The 7 Best Ryan Gosling Movies
Ryan Gosling is a multifaceted actor. He has been lauded for his dramatic and comedic performances alike. On top of his talent, he is also quite handsome. It almost doesn’t seem fair. Nonetheless, he gives his all in each role. Though the Canadian began his career as a child star in the Mickey Mouse Club, he had a relatively smooth transition to more mature projects. Somewhere along the way—probably around the release of The Notebook—he became the superstar he is today. Whether he is working with auteurs like Denis Villeneuve and Terrence Malick or sheer entertainers like Shane Black, Gosling delivers an engrossing performance. Here are his seven best films to date.
The Nice Guys (2016)
Do you like to have fun? The Nice Guys is probably for you. Shane Black—screenwriter of the first two Lethal Weapon films and The Long Kiss Goodnight—stepped behind the camera to make yet another genre-defining buddy cop movie. Both Gosling and Russell Crowe get to show off their substantial comedic chops and Angourie Rice gives a breakout performance as Gosling’s character’s daughter. Though the film can be read as a setup for future films, that is unlikely to happen. Sadly, in spite of its thorough watchability, The Nice Guys performed poorly at the box office.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
A sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner may not have been all that necessary, but director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins craft a gorgeous, strikingly colorful dystopian world. Gosling plays an LAPD android detective named K who is assigned to investigate something most thought impossible—an android that bore a child. It is a lengthy ride, but supplies laudable performances from Gosling as well as Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks and Harrison Ford.
Half Nelson (2006)
Half Nelson may very well be Gosling’s most affecting performance to date. He plays a Brooklyn middle school teacher named Dan Dunne. He is a model teacher but struggles behind the scenes with an addiction to cocaine. When a student of his named Drey (Shareeka Epps) witnesses his addiction in action, the two forge a special bond. Meanwhile, Drey struggles to evade a prominent drug dealer in her neighborhood (Anthony Mackie) who wants her to deal for him. Gosling received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the film, and deservedly so.
First Man (2018)
Damien Chazelle earned much attention—mostly positive—for his films Whiplash and La La Land. His follow-up First Man dramatizes Neil Armstrong (Gosling)’s life from his career as a test pilot to the eventual triumph of NASA successfully landing a man on moon. The film is affecting and features strong performances from Gosling and Claire Foy as Neil’s wife Janet; as well as incredible, rave-worthy sound design.
Drive is widely considered to be Nicolas Winding Refn’s best film, or at least one of them. Gosling plays an unnamed Hollywood stunt driver. In the evenings, he makes extra coin as a for-hire getaway driver. Things become complicated when he begins to develop feelings for his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan). Complications arise when her husband (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison.
Song to Song (2017)
Song to Song, like the rest of Terrence Malick’s later work, is dreamy and emotional. Preferring to provide mood over straight-up story is, in short, Malick’s thing, so to speak. In the film, he examines the interweaving relationships of BV (Gosling), Faye (Rooney Mara), Cook (Michael Fassbender) and Rhonda (Natalie Portman). Each of them is, to some degree or another, involved in the music scene of Austin, Texas. While it may not be Malick’s best, it is nonetheless affecting and offers sturdy performances by the main cast.
The Big Short (2015)
If The Big Short has value, it is that it makes a somewhat complicated story of real-life corruption and its discovery digestible to a broad audience. For all its didacticism, however, it is also pretty funny—thanks in large part to director Adam McKay’s comic roots. Gosling’s Jared Vennett serves as the film’s narrator. He does a laudable job performing Vennett as appropriately smug and self-serving.