Keener gravitates towards roles in independent films, and opts for smaller character roles on rare occasions when she agrees to appear in larger studio ventures, which Entertainment Weekly critic Missy Schwartz believes "she inhabits more comfortably than flashier ones. " Amanda McCorquodale, contributing to the Miami New Times, wrote that Keener regularly plays smart, neurotic women in independent films, likening her body of work to Woody Allen heroines. Rotten Tomatoes crowned Keener "one of the queens of 1990s American independent cinema", while The Independent called her "A darling of the independent film world". Despite commending her diverse yet carefully cultivated roles, The Independent observed that most of Keener's studio roles have "barely registered" among critics and audiences. Williams believes that Keener's skillset and versatility have allowed her to work with some of the industry's best filmmakers. Schwartz wrote that directors such as Neil LaBute (Your Friends & Neighbors, 1998) and Steven Soderbergh (Full Frontal, 2002) have consistently "put her unusual beauty and trademark dry wit to good use. "