X roles in which MIA GOTH proved that she is a REAL STAR

Mia Goth is one of the most interesting actresses of the young generation.

Tomasz Raczkowski

16 April 2023

Mia Goth is one of the most interesting actresses of the young generation. She follows her own path, choosing ambitious projects, most often falling within the broadly understood horror convention – although she herself does not admit to such a key, rather pointing to the type of intriguing characters that attracts her. Despite being less than thirty years old, the London-born actress has already had a number of interesting roles under her belt, which allow us to say that she is a very talented professional with a unique screen personality and an impressive arsenal of expression. Currently, her career seems to be gaining momentum, so I decided to summarize the decade of her career by collecting ten moments in which Mia Goth proved that she is a real star. There are ten moments, so in Roman notation – X, like the title of one of the last films with the participation of Goth. This trick can also be treated as leaving an empty space for the value, and the text – open for future additions.


Something not very spectacular to warm up, which does not mean that it is unimportant. Anyway, it is worth mentioning Goth’s first performance in front of the camera, because not everyone debuts with Lars von Trier. The young, then virtually anonymous actress appeared in the second part of the provocative Nymphomaniac as P, a teenager whom Joe, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, “trains” to sexual transgression. In the role of the victim of this specific grooming, Goth showed her bodily ambivalence for the first time – the ability to combine fear and shyness with rapacity and perversion. P is on the one hand injured, on the other a dangerous creature, and Goth fits perfectly into the subversive poetics of von Trier’s films. It can be said that the performance in Nymphomaniac set the acting career of the debutante, who later will often choose provocative roles, full of internal contradictions and erotic menace. Certainly, it was a creation manifesting considerable potential in this direction.

"The Survivalist"

Today, Mia Goth is somewhat a specialist in roles bordering on transgression, and so are most of the creations discussed in this compilation. However, from time to time, the actress happens to play a more subdued role, classically tailored to dramatic conventions, and show that she can shine without the spectacular sheath of horror or madness. One such example is Goth’s performance in The Survivalist – a surprisingly subdued, intimate post-apo drama from 2015. Future Ti West’s films star plays Milja, who joins the title character on his makeshift farm with her mother. Goth convincingly creates the character of a slightly withdrawn girl growing up in brutal realities, gradually building an emotional and pragmatic relationship with a stranger and gaining autonomy from the dominant guardian. The psychological complexity is complemented by an unspecified threat lurking in the actress’s piercing gaze, which actually allows you to believe that Milja is someone who combines human feelings with survivalist pragmatism, which makes her the most interesting of the three main characters.

"Cure for Wellness"

Gore Verbinski’s horror may not be very original in terms of plot – everything is based on sinister experiments in a gothic resort in the Alps – but it is more than neatly implemented. The 2015 film intrigues with its climate and well-built suspense, and Mia Goth, who plays one of the key characters, helps measurably in this. Hannah is supposedly a sick girl, the adoptive daughter of the doctor in charge of the center, who indirectly leads the main character to dark discoveries. Goth plays an ambiguous character here – on the one hand, defenseless in his childish naivety, on the other, carrying a demonic-erotic element. We do not know for a long time whether Hannah is an ally or another threat to the protagonist, which is largely due to the actress, who steals every minute spent on the screen. Considering that Goth came here to create a complex and nuanced role, you can appreciate even more how effective the final effect is.

"High Life"

Due to her distinctive beauty and daring expression, Mia Goth has been to some extent assigned to a certain type of role, which can be described as “girls with a tendency to go off”. Perhaps the most exemplary example of this convention in the Goth filmography is the performance in Claire Denis’s High Life. Ambitious philosophical SF is a polarizing film, and I don’t rate it highly enough. However, there are a few elements in it that attract attention and are the seeds of something more interesting, which could have grown out of Denis’s vision. One of them is the role of Goth, who, next to Agata Buzek, has the best acting performance in High Life. The younger of the actresses plays after the gang, she is violent, unpredictable and therefore intriguing. It’s hard to talk about psychological deepening – a clumsy script makes it impossible – but Goth undoubtedly shows her arsenal of expression in almost laboratory conditions, which she will have the opportunity to use in better narratives over time.


