Xuenou > Movies > Every Andrew Garfield Performance, Ranked
Every Andrew Garfield Performance, Ranked
You will shed tears. You will see bare booty.

BBC 2

Remember those high school days when the history teacher would pull down the projector screen (or wheel in the TV set), dim the lights and pop on something mindless and vaguely educational during which you’d take the best nap of your life? You can actually recreate that feeling with Simon Schama’s Power of Art. Andrew Garfield portrays Boy with a Basket of Fruit in the Caravaggio episode, and boy, is he holding that basket of fruit… With maybe just two lines in the whole thing, even donning multiple fantastic costumes and a haughty, vaguely more British British accent, this performance is nothing to interrupt your nap over. —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Prime Video. 

26. Doctor Who (2007) — Frank

BBC

A young Andrew Garfield’s short stint on Doctor Who is low-budget, living proof that if your fake southern accent is really, really bad right now, there’s still hope for you. What else can be said about this performance, beyond that it’s as mediocre as expected given Doctor Who standards? In Andy’s defense, Doctor Who is pretty much the Brits’ equivalent of Law & Order, meaning that you’re practically required to do a two-episode stint before they let you go on to bigger, Dalek-free things. —Danica Creahan

Watch it on HBO Max. 

25. Freezing (2007) — Kit

BBC

Another of Andrew Garfield’s early British television bit roles. He’s in one episode of the comedic miniseries playing a wacky sci-fi author looking for a publisher. He’s got a mullet. He sips out of a straw noisily. He cares about the future not the past. Not a lot to work with BUT I will say this is a rare non-depressing, assless role. ALSO this is a series in which Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern (aka Downton Abbey‘s Lord and Lady Grantham) play a married couple. Had this show not happened, it is likely we would have had a different pairing for Robert and Cora. It’s just a shame Andrew Garfield didn’t show up to Downton as a second footman, local diary farmer, or Titanic-surviving imposter. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on YouTube. 

24. Mumbo Jumbo (2005 short film) — Simmo

Hermit & Company Films

Paranoia, Islamophobia, and powdered soup. That’s the cliff notes version of this  early, extremely English Garfield project in which little Andy is easily the best part, but, like his character in Mumbo Jumbo, that just isn’t saying much. Three teens hole up in a house with a sad excuse for rations and the intention of kidnapping their postman — who they falsely presume is Arab. Obviously, this plan goes awry. Was it worth the 10-minute run-time to see Simmo arrive with a bag of loose meat and porn, and later, pop up to exclaim “goddamn gingers!”? Not particularly. Yet another one of Andy’s deep cuts that doesn’t need to be revisited (unless you’ve exhausted the other options on this list). —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Vimeo. 

23. Air (2009 short film) — Tom

Qoob

If you ever find yourself hiking in the Texas wilderness, keep an eye out for a thirsty kid and a young Andrew Garfield. Air is 18 minutes of Andrew Garfield being basically himself as he treks along a Texas trail. He comes across a stray child, generously offers him roughly half of his water supply and discusses fossils with him at length as they stroll together for some time. Then, the kid takes off into the trees, and poor Tom is left riddled with worry for the small boy. Made up of two plot twists you’ll likely see coming and Andrew repeatedly pronouncing the word “ranch” in an American accent (derogatory), it’s a half-decent Garfield deep-cut if you’re really in the market for one. —Danica Creahan

Watch it on YouTube. 

22. Trial & Retribution (2007) — Martin Douglas

ITV

BOY OH BOY is Andrew working hard here. He is squeezing every possible drop of juice from his minuscule role as the witness to a murder in this British crime drama. He pops up in one episode in Season 10 as the boy who finds a body, and he is HAMMING IT UP. He’s panting. He’s rolling around on the ground. He’s yelping. And in standard Andrew Garfield fashion, the role is endlessly depressing. Not only is he witnessing a rape and murder, but he is hiding in some kind of sewer because his dad is abusive. He’s doing a lot with a little here, but perhaps too much? —Matthew Huff

Watch it on Prime Video. 

