See Anya Taylor-Joy’s Best Performance on Streaming Before Furiosa

By Jason Collins | Published

George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, just premiered in the US, and the movie quickly rose to universal acclaim with a 90 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer and with many calling Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance phenomenal—ourselves included. However, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga isn’t the only top-notch performance Anya Taylor-Joy delivered during her career, and we’d like to suggest seeing one of her best performances in the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

The Queen’s Gambit

netflix queen's gambit

Anya Taylor-Joy began her career performing small television roles before she landed her lead role in 2015’s The Witch. However, the role that provided her with international recognition for her acting skills was her portrayal of Beth Harmon in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.

The Queen’s Gambit is a 2020 coming-of-age period drama streaming miniseries based on the same-name novel by Walter Tevis, whose title refers to a chess opening move, and now stands as one of the best, if not the best, performances of Anya Taylor-Joy.

A Critical Darling

Queen's Gambit Netflix

The series begins in the mid-1950s and proceeds in the 1960s, following the story of Beth Harmon, a fictional American chess prodigy on her rise to the top of the chess world while also struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

The series received critical acclaim and plenty of positive praise from the chess community for its accurate descriptions of high-level play, and it had become one of Netflix’s most-watched miniseries available on the platform—it even increased the public interest in the game. And all of that, thanks to Anya Taylor-Joy’s stellar performance.

Taylor-Joy’s Portrayal Was Superb

netflix queen's gambit anya taylor-joy

Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Beth Harmon is what gave the series its “hook” because Beth is a compelling figure who’s both strong and incredibly gifted, but like many ordinary humans, fights everyday battles with her own demons—which makes this character feel much more real, and not just someone made up.

This inspired us, the viewers, to sympathize with the character, her struggles, and her desires, which is what also binds us to be emotionally invested in every chess match she plays during the course of the series.

Harmon Is An Amazing Character

anya taylor-joy

But chess sounds boring, right? Well, not so much when Anya Taylor-Joy plays on the small screen, as her overall delivery makes even something as boring as chess suspenseful and exciting even for those who don’t know the names of the pieces.

That could stem from the fact that, according to Anya Taylor-Joy, Beth Harmon is the closest to her of all the characters she ever played, and that connection between the actress and the character is what inspired such a fantastic performance that’s probably only paralleled by Heath Ledger’s Joker. Truly magnificent.

Stream It Now

In the end, The Queen’s Gambit isn’t just a boring TV show about a woman being talented in a rather the rather boring world of boardgame strategy—instead, it’s a story about a lonely young woman who, despite her immense talents, is still looking for her own place in this world and under the blue sky.

\Before you go and watch Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, we strongly suggest watching The Queen’s Gambit—it will make you appreciate Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance in the former that much more. For those interested, Anya Taylor-Joy’s The Queen’s Gambit is currently streaming on Netflix.