Every so often, an actor enters an era of domination in their craft and in pop culture discourse. The man of the moment is Andrew Garfield. In 2021, he played televangelist Jim Bakker in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," made a surprise appearance in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," and received glowing reviews for headlining Lin-Manuel Miranda's "tick, tick...BOOM!" The people have spoken: the Garfieldaissance is upon us.
Garfield got his start with a handful of TV and film roles before his breakout performance in 2010's "The Social Network," followed by his tenure as Spider-Man and his Oscar-nominated performance in 2016's "Hacksaw Ridge." Nestled between those hits and the banner year he's currently having are a number of lesser-known films worth revisiting. Below are five underrated Andrew Garfield performances.
Garfield has a knack for portraying intense personalities, and the magnetic performance he delivers in Gia Coppola's otherwise lackluster film is a great example. His journey from inscrutable prankster Link to larger-than-life YouTube persona No One Special is a cautionary tale about narcissism, greed and celebrity worship in the age of social media. A bleach-blond Garfield draws you in and spits you out as none of the other characters (including cameos from real-life YouTube sensations) do.
"Under the Silver Lake" (2018)
In David Robert Mitchell's bizarre, surrealist neo-noir, a broke drifter named Sam finds purpose when his beautiful next door neighbor disappears. A series of clues takes him on a strange trip through the underside of Los Angeles and into a world populated by eccentric characters. As Sam, Garfield is the disheveled, obsessive yet steady lead anchoring this fantastical story.
Broad Green Pictures
"99 Homes" (2014)
A close-up look at the consequences of the Great Recession, "99 Homes" stars Garfield as Dennis Nash, a single father struggling to provide for his young son (Noah Lomax) and mother (Laura Dern) when his home is foreclosed on. In his desperation, he begins to work for the real estate broker (Michael Shannon) who orchestrated his eviction, putting him on the other side of the equation. Garfield's tightly-wound performance helps propel the thriller-drama along at a rapid pace.
"Never Let Me Go" (2010)
"The Social Network" may be the 2010 film Garfield is better known for, but his heartbreaking turn in "Never Let Me Go" is by far the better display of his acting abilities. In director Mark Romanek's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's dystopian novel, Garfield plays Tommy, a sensitive schoolboy who attends a boarding school for children who will grow up to become organ donors. Not only does Garfield hold his own alongside his Oscar-nominated co-stars Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan – he steals the show in a late scene that will leave you devastated.
"Boy A" (2007)
Garfield was named Best Actor at the BAFTA TV Awards for his performance in "Boy A," his very first movie role. In this film about good deeds and second chances, he plays Jack Burridge, a delivery worker who tries to start over after he's released from prison for a terrible crime he committed as a child. His secret comes to light after he saves a girl's life and the local media start digging into his past. Garfield won raves for his realistic and sympathetic portrayal of an embattled young man seeking redemption.