21. Sugar Rush (2005) — Tom

Channel 4

Spoiler alert for Sugar Rush

This charming coming-of-age drama series features Andrew as a semi-vulnerable and entirely adorable gawky teen who knocks down entire medicine cabinets, accidentally brushes his teeth with hair removal cream and cannot for the life of him take a hint. The show follows Kim, who is down bad for her new bestie Sugar and therefore struggling with her sexuality. Tom is her next door neighbor and very casual stalker with a cute little dog who winds up slaughtered for the sake of the plot. Despite his general awkwardness Tom really gets around in the show, almost sleeping with the titular Sugar before actually sleeping with the still-definitely-gay-but-feeling-experimental Kim — who most definitely is responsible for his dog’s death, but I digress. He dances in his underwear (no ass though) and cries about love to his dad. All in all, the first season of Sugar Rush is a sweet, simple, and mildly entertaining time, and for a refreshing change, it probably won’t make you cry! —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Channel 4. 

20. I’m Here (2010 short film) — Sheldon

Absolut Vodka

FINALLY! A fun movie on Andrew Garfield’s filmography! He’s voicing a cute little robot. It was sponsored by Absolut Vodka. The costumes were designed by the same people who did Daft Punk’s heads. It’s based on a children’s book for god’s sake! It must be a charming little comedy!

Oh…

Wait…

Nevermind, it’s based on The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, the most depressing children’s book ever written. And it’s directed by Spike Jonze, the man who somehow managed to make Where the Wild Things Are sad. Andrew Garfield is here voicing a robot who falls in love with another robot (who is a careless klutz) and just keeps giving parts of his body to her (including his ass), until he is just a head. A bit hard to judge Garfield’s acting here as he’s just providing the sad robot voice, but he does a good job. Maybe Absolut sponsored this film because you needed a handle of vodka to forget how damn depressing it is. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on YouTube. 

19. Swinging (2005) — Various Roles

Channel 5

Of Andrew Garfield’s early supporting television roles, this is by far the strongest, perhaps because it’s a rare straight forward comedic performance. He plays a high school student who is repeatedly propositioned by his thirsty art teacher in this sketch show. He and Clare Wille have a lot of fun repartee, and their scenes are highly watchable. Whenever Garfield does comedy (in a conventional way, not in a surrealist Mainstream/Silver Lake way), it lands, which makes me beg the question of why doesn’t he do it more? Is it a desperate need for an Oscar? Is he just not being offered comedies? Does he love crying on camera so much that he refuses to be in a film that doesn’t feature that? Comedy seems like a great place to flaunt ass, so really he should be pursuing those roles harder. —Matthew Huff

Watch Andrew Garfield’s scenes on YouTube. 

18. Lions for Lambs (2007) — Todd Hayes

MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

Would Andrew Garfield’s painfully depressing filmography be complete without a movie about the war in Afghanistan? Of course not! Garfield plays a relatively small role in this mercifully short, critically reviled triptych indicting the war. It’s one third journalist Meryl Streep arguing with corrupt senator Tom Cruise. It’s one third Derek Luke and Michael Pena slowly headed to their death in the desert. And its final third is professor Robert Redford attempting to convince Andrew Garfield to try harder in college. Garfield’s Hawaiian shirt-wearing, too-cool-for-school (literally) frat bro is performed adequately given the ham-fisted dialogue. His ass is firmly planted in a chair for most his scenes, that were probably all shot back to back in a day, so it’s not his most exciting work, but he’s getting there. —Matthew Huff

Rent it on Prime Video. 

17. Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord 1974 (2009) — Eddie Dunford

IFC Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

Spoiler alert for Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord 1974

Eddie Dunford is just a hungry new reporter for The Yorkshire Post who arrives on the scene right as a little girl goes missing. After noticing a pattern of murdered or missing schoolgirls in the community, Eddie begins speaking up about the terrifying and foten unsolved incidents. Unfortunately for him, this gets him into hot water with practically everyone in town. Does the first chapter of the Red Riding trilogy sound interesting? I bet it does, it did to me as well, before I snuggled in for 1 hour and 42 minutes. But by the end of it, I was thoroughly relieved when after being repeatedly brutalized by police and forced face to face with the corpse of the girl he’s just professed his love for, Dunford dies, Thelma and Louise style. It’s not that Garfield is terrible in Red Riding, in fact, I’d say he’s unsurprisingly the best part of this Channel 4 series turned US theatrical release. It’s just that Garfield isn’t good enough to save Red Riding and after watching him save plenty of other mediocre-to-bad projects, I’m holding this one against him. I will say, judging by the amount of ass he’s giving up in this otherwise deeply depressing sort-of-film, his failure was NOT for a lack of trying. —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Prime Video. 

16. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) — Anton

Liam Daniel/Sony Pictures Classics/Courtesy Everett Collection

Andrew Garfield is not afraid to go weird. He’s repeatedly ventured into  surrealist, nonsensical dreamscape films in which he plays characters who border on the absurd. Of the three prominent examples (this along with Mainstream and Under the Silver Lake), this was the most successful in its critical and box-office reception. Perhaps some of the reason for this weird indie’s larger box office return is that Heath Ledger passed away partway through filming and so had to be replaced by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law (which honestly doesn’t even feel that weird here). Garfield has a supporting role as a member of the traveling circus troupe at the story’s center. He does a nice job and keeps up with his formidable costars, even if he’s not given the airtime he would be later in his career. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on Hulu. 

15. Hacksaw Ridge (2016) — Desmond Doss

Mark Rogers/Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection

Plenty of ass (though not Andrew’s). Plenty of misery (it’s about a deadly World War II battle). I’m not sure what is going on with the acting though. This is Mel Gibson’s return to the director’s chair after a series of derogatory comments about women, gays, Jews, and Black people along with DUIs and domestic violence charges left him largely blacklisted by Hollywood. Conservative and Catholic, Gibson opted to direct this gritty war drama about a Christian pacifist who refused to carry a weapon during World War II, but worked as a medic and saved the lives of dozens of men in battle. The film, which is certainly visually and technically impressive and scooped up six Oscar nominations and two wins, garnered Garfield his first Oscar nomination as well. The performance, however, is one of a blissfully naive, at times bordering on childish, soldier. It’s not necessarily a bad performance, and it’s certainly not muted, but it feels poorly calibrated to me, especially in the pre-battle sequences and the interactions between Doss and his wife (Teresa Palmer). Compared to the realism of Garfield’s other performances (and even the gory war scenes here), Garfield’s Doss seems to have been transplanted from another multiverse where wars are fought with a sort of Disney Channel earnestness. Do I blame Andrew Garfield for this wonky performance though? No, I do not. Three guesses as to who I blame instead? —Matthew Huff

Rent it on Prime Video. 

14. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) — Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Jamie Trueblood/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

I will shout it from the rooftops until the Tom Holland stans find a way to silence me: I have nothing but respect for MY amazing Spider-Man. Despite being the hottest and coolest of all the Peter Parkers (he skateboards and wears Thrasher shirts for Pete’s sake!), Andrew Garfield is often the most overlooked of the three web-slingers

If the hype over Spider-Man: No Way Home has taught us anything, it’s that The Amazing Spider-Man deserves a second chance. Andrew’s Peter Parker, equipped with great hair and an even better accent, plays out the standard Spider-Man origin story with ease before putting his own rom-com-esque spin on the superhero. Not that it’d be a challenge to have impeccable chemistry with the utterly crush-worthy Emma Stone, but the fact that Peter and Gwen’s connection practically outshines whatever villain they throw our way — in this case, it was Dr. Curtis Connors AKA the big scary lizard — is certainly a testament to Andrew’s performance. Maybe it’s not ideal that in The Amazing Spider-Man you prefer Peter to be out of the suit, but come on, Andy, take it off… —Danica Creahan

Rent it on Prime Video. 

13. Boy A (2007) — Jack Burridge

Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

After just a handful of small film roles, Andrew Garfield managed to snag the lead in this British drama. It’s easy to see why, as he’s captivating and mysterious in the role of a young man trying to create a new life for himself after being released from prison for a crime he committed as a child. He serves both fragile hope and and defeated misery interchangeably, and ties the whole film together. More importantly, this film started our hero’s trend of baring his rear. While the butt is not on full display (we get some blurry sex and a tub makeout though), this is certainly depressing. Children killing children with a box cutter, a graphic recounting of incestuous rape, and a “Was it a prison suicide or was he murdered by a gang of inmates?” plot line all make appearances. Oh and Andrew Garfield might be killing himself in the end? A well done film with a tremendous rookie performance, but not really an uplifting family flick (not that there are many of those on this list). —Matthew Huff

Rent it on Prime Video. 

