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Ben Brantley of The New York Times described her performance as "captivating": "Ms.
Garner, I am pleased to report, makes Roxane a girl worth pining over ...
Following a supporting role in Pearl Harbor (2001), Garner gained recognition for her performance as CIA officer Sydney Bristow in the ABC spy-action thriller Alias, which aired from 2001 to 2006.
For her work on the series, she won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Garner chose Gary Winick to direct the film Garner next starred opposite Timothy Olyphant in the romantic drama Catch and Release.
In preparation for the role, Garner worked with vocal and movement coaches and took French lessons.
She first appeared opposite Matthew Mc Conaughey in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, portraying the childhood friend of a famous photographer and womanizer (Mc Conaughey).
While the film received lukewarm reviews, it grossed US2.2 Similarly, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times was dismayed to see the actress appear as "less a co-star than a place holder (you can almost see the words "enter generic female lead" in [the] screenplay)." Garner's second performance of 2009 was opposite comedian Ricky Gervais in his directorial debut The Invention of Lying.
In the 2010s, she appeared in the romantic comedy Valentine's Day (2010), the fantasy drama The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), the biographic drama Dallas Buyers Club (2013), the family comedy Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014), the drama Miracles from Heaven (2016), the romantic comedy-drama Love, Simon (2018), and the action thriller Peppermint (2018).
Garner works frequently as an activist for early childhood education and is a board member of Save the Children.