Dakota Johnson was the star of the 2018 remake of the cult Dario Argento’s horror by Luca Guadagnino, followed by Tilda Swinton. However, while both actresses did a good job in the ambitious horror film about a demonic dance school, the performance of Mia Goth was the pearl of Suspiria hidden in the background. The British actress played the role of Sarah Simms, with whom the protagonist befriends and who introduces her to the case of the missing schoolgirl, serving as one of the starting points for the main, supernatural intrigue. Goth, with her expression, perfectly fit into the atmosphere of evil lurking behind the school’s modernist façade, and the sequence in which Sara performs a dance in a trance is one of the best in the film, also thanks to Goth’s performance. Her participation in Suspiria showed that the horror convention is perfect for the actress, which was proven in the following years.

"The Staggering Girl"

In the second, after Suspiria, collaboration with Luca Guadagnino, Goth again counts the MVP performance from the background. In the short film made for the fashion house, her display of skills is even more emphatic – playing the role of the younger version of the mother of the protagonist played by Julianne Moore, the British girl basically gets the most from the script in the plot of the young artist’s psychological struggles, as a result overshadowing the rest of the cast. Goth squeezes everything possible out of her limited screen time, and her character alone in The Staggering Girl becomes more than a model guided by the Italian director through an elaborate display of Pierpaolo Piccoli’s new collection.


The 2021 film premiered at Sundance is a classic example of a title with an interesting concept, but worse execution. Directed by Karen Cinorre, Mayday tells a quasi-fantastic story of a girl who, straight from working in a hotel kitchen, ends up on a mysterious island during World War II, where she joins a micro-community of women dealing with… persecution of male soldiers. The role of the informal leader of the quasi-mermaids of the quasi-Amazons, Marsha is played by Mia Goth. He does it by presenting a characteristic set of features – he plays on the verge of a charge, creating a character that is motivated and experiencing internal dilemmas on the one hand, and on the other unpredictable, and in moments of explosion terrifyingly unpredictable. Although the director from an intriguing starting point leads Mayday astray and to a disappointing conclusion, Goth’s performance is a kind of compensation for wasted potential – it is especially memorable in the scene where she hoarsely shouts at the protagonist that being a psychopath and a hero are one and the same.


We come to the “title” position of the list. 2022 is perhaps a breakthrough year in Goth’s career. It was there that the first two parts of the Ti West trilogy hit the screens, which has a good chance of becoming a showcase of its main star for years. In the first of the films, X, Goth plays a double role. First of all, she plays the protagonist Maxine, an aspiring porn star who arrives with her lover and producer on a farm to shoot a movie. At the same time, however – in heavy make-up – she plays the role of Pearl, a not very balanced housewife. This dualism is used thematically in West’s pastiche slasher to talk about desire and longing, and Goth in both diametrically opposed roles is magnetic, driving X with its transgressive expression. And this is just the beginning because…


…Pearl, introduced as the quasi-antagonist in X received a prequel dedicated to herself later that year. In the second part of the series – without make-up – Goth plays the younger version of the title character, presenting her gradual descent into madness under the influence of toxic relationships with her family, loneliness by her husband staying at the front, and an overwhelming desire to become a star and break out of the hated family home . Pearl is a film better than X – elements of horror are just a stitching for an excellent psychological drama. The final effect is largely thanks to Goth, who not only unleashed her full acting abilities (both character nuances and suggestive, chilling transgressions), but also had an impact on the script, measurably improving the absolutely brilliant ending of the film. The scene of Pearl’s climactic monologue is without exaggeration worthy of all the awards that the actress can win, and the entire performance in Pearl is Goth’s best performance to date, a role that is complete in every way.

"Infinity Pool"

After what Mia Goth did in X and Pearl, you can look forward to the climax of the trilogy titled MaXXXine. However, in the meantime, the actress added another star performance to her resume, this time in Brandon Cronenberg’s latest film – Infinity Pool. It’s another Goth tour de force as she plays the psychotic Gabi luring hero Alexander Skarsgård into the maw of a terrible high. This is another role in which Goth seemingly releases all the brakes, but at the same time creates a coherent, intriguing (and terrifying) character. In Infinity Pool you can see that she feels like a fish in water in a convention bordering on psychodrama and dark thriller, and her character once again adds a few points to the overall rating of the film itself. This time, however – unlike at the beginning of his career – he gets a decent script to work on again, thanks to which he can write his cooperation with Cronenberg as a definite success.

Tomasz Raczkowski

Tomasz Raczkowski

Anthropologist, critic, enthusiast of social cinema, British humor and horror films.

See other posts from this author >>>