12. 99 Homes (2014) — Dennis Nash

Hooman Bahrani/Broad Green Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

I think it really says something about Garfield’s acting chops that he can play such a morally ambiguous character and still come out the other end as my favorite part of a film. At this point you know how Andy famously LOVES a lighthearted, feel-good flick. 99 Homes is just that. 

Set in Florida during the Great Recession (already off to a great start) the film follows Dennis, a single working dad just trying to make ends meet and keep the roof he grew up in over his son and mom’s (played by the always lovely Laura Dern) heads. Unfortunately, pretty immediately the family is forcefully evicted with the help of businessman and devil incarnate himself, Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). Relegated to living in a motel already filled with families struggling after foreclosure, Dennis sets out to make enough money to get their family home back. His solution? Working for the man instrumental in their eviction, and eventually helping him evict other families, including a few he knows from his own neighborhood. 

It is a ROUGH one to watch to say the least and I would describe no part of the film as pleasant, but Andrew is definitely doing some Acting. Armed with a great accent and several bad tattoos, he portrays the panicked and conflicted Dennis with the gritty realism of someone who has actually been there (I say this as someone who actually did live in Florida during the Great Recession). What keeps this performance out of his top 10 is the simple fact that Michael Shannon and Laura Dern are just slightly outshining him, which is a real compliment to both of their performances. In good faith, I would never recommend you watch this for movie night. But if you’re looking to see some examples of Andrew’s range, add 99 Homes to the queue. —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Prime Video. 

11. Under the Silver Lake (2018) — Sam

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

Miss Ass Almighty is back! Andy G. is here to do what he does best: drop trou and weep, and he of course does both in this incomprehensible film about a conspiracy theorist hunting for a missing neighbor. You too will be crying if you survive this two plus hour long film where Garfield rattles around Los Angeles in a series of nonsensical encounters leading nowhere. Watching the film is a feat of endurance similar only to watching your friend’s one-woman experimental play about the Trump presidency. Since its dismal launch (partially due to David Robert Mitchell following his horror film It Follows with something very different), the film has attained a cult classic status (largely because people think there may be secret messages hidden in the film about secret messages). Aside from his assting (which is obviously superb), Garfield gets plenty to do here (as one does in a film that I can swear was 16 days long), but is he playing a real human being? I’m going to say no. He’s certainly flailing and shouting a whole bunch, but I’m not sure if the performance is good so much as it is loud. May the Owl’s Kiss come and kill me if I’m ever tasked with watching this again. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on Hulu. 

10. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) — Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Niko Tavernise/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

If you thought Garfield was a great Peter Parker in the first Spider-Man movie, then despite the sequels’ severe drop off in quality — which I blame on the rise of dubstep and whoever decided involving Jamie Foxx was a good idea — you’ll fall head over heels in love with him in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The writers saw what worked in the first movie, namely all the rom-com elements, and ran with it. If only they’d been able to write out the superhero vs. villain plot entirely… The Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up a vague chunk of time after the first one, with Gwen relatively over her father’s tragic death at the hands of a grotesque lizard man and Peter more racked with guilt than ever over the part he played in said death. Then, a Spider-Man super-fan falls into a pool of electric eels and becomes… electricity itself? I don’t know, if I’m being honest, that part of the film feels entirely irrelevant. 

Back to the plot: Peter and Gwen break up (again) which results in, you guessed it, Pining™ and getting to watch dear sweet Peter swing around New York looking adorably heartbroken. We get the pair reuniting in a supply closet, and by a river, and then, as Gwen tries to make her flight to leave for London — what could be more romantic than London? — We get a sweeping romantic gesture so big that half the city can see it. BRB, just going to cry a little. For a fun and lighthearted time, you could just shut the film off right then and there! Enjoy Garfield really settling into the spidey-suit and acting with every ounce of his latex-covered being. If you do decide to finish watching this one, don’t say I didn’t warn you…but enjoy Andy, in his most typical fashion, firmly cementing himself as the saddest of the Spider-Men —Danica Creahan

Rent it on Prime Video. 

