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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My Top 5 Most Anticipated Films For The Rest Of 2016

We are now almost three-quarters of the way through 2016! However even though we’ve already had our fair share of good films (and unfortunately the bad too), we still have plenty to look forward too this year! I’ve taken the liberty to list the five films coming out in cinemas in the final quarter of 2016 that I’m personally most looking forward – maybe some of my choices will peak your interest? Let’s see.

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Directed by Gareth Edwards – In Theatres: December 16th (UK)

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Rogue One will be the first of the Star Wars Anthology films.

Disney’s first Star Wars Anthology movie will be focusing shortly before George Lucas’ beloved 1977 sci-fi epic, covering our the Rebel alliance managed to retrieve the plans for the Galactic Empire’s new superweapon.

As a Star Wars fan, naturally I am going to be excited for this film. Along with amazing looking sets and costumes, Gareth Edwards’ second studio outing is looking to bring us a new insight into the Star Wars universe, actually making a Star Wars film feel like a war movie. The official trailer that was recently released (you can watch it here) has ignited the hype that Disney was hoping for and I believe it will be more than enough to satisfy our Star Wars cravings until next year’s Star Wars Episode VIII!

4. The Accountant

Directed by Gavin O’Connor – In Theatres: November 4th (UK)

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The Accountant is a film that had largely gone underneath my radar until recently and when I had finally seen it’s two trailers (you can see the most recent one here)… I was impressed with what I saw. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman won the majority of audiences this year despite Batman vs Superman not quite doing so, and he looks to be moving on with another impressive performance in this film. He’ll be acting alongside Jon Bernthal and Anna Kendrick, and after seeing Bernthal’s exquisite portrayal of The Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil series – the hype grows larger.

Affleck’s character, Christian Wolff, is a mathematical savant who accounts finances for the world’s largest and most dangerous criminals in a secret life. Things such as when we see/hear how his senses react differently to the world when Anna Kendrick is asking him a question and Affleck’s line “I have difficulty socialising with other people, even though I want to”, seem to suggest Affleck’s character may have Asperger’s syndrome, a condition upon the autistic spectrum. This is also suggested with other things in the first trailer such as his doctor discussing his obsessive personality and how he has a small picture list of different emotions underneath the mirror – in order to help him develop a better understanding of reading people’s emotions.

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You can watch The Accountant’s first trailer here

I look forward to seeing this film along with seeing them apply such a complex condition as Asperger’s syndrome to its protagonist.

3. Hacksaw Ridge

Directed by Mel Gibson – In Theatres: November

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I talk in more depth about Andrew Garfield a little later on in this article, I’m really pleased with the choices he’s made with his career since the ill-fated Amazing Spider-Man movies. The trailer for this film looks great, it completely caught me off guard when I came across it the other week and I’m confident I may be heading to see this in the cinema come November.

2. Free Fire

Directed by Ben Wheatley – In Theatres: 2016 (date unconfirmed)

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Boston, 1978. A meeting between two gangs in a deserted warehouse descends into a shootout and a game of survival. When I seen Cillian Murphy and Brie Larson on the cast for Ben Wheatley’s next cinematic endeavour I was definitely interested – then I also noticed that Martin Scorsese was an executive producer on the project and I was sold.

This film is on the list – however it’s on here out of faint hope. I haven’t seen a trailer for Free Fire yet, although it is due to be released later this year. Ben Wheatley is steadily making his way up the directing ladder, not to mention that Murphy and Larson definitely have the acting chops to make this film something special – I also love Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in the BBC’s 1920s Crime series Peaky Blinders. 

1. Silence

Directed by Martin Scorsese – In Theatres: November or December

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A passion project of his, Martin Scorsese has been trying to adapt Silence to the big screen since 1991. A story of two Jesuit priests travelling through 17th Century Japan facing violence and persecution as they search for their mentor.

This is my most anticipated film for the closing months of 2016 as it will be my first time seeing a Martin Scorsese film in the cinema (I just missed out on being old enough to see The Wolf of Wall Street, damn it). With a cast including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, it’s set to be a refreshing outing for Scorsese. I obviously don’t need to be selling Liam Neeson, whose acting credits speak for themselves. But Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who has recently shot to a new level of fame due to his role in the new Star Wars trilogy, are exciting prospects under Scorsese. Andrew Garfield looks to be distancing himself from his brief spell as Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man and really becoming a considerable name for more serious roles. He was good in last year’s 99 Homes with Michael Shannon and also looks promising in the recently released trailer for Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. I look forward to seeing what he can do under Scorsese’s direction.


Honourable Mentions

Here are some that failed to make my list but are worthy of a mention.

Imperium

Directed by Daniel Ragussis – In Theatres: September 16th (UK)

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A massive change of direction for Daniel Radcliffe and I really hopes it pays off for him. I never thought I’d be seeing him as an undercover neo-nazi anytime soon. Check out the trailer here.

Sully

Directed by Clint Eastwood – In Theatres: September 9th

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Although Clint Eastwood’s last few directorial efforts haven’t completely woo’d audiences (I personally enjoyed American Sniper, however I was horribly disappointed in Jersey Boys), I’m excited to see his latest: a film depicting the event of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landing a plane in the New York’s Hudson River, and the resulting investigation seeking out to ruin him that followed. Tom Hanks will always have a place in my heart – not to mention how he’ll always have that immense acting talent of his too.

The Infiltrator

Directed by Brad Furman – In Theatres: September 16th (UK)

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I have a good habit of enjoying Crime-Drama’s about the cocaine-fuelled 1970/80s. Netflix’s Narcos is a great example of this. So when I read that Bryan Cranston was going to be leading the line against the Colombian drug cartel, along with kingpin Pablo Escobar, I was excited!

An actor who can jump between comedy and bone chilling serious roles, it’s nice to see Bryan Cranston finally getting more opportunity to lead on the big screen. I look forward to seeing him playing the other side of the legal coin as Federal Agent Robert Mazur in this, hopefully this isn’t another Black Mass and leaves me horribly disappointed… but I have faith in this one.

What do you think? Do you agree or am I missing some gems? Let me know!