Over the past two decades, Jennifer Garner has not only become a household name but also cemented herself as a Hollywood mainstay. But what are the best Jennifer Garner movies and tv shows? Let’s rundown what led Garner to win the hearts of critics and audiences alike.
She got her big break as CIA double agent Sydney Bristow in the seminal spy thriller, Alias, created by J.J. Abrams and lauded by Quentin Tarantino. Throughout the show’s run, Garner was nominated four times for an Emmy Award, and she went on to star in several romcoms including the classic 13 Going on 30. She also had a supporting role in the Academy Award-winning comedy Juno as a hardworking wife hoping to adopt a baby. Garner has since gained a reputation for playing tenacious yet empathetic characters ranging from a supportive mother in the coming-of-age movie Love, Simon all the way to a steadfast, dedicated doctor as she did in Dallas Buyers Club.
Here’s a definitive list of the best Jennifer Garner movies and tv shows, where she’s done everything from making her indelible mark on pop culture to showing us what it really means to embody a strong female character.
The J.J. Abrams show that started it all, Alias put Jennifer Garner on the map and remains to this day a beloved show. Alias is primarily a sci-fi spy thriller. The show follows the adventures of Sidney Bristow as she navigates treacherous waters as a double agent for both the CIA and crime syndicate SD-6. Armed with cool gadgets and hand-to-hand combat skills, Sid heads into the field and reports her findings to her handsome CIA handler, Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan).
The recently rebooted Starz cult-favorite Party Down was the launching pad for the careers of stars like Jane Lynch (Glee) and Adam Scott (Severance). Jennifer Garner joined the cast for a laugh-out-loud good time as Henry Pollard’s (Adam Scott) new love interest in the reboot.
Based on the best-selling novel by Laura Dave, this Apple TV adaptation weaves a slow-burning psychological thriller with Jennifer Garner in the lead role. Garner plays Hannah as she’s left to grapple with the aftermath of her husband’s disappearance. As the show progresses, Garner leans into her Alias roots and embraces her inner badass.
Created by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, Felicity stars Keri Russell in the titular role as she embraces the messy ups and downs of adulthood and higher education while caught in a love triangle between her former high school crush, Ben (Scott Speedman) and smoldering resident advisor, Noel (Scott Foley). In one of her first television roles, Garner plays a pivotal role as a figure from Noel’s past.
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 conman Frank Abagnale Jr. and the agent hunting him down, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks).
Since its release, 13 Going On 30 has become the ultimate chick flick. After dorky teen Jenna wishes she was “thirty, flirty, and thriving” on her birthday, she’s magically transported from the 80s into her 30-year-old body in the 2000s. It’s basically the gender-bent version of Tom Hanks’ Big, except this movie has the added bonus of a dreamy, young Mark Ruffalo as Jenna’s estranged former best friend, Matty.
This Diablo Cody-penned dramedy won over audiences and critics alike and scored the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The film follows the titular, wise-cracking Juno (Elliot Page) 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.
In this heartwrenching, Academy Award-winning drama, Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof and follows his mission to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the U.S. 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.
Édgar Ramírez and Jennifer Garner anchor this fun family comedy about a mom who realizes that she says no far too much, and decides to make a pact with her husband to have a day in which she says “yes” to everything. Mayhem and hijinks ensue as the married couple makes progressively wilder decisions. The film was a hit on Netflix, and Garner will be returning for the sequel, Yes Day 2.
Delivering a poignant portrait of a mother scorned by her cheating husband in The Tribes of Palos Verdes, Jennifer Garner is an undoubted tour-de-force. After moving to the suburbs with their two kids (played by Cody Fern and Maika Monroe), Sandy (Garner) and Phil’s (Justin) family suffers as he carries on an affair.
In this sweet, romantic comedy, Jennifer Garner plays a pivotal role in the love story of closeted gay teen Simon (Nick Robinson), who learns to be bold with his heart despite the onslaught of blackmail and self-doubt he experiences. As his mother, she reminds him he’s worthy of love like any other kid. Garner joins a stellar supporting cast that includes Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, and Keiynan Lonsdale.
Jennifer Garner plays the wife of Bryan Cranston’s Howard, an unhappy yet successful lawyer who decides to hide from his family in the attic to see what they really think about him. As he spies on them, he realizes the pain he’s inflicted on his family, namely his wife.
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