9. Mainstream (2020) — Link

Lara Solanki/IFC Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

If you thought you’d seen our dear Andy do it all at this point, think again! This absolutely bizarre 2020 film comes courtesy of Gia Coppola (yes, that Coppola) and packs an absolutely wild cast. You’ve got a blond Garfield as the maniacally charming Link, paired off with the somehow still severely underrated Maya Hawke. Also Nat Wolff of the Naked Brothers Band AND 2022 It Girl Alexa Demie — there’s just so much potential here. Unfortunately, Mainstream only kind of gives you what you want from it. Sure, Andy gets nakey, runs down Hollywood Boulevard wearing nothing but a prosthetic that puts Euphoria to shame, and makes out with Maya Hawke a LOT. He also maybe does something yucky on live television… But Mainstream is just anything but. It’s an aggressively weird movie to its own detriment that is saved by, no surprise here, Andy’s downright persuasive performance (and, once again, his abundant chemistry with his costar).

Link is NOT a good guy, and he’s charming enough that he doesn’t ever have to be. When Frankie (Hawke) finds him at a mall in a mouse costume and makes him the subject of her latest YouTube pursuit (aw), you can tell right away he’s nothing but trouble. This sentiment is only further cemented after the pair, plus Frankie’s hesitant coworker, set out to build a career on YouTube. What follows is some cultural criticism that is totally valid and also very annoying, spliced with moments from Garfield that make the movie worth a watch. Come for Garfield, stay for Maya, maybe do a social media cleanse right after. —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Hulu. 

8. Breathe (2017) — Robin Cavendish

Teddy Cavendish/Bleecker Street Media/Courtesy Everett Collection

You want to see some Real Acting™? I recommend watching Andrew Garfield wordlessly and nearly motionlessly portray a father’s exuberance upon meeting his newborn son. Breathe, which somehow never made its way onto my radar despite featuring Garfield opposite the beautiful and always very British Claire Foy, tells the true story of Robin Cavendish. After contracting polio shortly after marrying his wife (cheery), Diana, Robin is paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a respirator for the rest of his life — which is originally estimated to last roughly three months. Initially unable to speak, Robin’s first real attempt at communication is a plea for death — oh, Andrew! — but with the help of his nobly determined wife, newborn baby on her hip, Robin manages to regain the most important aspects of his life. 

Most importantly, after watching his toddler son push a pram, Robin and his scientist friend, Dr Teddy Hall, came up with a wheelchair equipped with a battery powered ventilator, so he wouldn’t have to live confined to a bed. That invention ended up revolutionizing the lives of other bed and hospital-ridden polio patients at the time, and led to Robin’s ability to live a full and adventurous life with his wife and son (who, get this, grows up to produce Bridget Jones’ Diary and this very movie about his parents’ extraordinary life). Garfield gives one hell of a performance from the neck up, whether he’s making peace with impending suffocation after his dog unplugs the ventilator or spitting in a priest’s face. And, although the most common critique of this compelling story is its over-emphasis on the couple, Garfield manages to be an incredible romantic lead without ever (shockingly) taking his clothes off! —Danica Creahan

Watch it on Hulu. 

7. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021) — Jim Bakker

Daniel McFadden/Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s really a pity that most of Andrew Garfield’s acting in this biopic about famed televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker is done alongside Jessica Chastain. The woman is giving a tremendous, Oscar-winning performance and sucking up plenty of the film’s oxygen in the process, but Andrew Garfield’s corny, Midwestern charm is not something to overlook. The film is relatively pleasant for a Garfield flick (homophobia and prison time are fairly mundane in his pantheon), and he is delivering something zany, captivating, and dare I say, fun? While many of Garfield’s films are exercises in agony, everyone in Tammy Faye from Cherry Jones in her fur coat, to Vincent D’Onofrio as the mustache-twirling Jerry Falwell appears to be having a blast. The energy is infectious, and I think this film captures some of the unbridled lunacy that presides over Silver Lake and Mainstream and bottles it into something more cohesive and manageable. I think had Chastain not been such a strong contender and Garfield not already had a horse in the race, that he might have earned an Oscar nomination for this, because it certainly would have been deserved. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on HBO Max. 

