Probably most known for her ability to go from America’s sweetheart to kick butt in two seconds flat, Jennifer Garner is famous for rom-com roles in films such as “13 Going On 30” and Gary Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day.” She also thrilled audiences on the small screen as Sydney Bristow on the CIA-centric 2000s show “Alias.” Or perhaps you fell in love with the actress during her stint as Elektra opposite Ben Affleck as the masked vigilante in “Daredevil.” No matter where you may know her from, the bottom line is that she has been entertaining audiences for years with her sweet smile and strength in some of the best Jennifer Garner movies of all time. Proving her versatility and talent as an actress along the way. Whether portraying a lovable and relatable protagonist or a fierce and determined heroine, Garner’s performances have made her a beloved and respected figure in the entertainment industry.
The actress, who was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in West Virginia, was originally studying chemistry at Denison University when she swiftly switched her major to theater. While there, she spent a semester studying at the National Theatre Institute and spent her breaks performing in summer stock, cleaning venues, building sets, and selling tickets. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater performance, she set out to New York City, where she landed her most significant role yet, performing as an understudy for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Soon after, Garner would get her break in the film industry, appearing in roles in “Zoya,” “Washington Square,” and “Mr. Magoo.” However, it was in the early 2000s that her career started to take off. During this time, Garner had made the move to Los Angeles and appeared in hits like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and “Pearl Harbor” before nailing the lead role in the ABC action thriller “Alias,” with the part being written with the actress in mind. Luckily, Garner continued to build a film career while appearing on the show, growing an audience and making a name for herself in the industry.
But which titles stand out when it comes to the actress’ filmography? Luckily, we at StudyFinds have researched across multiple expert sources to bring you the top five best Jennifer Garner movies of all time. Don’t agree with our list? No worries! We would love to hear from you in the comments down below.
The List: Best Jennifer Garner Movies, According to Experts
“Thirty, flirty, and thriving,” is the wish of the titular character in “13 Going on 30.” Though one must admit, 30 looks a lot less scary when you grow up to be Jennifer Garner. “Gary Winick’s ’13 Going On 30′ is a classic example of the formula that is needed to create a successful 2000s rom-com. The film’s protagonist is Jenna Rink, who makes a wish to be an adult when she finds the stresses of teenage life too much to handle. Overnight, she is magically transformed into the 30-year-old version of Jenna, played by Jennifer Garner. She then has to navigate the newfound adult world she finds herself in, making for a charming performance full of classic rom-com moments and laughs. Garner’s performance adds life to the script, and she perfectly embodies the playfulness of a young girl who abruptly finds herself living in adulthood,” says MovieWeb.
“Of course, this one is at the top of our list. Garner plays an awkward middle-schooler whose wish to be thirty comes true overnight. As you can imagine, hijinx ensues as she tries to navigate her new life and career as a teen in an adult woman’s body,” describes PureWow.
“’13 Going on 30′ does the ‘Big’ thing but gender-swaps the leads. It stars Garner as a woman who has the mind of a girl since the girl wishes she could be 30, not 13. The film starts out interesting enough, as we get to see the ‘adult world‘ through the eyes of a 13-year-old, which provides some fresh insight into it,” writes GameRanx.
A quirky and heartwarming teen comedy that took the world by storm and even picked up some award nominations (and wins) along the way! Starring an all-star cast headed by a newcomer at the time Elliot Page in the titular role. “In ‘Juno,’ teen Juno MacGuff gets pregnant and chooses to put her baby up for adoption. She decides on a failed rockstar, Mark Loring (Jason Bateman), and his wife Vanessa (Jennifer Garner), but things get complicated when Mark develops feelings for Juno,” describes Prevention.
“After Garner’s stint on ‘Alias,’ she co-starred in ‘Juno,’ a coming-of-age comedy-drama. The movie received critical praise for its depiction of its subject matter and humor. It’s a quirky, entertaining movie with a heartfelt ending, and it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay,” adds ScreenRant.
