Evan Rachel Wood's Best Movies and TV Shows, Ranked by Metacritic

As Evan Rachel Wood tells her story in 'Phoenix Rising,' we're looking back on some of the best stories she's helped tell as a performer, ranked by Metascore.

Danielle Turchiano

Evan Rachel Wood

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Although Evan Rachel Wood is an award-winning actor who has been working steadily since she was elementary-school aged, recently she has made more headlines for her advocacy work, fighting for domestic and sexual abuse survivors' rights.

In February 2018, Wood testified before a judiciary subcommittee in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act, not naming her abuser, but still describing, in vivid detail, the horror she experienced at his hand. A year later, she testified again (this time before the California Senate) to try to get the Phoenix Act passed, in order to extend the statute of limitations in domestic-violence cases. Two years after that, she publicly named her alleged abuser as rock music artist Marilyn Manson, and now she is set to open up even more details of that relationship to the world in a two-part HBO Max documentary titled Phoenix Rising.

Wood, along with producer and director Amy Berg, lays out the timeline of her life, work, and relationship in that documentary, which may cause some fans to look back on some of their favorite, and her most critically acclaimed, work in a new light, as they realize the extent of the overlap and what she was dealing with personally while working.

Wood began her professional career in the mid-1990s, but she really broke out in 2003, when she starred in a rebellious teen drama titled Thirteen. That cemented her as a serious (though young) dramatic actor, a genre she cemented a strong foothold in in both film and television. On the film side, she has appeared in everything from Practical Magic and Running with Scissors to The Wrestler, and has even voiced a character in Frozen II. On TV, she started on broadcast dramas, including guest-starring on Touched by an Angel and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and moved into bigger arcs on more prestige programming, including True Blood, Mildred Pierce, and her starring role on Westworld.

Next up, she will play Madonna in the Roku Channel's Weird Al Yankovic biopic.

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

Once and Again

Metascore: 92
Best for: Fans of blended family dramas
Where to watch: Not currently streaming
Seasons: 3

Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick's turn of the 21st century family drama centers on single mom Lily (played by Sela Ward) who enters into a relationship with single dad Rick (played by Billy Campbell) she meets at her daughter's high school. The two each have two children and complicated relationships with their ex-spouses. Although the show is about their budding romance, it also looks at the strain that puts on their children, often sharing those inner thoughts and feelings directly with the audience through stylized fourth-wall breaks that are almost documentary-style. Wood plays Jessie, Rick's teenage daughter, whose arc over the three-season run of the show includes an eating disorder, time in therapy, and discovering her queerness.

"Though the characters endure some familiar embarrassments ... the honest performances and perceptive writing will have you feeling freshly empathetic." — Terry Kelleher, People

What We Do in the Shadows

Metascore: 83
Best for: Fans of vampire tales, quirky characters and mockumentaries
Where to watch:

, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu
Seasons: 3 (so far)

In 2014, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi released an offbeat independent vampire mockumentary that followed four vampire roommates in New Zealand. In 2019, they reimagined their original idea for a comedy series still following vampire roommates (and one familiar-slash-vampire hunter), but now set in Staten Island. The centuries-old creatures still struggle to adjust to modern ways, new relationships (and changing dynamics amongst themselves), other supernatural beings, and the Vampire Council, which serves as their law and order. Wood guest-stars as Evan, the Immortal Princess of the Undead, a member of the Council, in the first season episode titled "The Trial."

"It pulsates with such an oddball sweetness that every new episode invites the unsuspecting viewer further into its moth-eaten gothic shenanigans." — Melanie McFarland, Salon

The Wrestler

Metascore: 80
Best for: Fans of relationship dramas set in the world of sports and meditations on love and adoration
Where to watch:

, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 109 minutes

Darren Aronofsky's 2008 film follows a washed-up pro wrestler named Randy (played by Mickey Rourke), who steps back into training in order to go up against his most notable opponent for a special anniversary match, despite it being against doctor's orders. While he tries to get back into his prime shape, he is also encouraged by a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) to try to better himself in other parts of his life, including reconnecting with the daughter whose life he was not apart of while she was growing up. (That daughter is played by Wood.) Both Rourke and Tomei were nominated for Oscars for their performances. It's an emotional story about chasing fame and redemption, but don't expect a typical Hollywood happy ending.

"The Wrestler is like Rocky made by the Scorsese of Mean Streets. It's the rare movie fairy tale that's also a bravura work of art." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of character-driven crime dramas about con artists
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 104 minutes

Wood stars alongside Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins as a young woman trapped in a family of con artists in this 2020 dramedy from Miranda July. While traveling for one of their cons, the family brings a young woman named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) into their scam — only she proves to be more adept at the lifestyle than they assumed. Her presence creates friction at first, but she eventually helps Wood's character break out from under her parents' thumbs and way of life.

"In the end, Kajillionaire is less about the con than it is the connection, and we're all the richer as a result." — Peter Debruge, Variety

The West Wing

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of witty banter between characters and aspirational political dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO MaxiTunes, Vudu
Seasons: 7

Aaron Sorkin's 1999-2006 political drama, set in the White House, follows the day-to-day operations of the fictitious President Jed Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) administration. Many stories are set squarely on timely political topics, such as Congressional negotiations, terrorism, election campaigning, and allegations of criminal conduct in office, but just as many also dive into the personal lives of characters. The episodes often held a mirror up to issues the country was facing at the time, although always dramatized with a hopeful bent. The dialogue-heavy show also counts Allison Janney, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Dulé Hill, and Rob Lowe among its stars. Wood guest-stars as Hogan Cregg in the Season 3 episode titled "The Black Vera Wang."