6. Under the Banner of Heaven (2022) — Detective Jeb Pyre

Michelle Faye/FX

Why hello there, Brother Reader. Aren’t we just so very blessed today that Heavenly Father bestowed this wonderful police procedural upon our loyal flock? Brother Garfield has returned to television (as have most A-list actors at this point) for a prestige miniseries, this one based off of Jon Krakauer’s bestselling examination of Heather Gay’s ancestors, Mormonism, and a double murder that took place within members of the church. And let me just say I binged the freaking heck (we must keep our mouths clean) out of this! Who needs caffeine (certainly not the Mormons), when you’ve got this bonkers murder investigation to follow? 

Garfield (who is interestingly on his fourth recent project tackling religion along with Hacksaw Ridge, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Silence), plays the detective leading the investigation while undergoing his own crisis of faith. The mystery drama is fascinating in a way that makes it stand out from the slew of other murder-related projects. It’s set in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with its unique costumes, language, and rivaling sects. Garfield, while certainly the straight man in a cast of larger than life characters, does an excellent job grounding the project as a whole. And while his three other religious icons (with their doofy smiles, prosthetic chins, and patchy facial hair) are more striking, the realism here is unmatched. As a good Mormon, Andy is not showing ass here (it’s hidden behind the LDS underwear), but the television show certainly involves his trademark depressing subject matter (starting out with a dead baby). I will also say that Joseph Smith is super hot in this imho. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on Hulu. 

5. The Social Network (2010) — Eduardo Saverin

Merrick Morton/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Let’s all say this one together: Eduardo deserved better! While I know very little about the real life Saverin-Zuckerberg beef, I can say that the two takeaways from my first-ever viewing of The Social Network were poor Eduardo and also poor chicken… Andy plays Eduardo Saverin, bestie to Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg and fellow founder of Facebook who was ultimately forced out with the help of Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker. The role that resulted in Garfield becoming the dominant voice on TikTok (for like, five minutes, still impressive though) definitely delivered beyond that final fantastically quotable monologue. Andy really knows how to win over a crowd and probably could have played any one of those wannabe/future tech bros as sympathetic, but casting him as the only actually sympathetic character? Ground—and heart—breaking. In summary, he shows no ass, but a whole lot of heart. —Danica Creahan 

Watch it on Netflix. 

4. Silence (2016) — Rodrigues

Kerry Brown/Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Ah. We have at last arrived. Of all of Andrew Garfield’s depressing films, this is far and away the most miserable. Despite this being a distinctly gorgeous Martin Scorsese passion project staring Hollywood A-listers and receiving a 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, this crashed and burned at the box office, getting nowhere near recouping its budget and garnering hardly any awards. Why you ask? Because it is over three hours long and nearly every second of that is unadulterated agony. Garfield (who did intense research and prep for the role) plays a 17th century Catholic priest who travels from Portugal to the violently anti-Christian country of Japan in search of a mentor rumored to have strayed from the church. From the moment he arrives, until the film’s final moments we watch him witness dozens of local Japanese tortured and martyred for their faith and often on his behalf. They are burned alive, drowned, stabbed, crucified, beheaded, and bled out while hung upside down. Scorsese is unflinching in his depiction of this misery, and watching this film is torturous, which is the point of course. Having three hours to stagger from one ghastly horror to the next, Garfield has never been handed more to do as an actor, and he does it well. You will just be miserable watching him do it. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on Paramount+. 