“This Diablo Cody-penned dramedy won over audiences and critics alike. The film follows the titular, wise-cracking ‘Juno’ as she grapples with an unplanned pregnancy. Jennifer Garner stars alongside Jason Bateman as a married couple hoping to adopt from the pregnant teen. Michael Cera plays Juno’s hapless baby daddy, and J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney round out the cast as her parents,” explains StyleCaster.
“Dallas Buyers Club” is about as heartbreaking as we will get on this list. In a film that shows the struggles of those affected by AIDS/HIV and the importance of allyship, Jennifer Garner brings a much-needed balance to this beautiful film. “In this heart-wrenching, Academy Award-winning drama, Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof and follows his mission to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the US to help those afflicted by the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto round out the supporting cast as a helpful ally and doctor, Dr. Eve Saks, and an HIV-positive trans woman, Rayon. Her performance here is a must-see and decidedly makes this one of Jennifer Garner’s best movies and TV shows,” notes StyleCaster.
“‘Dallas Buyers Club’ was released in 2013 and received commercial success as well as huge critical praise. Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof, who, in 1980s Texas, discovers that he has AIDS and has only 30 days to live. He refuses to give up, and along with a fellow patient (Jared Leto), he begins selling unapproved drugs to combat the virus, which have been smuggled into the US. Jennifer Garner stars as Dr. Eve Saks, who oversees both characters’ treatments,” adds MovieWeb.
“Jean-Marc Vallée’s breakout film, ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner as a team trying to help AIDS patients get the medicine they need in 1985 Dallas. McConaughey and Jared Leto’s performances were both extensively praised, but Garner brings a much-needed sense of heart to the film,” comments ComingSoon.
In this heartwarming coming-of-age story, “Love, Simon,” Jennifer Garner delivers a captivating performance as Simon’s supportive mother, Emily, who becomes a pillar of strength and acceptance in his journey towards self-discovery. “Simon Spier is a 17-year-old with an online crush and a secret he just can’t seem to admit to his friends and close family, including his mom Jennifer Garner. Love and acceptance win the day in this teen drama, but secrets and tensions grow worse before they get better,” explains SheKnows.
“In this romantic comedy, Garner plays a loving mom (and therapist) to a teen coming to terms with his sexuality. The film won the GLAAD Award for outstanding film and received recognition from the Teen Choice Awards and the MTV Movie Awards,” says PureWow.
“Coming out as a gay male in high school is still a very difficult thing for some people to do. Even with support from friends and family, it can be one of the hardest things that anyone could ever accomplish in their young lives. But for Simon, it’s even worse when he’s outed by someone that he’s been trying to help, especially since it just about loses him every friend he ever had. But as the movie goes on, he makes amends and publicly comes out to apologize for his secrets and to tell people that this is who he is. By the end, he’s regained a lot of trust and learned to just be himself and be good with it,” writes TVOvermind.
While she doesn’t have the biggest role in this Academy Award-recognized film, it certainly stayed in people minds. “Like many up-and-coming actresses at the time, Jennifer Garner had a small but memorable role as one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s love interests in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can.’ The true story follows the game of cat and mouse between notorious con man Frank Abagnale Jr. and the agent hunting him down, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks),” notes StyleCaster.
“Jennifer Garner wasn’t in the film for long, but her scene with DiCaprio is one of the few parts of the movie that I remember vividly. She plays a call girl who has a fun night with DiCaprio’s character, and I wish that she had been in the movie for longer, as I really liked her interactions with him. But I suppose that him ending up with someone else is fine as well,” says CinemaBlend.
“After seeing her on ‘Alias,’ Steven Spielberg cast Garner for a small but key role in his biopic of con man Frank Abagnale Jr. Garner plays the model and call girl Cheryl Ann, who sets out to seduce Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) when they meet at a swanky hotel but winds up as yet another of his marks. ‘Catch Me If You Can’ earned two Oscar nominations,” concludes AFrame.
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