Hailee Steinfeld is arguably one of the hardest working multi-hyphenates working in Hollywood. Just last year in the fall of 2021, she had a trio of hit TV shows with the final season of Apple TV+’s Dickinson and the first seasons of Netflix’s Arcane and Disney+’s Hawkeye. On top of that, this summer she released her newest single “Coast,” featuring Anderson.Paak.
As Steinfeld travels across mediums, it’s easy to forget that she got her big break in film. She’s led indie comedies, blockbusters, and even has an Academy Award nomination. She will return to the big screen later next year in the long-awaited sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
10 Pitch Perfect 2 – 65%
Pitch Perfect 2 introduces Steinfeld to the franchise. She plays Emily Junk, a freshman songwriter who follows her mother’s footsteps and joins the Bellas. It all culminates in her singing one of the best songs in the Pitch Perfect trilogy, “Flashlight.”
Steinfeld shines as she imbues Emily with effervescent joy, and it’s here that she announces to the world that she is a triple threat. Shortly after the film’s release, she signed a record deal and began her parallel career as a pop star. By the end of 2015, she would release her first EP, Haiz.
9 The Keeping Room – 74%
Set in the tail-end of the Civil War, The Keeping Room follows three women trying to keep their household standing now that all of their men have been lost to the war. In the film, Steinfeld plays Louise, the younger teenage sister to Britt Marling’s Augusta.
This indie drama is one of the more often forgotten of Steinfeld’s works. However – released years after her breakout in True Grit, and long before her starring turn in Apple TV+ series Dickinson –The Keeping Room is another opportunity for fans itching to see more of Steinfeld in a Civil War era period piece.
8 Between Two Ferns: The Movie – 74%
In Between Two Ferns: The Movie, the long-form adaptation of Zach Galifinakis’s popular satirical web series, Zach Galifinakis (Zach Galifinakis) travels around collecting celebrity interviews in hopes of saving his reputation. The movie features numerous celebrity cameos including Hailee Steinfeld, Keanu Reeves, Brie Larson, and Peter Dinklage.
Along with the release of the movie, an episode of Between Two Ferns was released online featuring an entire interview with Steinfeld. Here, she plays the straight man to Galifinakis’s dismissive host. Thanks to Galifinakis’s offbeat sense of humor and timing, it’s one of the odder and sillier projects in Steinfeld’s oeuvre.
7 The Homesman – 80%
The Homesman, written and directed by its star Tommy Lee Jones, is an adaptation of Glendon Swarthout’s novel of the same name. Steinfeld has a minor role in the film, popping up in the end as maid Tabitha Hutchinson.
Although Steinfeld only has a minor role in the film, it’s worth noting that she is a small part of an impressive ensemble of A-list actors. In addition to writer/director/star Tommy Lee Jones, Steinfeld’s co-stars include Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, James Spader, Jesse Plemons, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Lithgow.
6 Begin Again – 83%
The musical dramedy Begin Again follows two lost souls – a recently cheated on singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley’s Gretta) and a washed-up music exec (Mark Ruffalo’s Dan) – as they put together an artistically authentic album devoid of corporate cynicism.
As Violet, Dan’s rebellious daughter who grows tired of her father’s drunken mishaps, Begin Again is another terrific entry in Steinfeld’s collection of rebellious teen performances. Additionally, this is our first tease of what’s to come as the film’s climax features Violet hopping on guitar and joining the band in the song “Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home”.
5 Bumblebee – 91%
Travis Knight’s Transformers prequel/spinoff Bumblebee takes the franchise to the 80s where the titular Autobot crosses paths with Charlie, a young woman in the need of a friend as she carries the pain of her father’s death.
By this point in her career, Steinfeld has proven to be the go-to for angsty teen roles. What sets this film apart is her ability to nail the role while acting beside a CGI robot. Whether it’s a loud action scene or an emotional revelation, she doesn’t crumble under the blockbuster’s gargantuan size.
4 When Marnie Was There – 92%
The Studio Ghibli drama, When Marnie Was There, tells the tale of a young girl, Anna, who spends the summer befriending the mysterious Marnie. The film is one of Ghibli’s best, especially of those not directed by Miyazaki. It would go on to be Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature.
For the English dub of the film, Steinfeld takes over the role of Anna from Japanese actress Sara Takatsuki. The film is Steinfeld’s first foray into voice acting, her first steps that would lead to critically acclaimed work in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Netflix’s Arcane.
3 The Edge of Seventeen – 94%
Kelly Fremon Craig’s coming-of-age dramedy The Edge of Seventeen is one of the best teen comedies of the last decade. The film follows Nadine, an angsty teen whose life starts spiraling out of control after discovering her brother and best friend have begun dating.
In a role that garnered her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, the entire film rests on Steinfeld’s shoulders. She displays a wit and longing seemingly directly lifted from John Hughes classics. It is all layered under an unruly rebellion as the film chronicles Nadine unraveling self-destruction.
2 True Grit – 95%
Shortly after winning Best Picture for No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers crafted another one of their best films by revisiting the Western genre in their remake of John Wayne classic, True Grit.
In her first major film role, Steinfeld steals the show. She handles the Coens’ acrobatic tempo with ease, charging head-to-head with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Her Mattie Ross brings the film’s titular grit to the story while also serving as the emotional core. She is arguably the true lead of the film. For her performance, Steinfeld received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
1 Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – 97%
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces the movie-going public to Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino NYC teen who develops the famous spidey powers. Things are complicated when universes collide. It is up to Miles to take a leap of faith and save the day.
Steinfeld lends her voice to Spider-Gwen, a Spider-Person from an alternate universe where Peter Parker is killed, and Gwen Stacey takes up the Spider-Mantle. In the film, she dazzles by exuding heroic confidence during action sequences and disarming charm during flirtatious moments with Shameik Moore’s Miles.
Next: 5 Ways Hailee Steinfeld’s Best Performance Is In Dickinson (& 5 Why It’s Still The Edge Of Seventeen)