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) — Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Marvel/Disney

Spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home 

Do I even have to persuade you to watch this absolute gem of a movie? I don’t think I’ve read a single word of criticism regarding Tom Holland and — big spoiler alert to anyone who hasn’t been online since December — Andrew Garfield’s third Spider-Man film. I did, however, read about the fake butt rumors. And after having had the pleasure of watching Andrew flash ass on-screen seemingly every time the opportunity presented itself, I’d argue that while the actor does boast a speculation-worthy backside, I believe him when he declared himself on Late Night with Seth Meyers to be “unmodified.” Nice try to disparage your competition though, Tom…

In what may be the greatest Spider-Man movie of all time, Tom’s Peter Parker has a freak out after his identity is exposed to the world, and so, with the disgruntled help of Doctor Strange, he casts a spell to make everyone forget his secret identity. Of course, this plan goes awry when the spell basically sends out a spidey signal to anyone from other universes — yeah, we’re talking multiverse now, people, keep up — who knows who Spider-Man is. This results in the return of plenty of my personal favorite villains from childhood including Doc Ock and Willem Dafoe’s perpetually haunting Green Goblin. The spell also gives us the gift of seeing all three Spider-Mans together at last. I didn’t know I needed to see Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland and Tobey Maguire bro out in their spidey-suits, but it turns out I really did! 

Part of what makes Spider-Man: No Way Home so compelling (despite being a Marvel movie) is that it feels like a shot at redemption for Garfield, who had his time as Spider-Man cut criminally short. He pokes fun at himself, he makes cracks about being too old for his superhero duties, he has chemistry with Zendaya that should make little Tommy a tad nervous (is that why you had to spread such disparaging ASSumptions, Tom?). He’s everything I loved him for as Peter Parker, plus more, because it feels like being one of three versions of the same superhero really freed him up to put his own spin on the character. Also Andrew cracks Tobey’s back onscreen, for that alone, you should watch this one. —Danica Creahan

Rent it on Prime Video. 

2. Never Let Me Go (2010) — Tommy D

Fox Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

UGH! I love this movie so so much! The English major in me cannot help but poet snap whenever I think about this perfect adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian romance. The casting of Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield as a love triangle of teenagers destined for tragedy is superb, and to watch Garfield’s Tommy, vacillate between the two women in the desperate hope of saving his own life will leave you weeping. (But in a beautiful, finishing-a-novel way and not in a watching-babies-being-eaten kind of way). This is Garfield’s strongest supporting role, and while Mulligan is technically the lead, he’s the one who steals the show. One scene where the pair approach an old teacher toward the end of the film is especially lovely to watch through your watering eyes. Watch it for the score, for Carey Mulligan’s sad mouth, for the way British people say “complete”, for everyone’s massive mops of hair, and for an Andrew Garfield performance so good, you’ll enjoy it stabbing you in the gut. When Nicole Kidman said, “heartbreak feels good in a place like this,” she was talking about the AMC theater screening Never Let Me Go. —Matthew Huff

Watch it on HBO Max. 

1. Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021) — Jonathan Larson

Macall Polay/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

Upon screening Tick, Tick…Boom! for the purposes of this post, my partner walked in and went “Oh come on, that’s just not fair!” before storming out to avoid having to witness Andrew Garfield’s multi talentedness on full display for two hours. I think you either love this movie for its stunning cinematography, incredible vulnerability and beautiful music, or you can’t bear to sit through it because, like my partner, you can’t accept Andy’s magnificence. I get it, he can sing, he can dance, he can act with or without clothes on! And yeah, before you ask, I do also adore Lin Manuel Miranda and I’m not ashamed to admit it… maybe don’t tell anyone though. Based on a stage musical about writing a stage musical by Jonathan Larson, Tick, Tick…Boom! touches on so many of my favorite subjects: feeling like you’re running out of time, having a tiny NYC apartment with a ton of roommates and Stephen Sondheim. But it’s Andrew Garfield, so of course Tick, Tick…Boom! will make you cry a little (or a lot) because it’s based on a (mostly) true story that we already know the tragic ending to. Although Larson will eventually go on to create the musical Rent, the bittersweetness of his success is that he won’t live to see it. The beauty of Tick, Tick…Boom! then, lies partially in the inevitability of the ending. Garfield’s performance is laden with this conflicting sadness and joy, he’s practically self-aware as he sits at that piano, narrating his life for us. His failings diluted with his impending successes, his triumphs tainted with his knowledge of how the story ends, both sentiments contributing to a truly moving movie (and a respectable play for that best actor award, we see you, future EGOT-er). —Danica Creahan  

Watch it on Netflix. 

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