Carey Mulligan’s Best Roles

She really Careys anything she’s in.
Carey Mulligan is one of those fantastic actors who shines no matter what she gets cast in. Don’t believe us? We’ve compiled a list of her absolute best performances. 

Promising Young Woman

A bold, violent and controversial story, Promising Young Woman is a tour-de-force for Mulligan. She plays Cassie, a nightmarishly smart and manipulative young woman embarking on a very odd, very dangerous crusade to lure men in and punish them. Why is she doing this? You’ll have to watch to find out, but frankly, we’ve never seen a performance from Mulligan that has this level of intensity. There’s a reason everyone is raving about Promising Young Woman: Carey Mulligan.


Believe it or not, Mulligan’s break-out role (and a genuinely terrific performance) was the Sally Sparrow in Doctor Who. The makers of the show wanted to give the core cast some time off, so they wrote an episode focusing on a completely new character, Sally, played by Mulligan. Blink remains one of fans’ favourite episodes, due in large part to Mulligan’s energetic and relatable turn as a young woman besieged by The Weeping Angels, some of the most terrifying monsters in Doctor Who.

An Education

Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, a sheltered, intelligent teenager who intends to go to Oxford. Everything changes for her, however, when she meets the charismatic David (Peter Sarsgaard), a much older man who whisks her away into a decidedly adult life. What happens next, however, is that Jenny discovers David isn’t what he initially claimed to be. An Education blends nostalgia and coming-of-age drama, but Mulligan is the glue that holds it all together.


Many people were introduced to Carey Mulligan in Drive, the violent, neon-soaked indie film about a driver (played by Ryan Gosling) trying to pull one last score to escape the clutches of a ruthless crime lord. His only link to humanity? A young mum, played by Carey Mulligan, whose reactions to the violent world she’s encountering make her at once vulnerable and magical.

Inside Llewelyn Davis

The Coen Brothers tend to swing between comedy and tragedy, and Inside Llewelyn Davis sits somewhere in the middle. It takes places in the 1960s folk scene, and Cary Mulligan plays Jean, on-again-off-again to Oscar Isaac’s troubled, arrogant anti-hero. Once again, Mulligan proves her ability to make anyone she’s playing feel overwhelmingly real and three dimensional.


Mulligan is the whirling, terrifying core of this brilliant drama about a 1960s housewife whose marriage falls apart. She plays Jeanette, whose marriage to Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes strained after he loses his job. Debut director Paul Dano did a wonderful job of bringing out super realistic and confronting performances from both leads, but Wildlife is really Mulligan’s playground to show off her significant acting chops.

Never Let Me Go

A stunningly dark, deeply intelligent film, Never Let Me Go follows Mulligan’s Kathy H, reminiscing about her time at a boarding school called Hailsham. The film is set in a dystopian future where human lifespans extend beyond 100 years – Never Let Me Go has a dash of science fiction, but feels like a vision of a quiet, terrible future which seems totally plausible. Mulligan’s performance is quiet yet raw; she was a huge fan of the book from which the film was adapted going in and pushed hard to land the role.

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