Ryan Gosling’s Top 5 Acting Performances

It seems to be to almost no one’s surprise that Damien Chazelle’s La La Land has waltzed its way through this years awards season like a romantic, colourful, musical whirlwind. It swept up all 7 of the Golden Globes it was nominated for, collected another 5 honours at this years BAFTAs, and it seems to be on course to take over this year’s Academy Awards (garnering a joint-record 14 nominations). One of the main components of the modern-age musical’s success is the two performances of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, both  of whom have earned Oscar nominations as Sebastian and Mia respectively this year. It is the third motion picture that Gosling and Stone have collaborated on (the first being Crazy, Stupid, Love then followed by Gangster Squad), the success from each being evident through the chemistry they spark between each other on the screen.

In this article I am going to recommend my top 5 personal favourite Ryan Gosling performances to you to go and watch before you see La La Land, therefore excluding it from the list. However; if you have already seen it – which I’m guessing many have since it has already made almost $300m at the Box Office – please feel free to use this list as recommendations to further your experience of Mr Gosling on the big screen. It slightly disappoints me when I hear people label Ryan Gosling as an actor who can only seem to play himself, so I’ve tried to select a varying collection of his performances that hope to show the man’s acting range in better light.

5. Lars and the Real Girl (2007) – Craig Gillespie

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Our first performance on this list is in 2007’s Lars and the Real Girl. It is a tale of a shy young man named Lars (Ryan Gosling), who enters into a delusional mindset and falls in love with Bianca, a lifelike sex doll. The concept sounds silly, but Gosling manages to bring life to this inanimate character throughout the film. Acting opposite nobody Bianca in scenes where no magic should spark, he manages to evoke emotions from himself, the lifeless face of his partner and most importantly, the viewer. Lars and the Real Girl is a very heartwarming story that manages to showcase Gosling as much more than your traditional love interest.

You can watch the trailer here.

4. A Place Beyond the Pines (2012) – dir. Derek Cianfrance

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Ryan Gosling stars opposite his now-wife, Eva Mendes, in A Place Beyond the Pines.

 

A Place Beyond the Pines tells the story of three generations and sheds light on how people can be driven to a life of crime for different reasons. In this film Ryan Gosling portrays Luke Glanton, a motorcyclist who travels with a touring carnival. After he finds out that his former lover has recently given birth to his son, Luke takes to using his riding ability in order to rob a series of banks to try and provide for his new family and be there for his child – unlike his own father.

You can watch the trailer here.

3. Drive (2011) – dir. Nicolas Winding Refn

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The story of Drive focuses around a Hollywood stunt driver who uses his talents to moonlight as a getaway driver for hire. However, he begins to fall for Irene, the girl next door – played by Carey Mulligan. In an effort to help her and her son out, the scorpion decorated wheelman is dragged into something bigger as a heist goes disastrously wrong and he is forced to try and protect them both from a local mob boss.

Gosling’s first collaboration with director Nicolas Winding Refn proved itself worthy after it gained both critical and audience praise, not to mention a cult-following on top of that in the process. Surprisingly, the film was largely snubbed at the bigger award ceremonies off the festival circuit, only attaining one Oscar nomination (Best Sound Editing). This ultra-stylish, neo-noir tale shows Gosling at his most brutal, showcased through some terrific ultra-violence. It also shows his acting ability behind a character who thinks a lot more than he cares to speak or feel. This is not Ryan Gosling playing Ryan Gosling, this is Ryan Gosling encapsulating the mysterious figure of The Driver.

You can watch the trailer here.

2. The Nice Guys (2016) – dir. Shane Black

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Set in 197os Los Angeles, The Nice Guys is an original action-comedy neo-noir about two not-so-perfect Private Investigators who are searching for a young girl named Olivia and a missing adult film star named Misty Mountains. This is the film that officially cements Ryan Gosling as a genuine comic actor. His natural charisma, comedic timing and impressive physical comedy is brilliantly used in this crime caper to full effect. The comedy is heightened even further by the chemistry between him and fellow cast members Russell Crowe and the very impressive Angourie Rice.

The Nice Guys was terribly underappreciated last year, only just making back its money at the Box Office. Film fans complain about the lack of originality in the cinemas these days, then when something original shows up it is pushed aside by the latest blockbuster – a source of immense irritation to me. To put things into perspective, The Nice Guys was topped at the Box Office by The Angry Birds Movie. Am I confident of a sequel? No. Am I hopeful of a sequel? Yes, very hopeful as Holland March and Jackson Healy have proved to be quite the comedic gold together. We can only hope.

You can watch the trailer here.

1. Blue Valentine (2010) – dir. Derek Cianfrancebv_russo1_01

Blue Valentine… oh boy, where do I begin? If you had doubt about Ryan Gosling’s acting chops, look no further. The story follows two intercutting time periods, one depicting how a young Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) fell in love with each other, with the other based six years later showing the two trying to hold onto and desperately salvage their failing marriage.

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“One make-up look in particular is very reminiscent of De Niro in Raging Bull”

This film shows Ryan Gosling at his very best, although he did not receive an Oscar nomination for this performance. He embodies the role of Dean through a powerful set of emotions and make-up (one make-up look in particular very reminiscent of De Niro in Raging Bull). To prepare for this role, Gosling lived in the house they filmed in with Michelle Williams for a month along with the young actress who plays their daughter. During this time the group recreated and filmed hundreds of hours’ worth of home videos and memories such as birthdays and Christmas’ etc in order to develop a true family bond before filming. Michelle Williams received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Blue Valentine, and both of these two talents return as nominees this year – Gosling for La La Land and Williams for the Boston-drama Manchester by the Sea.

You can watch the trailer here.

Agree with my list? Leave a comment and let me know what your favourite performances are from Ryan Gosling, and let me know your thoughts on his performance in this year’s La La Land. All reading and sharing of this article helps me out so if you decide to do so, thank you very much.

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8 thoughts on “Ryan Gosling’s Top 5 Acting Performances”

  1. Both Blue Valentine and Place Beyond the Pines are devastatingly good. The same could be said about Gosling. He’s led quite an interesting career, and a surprisingly unexpected one at that. He could easily have given himself over to stereotype and starred in rom-coms and b-level action movies. Thankfully, he didn’t. Every film he’s in feels carefully selected, like he’s consciously reinventing himself as an actor. Nice Guys and La La Land were totally new territories for Gosling, and 2017 (Blade Runner 2049) looks to continue that. Awesome list!

    Liked by 1 person

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      2. That’s awesome to hear! Would you like me to send you all the info you’ll need to get going? You can also find my contact info in my ‘about me’.

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