7 Roles That Made Us Appreciate Claire Foy: From 'The Crown' to 'First Man'

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Claire Foy returns this weekend in Women Talking, a hard-hitting movie about a group of women from a remote Mennonite colony who discover an appalling secret about their way of life. It's another top-notch project for the British actress, so we're taking a timely look back at some of her career highlights. 

1. Upstairs Downstairs (2012)

Foy stars in both seasons of this BBC/Masterpiece costume drama, a continuation of the iconic 1970s series. She plays Lady Persephone Towyn, the spirited and mischievous younger sister of Keeley Hawes' Lady Agnes Holland. Upstairs Downstairs is set in an old-timey London that's steeped in tradition, but Foy's character brings a dash of modernity to the proceedings.

2. Wolf Hall (2015)

Foy's first Royal role was playing Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, in this classy BBC miniseries based on Hilary Mantel's epic novel. She earned a BAFTA nomination for imbuing the 16th-century Queen with a steely dignity that she takes all the way to her execution.

3. The Crown (2016-2017)

Foy portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons of Netflix's lavish historical drama, deftly capturing the young monarch's natural reticence and growing confidence as a statesperson. She won an Emmy for her performance, then collected another for her brief cameo in a season four flashback.

4. Unsane (2018)

Foy is most associated with period roles, but she also excels in this contemporary thriller from director Steven Soderbergh. It's so contemporary, in fact, that it was shot on an iPhone. Foy plays Sawyer Valentini, a woman who is confined to a mental health facility after being traumatized by a stalker. It's a sensitive and complex performance.

5. First Man (2019)

Directed by La La Land's Damien Chazelle, this biopic tells the story of Neil Armstrong's journey toward becoming the first person to walk on the Moon. Foy co-stars as his wife Janet Armstrong, a more open and emotionally literate character than her buttoned-up husband. Bouncing nicely off Ryan Gosling, she picked up BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.

6. A Very British Scandal (2021)

Foy starred in and executive-produced this BBC/Prime Video series about a woman who was judged, cruelly, according to the standards of the time. She plays Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, whose reputation was ruined when her husband (Paul Bettany) accused her of adultery in a highly publicized 1963 trial. It's a sad, fascinating story told with empathy.

7. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

Foy stars opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in this whimsical biopic. He plays Louis Wain, an artist whose distinctive drawings of wide-eyed cats helped to cement their popularity as pets in Victorian England. Foy is equally compelling as his wife, Emily Richardson, who supports Wain as his life becomes more troubled. It's a charming and poignant movie directed by The White Lotus's Will Sharpe.

Have we missed out one of your favorite Claire Foy performances?