Gyllenhaal began her career as a teenager with small roles in several of her father’s films, and appeared with her brother in the cult favorite Donnie Darko (2001). She then appeared in Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (both 2002), and Mona Lisa Smile (2003). Gyllenhaal received critical acclaim for her leading roles in the comedy Secretary (2002) and the drama Sherrybaby (2006). Each of her performances in these two films earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. Her other 2006 films include World Trade Center, Monster House, and Stranger Than Fiction. In 2008, she received wider recognition for playing Rachel Dawes in Christopher Nolan‘s superhero film The Dark Knight.
For her performance as a single mother in Crazy Heart (2009), she received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She subsequently starred in the comedies and dramas: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), Hysteria (2011), and Won’t Back Down (2012). Her other acting efforts were in the action-thriller White House Down (2013), in which she played a Secret Service agent, and in Frank (2014), playing a musician. She subsequently produced and starred in the drama The Kindergarten Teacher (2018).
Gyllenhaal has also been involved in theatre; she has appeared in five stage productions since 2000. In 2014, she made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Real Thing. In addition to film and theatre, she starred in several television series, including the BBC political-thriller miniseries The Honourable Woman. For her performance, she won a Golden Globe award for Best Actress, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She also produced and starred in the HBO period drama series The Deuce (2017–2019). Gyllenhaal has been married to actor Peter Sarsgaard since 2009 and they have two children together.