Every Movie And TV Show Taylor Swift Acted In Ranked Worst To Best

Taylor Swift hasn't managed to make the transition from pop star to movie star, but this seems like a decisive choice. The multiple-Grammy winner is at the point in her career where she could virtually do anything she wants. Drop her eighth studio album Folklore in a bold surprise announcement after writing and recording it in isolation? Check. Hide inside a suitcase carried by burly security guards to avoid the paps? Check, sort of. That probably didn't happen, but she definitely didn't deny it. Blow up Kim Kardashian's thinly-veiled snake insult, take it on tour, and name it Karyn? Yesssss (emphasis on the sss). After you win 10 Grammys, does anything even matter anymore?

As such, Swift's acting career has been minimal but enjoyable. It's not quite Jennifer Hudson, who lost American Idol but won an Oscar and Golden Globe. Nor is it Britney Spears, who starred in the early aughts flop Crossroads, but shined in a How I Met Your Mother cameo. If we're being honest, Spears made snakes famous first, if only for her 2001 VMA performance, but we digress. Swift seems to have a natural acting talent, and it's evident in her litany of cinematic music videos, but when it comes to major roles, she's just getting started. Here's every single one of the Lover singer's acting credits ranked best to worst.

Valentine's Day

Just like the actual holiday, Ashton Kutcher's 2010 flick Valentine's Day largely didn't live up to the expectations of its behemoth ensemble cast. Sure, it was cute — especially that adorable little kid. It's not hard to tear up just a little bit over his plot line, which was so obviously lifted from Love Actually. But let's be clear: there is no Hugh Grant, here. The only real word to describe Valentine's Day is "inoffensive," and that's if we try our hardest to separate Kathy Bates from her far superior role in Misery.

Like the rest of the film, Taylor Swift's tiny part is just fine. She plays Taylor Lautner's love interest and actually went on to date the Twilight star in real life. At the time, she was clearly just learning how to hone her natural acting talent, and playing an airhead isn't exactly her most convincing role. Anyone who's ever seen one of Swift's documentaries knows she's whip-smart, especially when it comes to creative vision. We have to admit that the whole portrayal is a little bit better when you think about how she later broke up with Lautner in a careless enough way to pen "Back to December," the ultimate apology track, but perhaps that's the cynic in us. Oh, young love.

The Giver

The dystopian world of The Giver, which was based on the eponymous 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, really took Taylor Swift out of her element, brown wig and all. The singer's career generally hinges on how well she can put her deepest emotions under a microscope — be they gritty, ugly, or beautiful — but The Giver is not that. In this world, feelings are the enemy, but then there's Rosemary.

Swift's character served as her father's protege, teaching him how to play piano in exchange for learning how to feel the full spectrum of human emotion. Two months in, she becomes so overwhelmed by feeling so much for the first time that she asks to be "released." In the world of The Giver, that means euthanization. In Swift's world, that's pouring it out into a song. 

Though the film was only a modest success — with Rotten Tomatoes ratings barely rising above that of Cats – Swift's brief role was instrumental in teaching the importance of emotion. It's a skill the singer's cultivated both on-screen and off.

New Girl

Though The Atlantic argued that New Girl was too good for Taylor Swift, we must remind them of Zooey Deschanel's entire career. Much like the actress behind the lensless glasses, Jessica Day is the human embodiment of the twee aesthetic of a teen girl's Tumblr account in 2012 — and that's a good thing. New Girl just feels good, and the queen of self-proclaimed cat ladies definitely seems at home next to a character who once wrote a musical about woodland creatures with a should-be one night stand instead of hooking up.

Swift's character of Elaine — who appears during the Season 2 finale — is a nod to the Speak Now era, which saw the singer romanticize about breaking up a wedding and running away with the groom. Though Elaine is a bit of a gimmick, Swift's role does give way to Cece and Schmidt, one of the most epic sitcom love stories in recent history. Overall, the finale was widely lauded and helped position the budding series into one of Fox's mainstays. We'd say it was a job well done.