"A compelling, intelligent and wonderfully engaging drama." — Barry Garron, The Hollywood Reporter


Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of dystopian science fiction, identity mysteries, and ruminations on humanity
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Seasons: 3 (so far)

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy took the 1973 film of the same title as the basis for their futuristic sci-fi Western, but they really expanded beyond it in order to keep the show running for multiple seasons. Set in the 2050s, the world has evolved (or devolved, depending on your stance on technology and humanity) to the point where wealthy individuals can visit theme parks populated by android hosts that are programmed to let the humans live out their fantasies — even if those fantasies turn violent against the hosts. The show follows those who work at the park, as well as those who visit it, and it doesn't take long before the hosts begin to fight back. Later seasons track characters outside of the initial, titular theme park to learn more about the goal of those behind this technology in the first place, see them forge new connections and attempt to rekindle old ones, and ultimately try to save their own kind, even at the expense of others'. Wood plays Dolores, the oldest host at the park who learns the life she knew was just a story someone wrote and does everything in her power to bring down those who harmed her. She was nominated for two Emmys for her performance thus far, first in 2017 and then again in 2018. The show overall amassed 52 Emmy nominations for its first three seasons, winning seven. The show also boasts Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, and Tessa Thompson among its stars.

"What will empower the show's longevity is its metaphysical theme, the exploration of the meaning and definition of human existence." — David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle


Metascore: 70
Best for: Fans of Euphoria
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: minutes

Before Catherine Hardwicke became synonymous with the Twilight film adaptation, she directed this 2003 teen drama starring Wood and Nikki Reed as troubled middle-schoolers who get caught up in a wave of self-harm, including doing drugs and committing crimes. Hardwicke also co-wrote the movie with Reed, from stories from Reed's own adolescence. Wood plays Tracy, a former honor student who becomes friends with Reed's Evie, who introduces Tracy to all the dangerous ways of teenage rebellion. As the movie goes on, their behavior escalates, showcasing a cautionary tale. Holly Hunter also stars in the film as Tracy's mother, a performance for which she received an Oscar nomination.

"A disturbing look into the so-called Wonder Years of adolescence, with convincing, award-worthy performances from each of its key players." — Brooke Hauser, Premiere

Mildred Pierce

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of period dramas, complicated mother-daughter relationships, and female protagonists striking out on their own
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Seasons: 1

Todd Haynes and Jonathan Raymond adapted James M. Cain's 1941 novel Mildred Pierce for this 2011 HBO limited series starring Kate Winslet in the title role. The five-episode series follows Mildred as she struggles to maintain her family's status during the Great Depression by opening a restaurant as a newly single woman. She also has a contentious relationship with her scheming daughter (Wood) and a manipulative one with her former boyfriend, Monty (Guy Pearce). The series earned a whopping 21 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Pearce, and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Wood, among others. Winslet and Pearce ended up winning those awards, contributing to the series' five total Emmy wins.

"[Director Todd] Haynes has created not only a rich and nuanced vehicle for his A-list cast... he has given us a rare and valuable gift: an American melodrama about class." — Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

True Blood

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of vampire dramas, social commentary, and seemingly forbidden relationship stories
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Seasons: 7

Alan Ball's 2008-2014 supernatural drama, based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, centers on a telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) who lives in Louisiana and gets sucked into the local vampires' mission to assimilate into human society now that a synthetic brand of blood exists for them to live on. Of course, not all of the vampires are happy to live that way, and not all humans want to welcome the ones that do anyway, which ratchets up the tension. So, too, do the relationships humans and vampires begin to form, especially Sookie getting involved with Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). But the town isn't just juggling humans and vampires: There are also shapeshifters, werewolves, and witches. And as the story carries on, many of their struggles speak to very important real-world issues, such as addiction and discrimination. Wood recurs in the second, third, and fourth seasons as Sophie-Anne Leclerq, a vampire queen. The show was nominated for 16 Emmys during its run, winning once (Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series in 2009).

"Graphically sexy and scary, and often wildly funny." — Matt Roush, TV Guide Magazine

The Ides of March

Metascore: 67
Best for: Fans of character-driven political dramas 
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Starz, Vudu
Runtime: 101 minutes

George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon turned Willimon's 2008 play, Farragut North, in a 2011 political drama in which Clooney also stars as Mike Morris, a charming politician who seems to be the obvious choice for his state's nomination, but who should probably be thwarted by his junior campaign manager's indiscretions. That campaign manager, Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling), starts a relationship with an intern (played by Wood), whose father happens to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and who had a previous relationship with Mike. He also takes meetings with their opponent's team and does not disclose them, but of course the media gets ahold of the information. As Stephen works behind-the-scenes to cover up his indiscretions, the list of issues only continues to grow, but being in the always-shady world of politics, that's not as detrimental to Mike or Stephen's careers as it perhaps should be. The writing trio was nominated for adapted screenplay awards at the Oscars and the BAFTA Awards in 2012.

"This taut tale explores the dark side of American politics and leaves the viewer to wonder ... is there a bright side?" — Stephen Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer