Jessica Chastain is one of the greatest working actors in the movie industry. She has had quite the experience as she exploded into her big break in 2011, playing in the movies “Take Shelter”, “The Tree of Life”, and “The Help.” TechTrends decided to make a list of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time.
Jessica Chastain won the Oscar, which was a long time coming, for Best Actress in the Academy Award for her performance in The Eye of Tammy Faye in 2021. This was her third nomination, with the other two coming for the movie The Help and Zero Dark Thirty. In the last decade, she has received a lot of critical acclaim for a variety of different roles. She also said that her world changed when she was taken to see her first play at the age of 7. It was then that she realized acting was “who she was”. Chastain is an actress at the top of her game, and we decided to celebrate her impressive and varied career. Here are the best must-see Jessica Chastain performances. Let’s get to it without further ado.
Best Jessica Chastain Movies of All Time
Jessica Chastain has made a name for herself as one of the most powerful actresses in the movie industry. Before showing off her talent as a lead actor, she proved her skills in high-profile supporting roles. She is able to add intensity and complexity to her roles and has an interest in trying new roles genres. Her filmography varies in terms of genres, and we made a list of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time. The list ranked based on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
13. Mama 2013
- Genre: Horror/Thriller
- Director: Andrés Muschietti
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Nélisse, Megan Charpentier, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jane Moffat
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 63%, IMDb 6.2
One of the best Jessica Chastain movies ever is the 2013 horror Mama, where she performs as Annabel. She is in a rock band, but she agrees to take care of her boyfriend’s nieces named Victoria and Lily. The kids were found after five years of going missing in a remote cabin. Their conditions are deplorable, and Jeffrey and Annabel take them into custody. To show the grunge in her role, they give Chastain’s character black hair, smokey eyes, and tattoos. She slowly builds a motherly instinct toward the children. Annabel never even dreamed of being a mother, but she is thrown into this unexpected maternal role. Things begin to take a turn when a mysterious unseen entity, who they call Mama, comes along.
Read more: Best Horror Movies of All Time
12. The Eyes of Tammy Faye 2021
- Genre: Drama/Romance
- Director: Michael Showalter
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Mark Wystrach
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 68%, IMDb 6.6
Jessica Chastain plays the role of Tammy Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Together with her husband Jim, played by Andrew Garfield, they built one of the largest empires in the history of televangelism. However, a series of scandals come out and threaten to ruin not only their relationship but also their reputation. Chastain was in the makeup chair for hours to get the transformation into the televangelist. She even won the Academy Award for best lead actress for this role. This is indeed one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time, so make sure to add it to your watch list.
Read more: Best Drama Movies of All Time
11. Crimson Peak 2015
- Genre: Horror/Fantasy
- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 73%, IMDb 6.5
The movie Crimson Peak is about a house that is possessed by its own living spirit. The leading character is Mia Wasikowska, and she plays the role of a writer who falls in love with British royalty. Chastain portrays the villainous role of the lead male character’s sister. She is eager for new love. Crimson Peak is one of the best Jessica Chastain films ever. After playing in horror movies like Mama and It Chapter Two, Chastain showed that she could be the protagonist fighting evil. Her character’s name is Lucille Sharpe. The movie is a mixture of romance and horror, and the director does a masterpiece in bringing his favorite genre to life.
10. Interstellar 2014
- Genre: Sci-fi/Adventure
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Timothee Chalamet, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Mackenzie Foy, Michael Caine, Matt Damon
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 73%, IMDb 8.6
Interstellar is a space epic directed by Christopher Nolan. Moreover, the imagery is breathtaking to look at, and the scientific theories are brought to life in the movie. Although Jessica Chastain’s character comes later in the movie, it is exciting to see her in one of Nolan’s greatest movies ever. Matthew McConaughey is the main character of the movie, and he is an astronaut. Chastain plays her daughter’s role as an adult. She is able to accomplish a lot, notwithstanding the fact that her father left them when she was a child to go on a mission through a wormhole in space. Her character is Murphy Cooper, who works for the NASA project, but she is dealing with unspeakable grief of his father’s departure.
She proved to the audience that she is capable of playing different roles in a variety of movie genres when she appeared in this sci-fi movie about space and time. Interstellar is one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time.
Read more: Best Timothee Chalamet Movies of All Time
9. Miss Sloane 2016
- Genre: Thriller/Drama
- Director: John Madden
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Jake Lacy
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 76%, IMDb 7.5
Jessica Chastain played in this political drama called Miss Sloane, which mentions some of the very hot topics. She portrays the role of one of Washington’s most formidable lobbyists, who sees that her career is at risk. When she goes against her most powerful opponent yet, her career faces more threats. Chastain’s performance in the movie is remarkable and makes it entertaining. Miss Sloane also gives the audience an edge-of-the-seat experience. It is one of Jessica Chastain’s greatest movie roles that you do not want to miss.
8. The Help 2011
- Genre: Drama/Romance
- Director: Tate Taylor
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Lowell
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 76%, IMDb 8.1
The Help, which is based on a bestselling novel written by Kathryn Stockett, is set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi. Moreover, it follows the story of a journalist and two black maids. It focuses on the trials and tribulations of African-American maids in a community that was tight-knit. The maids are Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson. At first, they are not willing to share their experience. However, they change their mind and talk to writer Skeeter Phelan, played by Emma Stone. Her character is hoping to expose the racism they struggle with as they work with white families where they are categorized as The Help, also the title of the movie. Chastain also shines in the supporting role and is hilarious and charming.
