as she moves in with her new husband in his Amsterdam home. Set in 17th-century Netherlands, this BBC miniseries chronicles Nella's struggles to feel welcomed by her husband and his sister, who also lives with them. Provided with a mysterious empty cabinet fit for a dollhouse, Nella writes to a miniaturist to request items to fill the house, and in doing so, begins to unlock the dark secrets of her husband's past.

"An engaging and suspenseful series." — Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times