The Lorax

The animated film adaptation of Dr. Seuss' book The Lorax wasn't an easy project for Taylor Swift. At the time, the star told MTV that lending her voice to the character of Audrey was a whole lot different than recording vocals to one of her own songs. Nonetheless, she trucked through and managed to give us a rather inspiring take about searching for greener pastures — or if we're getting technical, brighter Truffula trees.

With Danny DeVito and Betty White, The Lorax was already a slam dunk before Swift signed on. The fact that she played Zac Efron's love interest was just the icing on cotton candy-colored cake. In an alternate High School Musical universe, Swifty would be up there romancing Troy Bolton rather than hanging out in the bleachers in her band uniform. In any event, the movie was far more inspiring than the Rotten Tomatoes 53% critic score would have you believe, although it was slightly overshadowed by the fact that Zac Efron dropped a condom on the red carpet. Embarrassing, but everyone loves Dr. Seuss.

Saturday Night Live

Taylor Swift has been a musical guest on Saturday Night Live a couple of times, but her hosting gig in 2009 was the tiny spark that eventually became a full-fledged fire during her Reputation era almost a decade later. This version of Swift didn't feel as carefully calculated as Swifts of the past. She had absolutely no qualms about making fun of the way she's portrayed in the tabloids, and if you can't laugh at the sheer number of times your heart has been broken, what can you laugh at?

Once again, Swift slammed her ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas for breaking up with her on the phone, something she's quite literally turned into an art form. His actions were an indiscretion we can only excuse now that he's going to be a father and FaceTime is free on WiFi. He should have at least used FaceTime, right?

Swift's opening monologue (above left) merely whet our palette for her crowning moment years later when she made a brief appearance in "The Californians" (above right) for SNL's 40th Anniversary Special. She nailed it only in the way a New York transplant who spent her teen years in the upper echelons of Hollywood could. Honorable mention: that time she portrayed orphan Annie.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Like most unknown actors, Taylor Swift's first acting gig was a single episode of CSI. The only difference was that rather than being a total unknown, she was just one year away from becoming the youngest artist ever to win a Grammy for Album of the Year. Basically, when the singer landed the gritty role of Haley Jones, a teen who turns up dead in a parking lot, she was already a massive star.

As The New York Times put it, Swift's role was a wig-filled makeover that allowed her to be "a little bit naughty, and credibly so." Seriously, her character had at least four wig-changes and one fake lip ring. It will always be fulfilling to see America's teen sweetheart cycle through a punk phase, even if it's just pretend. Beyond that, Swift's role positioned her as a serious actress with a natural talent that excuses the overacting later displayed in Valentine's Day.

Even now, photos from Swift's CSI episode are filled with their own sort of lore. At one point, her choppy, black locks were hailed a secret emo phase from the depths of her old MySpace account. Sadly, it's just a reminder that CSI rivals Lifetime movies when it comes to drama, though her connection to Panic! At The Disco's Brendan Urie and extreme knowledge of Dashboard Confessional lyrics doesn't have us completely convinced.


Cats is not a good film. In fact it was never a good film. The trailer alone incited such scalding, abject horror that the visual effects team had to go back and edit the CGI. That is, quite possibly, when they edited out Jason Derulo's genitals, as he later complained about on SiriusXM's Radio Andy. To date, the film has  a 53% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which means half of all people hated it, and the other half were on drugs. At the very least, The Washington Post found an inordinate number of people who specifically saw the film high, with one claiming it was "the most terrifying experience" of their life.

Cats may not be good, it may even be bad, and some people could argue that giving felines human-like fingers is objectively horrifying, but it's also uniquely Taylor Swift. It's the film equivalent of the controversial "ME!" line, "Hey kids! Spelling is fun," except instead of the singer relenting to criticism and licking her own wounds for reveling in a level of camp that's only appreciated by the highest ranks of Jellicle-kind, Cats will not be erased. In fact, Swift's portrayal of Bombalurina was so perfectly Cats, the singer was spared from inclusion in the film's six Razzies, which are awarded to the year's worst pictures and performances. Oh, and her original song "Beautiful Ghosts" was nominated for a Golden Globe. That's not too shabby, or should we say tabby? Okay, we'll let ourselves out...