This was one of her breakout roles, and she received her first Oscar nomination for her scene-stealing display in the movie. The Help is a must-watch among the best Jessica Chastain films of all time.
Read more: Best Emma Stone Movies of All Time
7. Molly’s Game 2017
- Genre: Drama/Crime
- Director: Aaron Sorkin
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Michael Cera, Kevin Costner, Jeremy Strong, Joe Keery
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 82%, IMDb 7.4
Aaron Sorkin had his directorial debut in the movie Molly’s Game, which is a true story. Jessica Chastain plays the role of Molly Bloom, who is an ex-Olympic athlete. However, her reputation is mostly surrounding her high-stakes poker games for high-rollers and celebrities. As the lead character of the movie, Chastain pulls off an amazing performance. She was able to bring humor, vulnerability, and strength to the role, helping the audience root for her easily. Sorkin’s script is as strong and smart as always, proving once again how skilled he is behind the camera. Add this to your watch list as it is one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time.
6. The Tree of Life 2011
- Genre: Drama/Fantasy
- Director: Terrence Malick
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84%, IMDb 6.8
Another one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time is The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick. This movie is a meditation on the good and evil nature. The movie revolves around the story of a young couple, played by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, who are raising their children. One of the kids will grow up to be Sean Penn, who has resentment toward Pitt’s character for his childhood. Pitt portrays a character with both strength and paternal love. Moreover, it has elaborated the concept of human existence. However, most of the movie happens in a town in Texas in the 1960s. Chastain’s performance as Malick is impactful, and she makes the most of her limited lines. She was able to communicate amazingly through her facial expressions and physical actions.
Read more: Best Brad Pitt Movies of All Time
5. A Most Violent Year 2014
- Genre: Crime/Thriller
- Director: C. Chandor
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, David Oyelowo, Albert Brooks, Christopher Abbott
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 90%, IMDb 7
The year 1981 was New York City’s most crime-ridden year, and the movie refers to that year. Jessica Chastain portrays the role of an ambitious businessman’s tough wife. His man’s hitting oil trucks were hijacked, and she wants him to fight back. She feels like her husband is not strong enough to go against these challenges. The amazing actress got nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for this movie. A Most Violent Year is one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time. Oscar Isaac and Chastain gave incredible performances in this captivating story.
4. Zero Dark Thirty 2012
- Genre: War/Thriller
- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stars: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 91%, IMDb 7.4
Another one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time is Zero Dark Thirty, where she portrays one of her biggest leading characters to date. Her performance in this political thriller got her an Oscar nomination. The movie revolves around the manhunt of Osama Bin Laden after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Chastain portrays the role of an officer in the hunt. As a CIA operative, she struggles to endure the inner moral conflict of doing the interrogation methods while searching for Bin Laden’s whereabouts for several years. If you are interested in this genre, we definitely recommend this movie.
3. The Martian 2015
- Genre: Sci-fi/Adventure
- Director: Ridley Scott
- Star: Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Mackenzie Davis, Kate Mara, Naomi Scott, Donald Glover
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 91%, IMDb 8
The Martian is another one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time. Matt Damon plays the role of astronaut Mark Watney in this distant future. Watney and his team are on Mars for an expedition, and because of the dust storm, the crew had to evacuate. Then, Watney is left behind due to the situation under the crew’s control. With nothing to be done, Watney is presumed dead. However, he actually survived, and he has to depend on his knowledge to keep going on Mars. Jessica Chastain plays the role of the commander of the mission that saw Damon’s character left on the planet as she thought he was killed. It all happens as a group of extraordinary scientists work together to find a mission to bring him back before he runs out of time.
Read more: Best Matt Damon Movies of All Time
2. Coriolanus 2011
- Genre: Drama/War
- Director: Ralph Fiennes
- Star: Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Jesson
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 92%, IMDb 6.1
Ralph Fiennes was one of the actors in the movie Coriolanus, and he also directed it. The film is an adaptation of Brad’s plays. Fiennes plays the role of a warrior who wants to take revenge on the city of Rome as he has been banished from it. Jessica Chastain is his wife, and her performance and quiet work was praised by the critics. Fiennes gave her some dialogue-less scenes in order to flesh out her role. This is indeed one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time.
1. Take Shelter 2011
- Genre: Thriller/Drama
- Director: Jeff Nichols
- Star: Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon, Tova Stewart, Shea Whigham
- Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 92%, IMDb 7.3
The year 2011 gave Jessica Chastain her breakthrough as she starred in four important key roles in great movies and received a lot of critical acclaim for her type of work. In the movie Take Shelter, she portrays the role of the wife of a man who starts to have apocalyptic visions. However, it is not clear whether his visions are really about the future or if he is simply going mad. Michael Shannon plays the role of the husband in this amazing drama. While he tries to protect his family, Chastain’s character has a hard time coming to terms with what he says and sees him as a threat. This is another one of the best Jessica Chastain movies of all time.