Gaga for Gosling

How Ryan Gosling has quietly become the industry’s most versatile and critically acclaimed actor.

By Bryan Berlin

Hey girl, I know you think Ryan Gosling is a heartthrob, but to me he’s an upstanding, hilarious guy who is also one of the best actors out there today. Yes, someone has made Tumblr called “Fuck Yeah Ryan Gosling,” using photos of him with captions starting with “Hey Girl.” But what makes Ryan Gosling awesome is the fact that during an interview he actually read some of those memes.

About a month ago Ryan Gosling broke up a fight between two guys in Manhattan. During his recent interview with Esquire, Gosling turned what was supposed to be a two-hour interview into a nightlong adventure, taking his interviewer to Coney Island and other parts of New York City. When his interviewer only had six questions written to ask Gosling, he answered the questions by sending the interviewer an interactive box he made to talk about his childhood.

Okay, I probably just outted myself as a huge fan of Ryan Gosling, but the thing I appreciate most about him is he can back up this awesome personality with an almost perfect acting career. Where Will Smith has become a big action star, Ryan Gosling has quietly climbed the indie ranks with a completely different movie role every time. Not only has each role been different, but just about every one of these roles has come with critical success. With Drive coming out this Friday, let’s take a look at Gosling’s past films.

The Notebook (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54%

Gross: $81 million

Probably the role all girls think of when they think of Ryan Gosling. I have to admit I have never seen The Notebook, not because I don’t want to, but because I feel to fully appreciate it I’d have to watch it with a cute girl (ladies?). What this movie established was that Gosling could easily play the role of the male lead in a romantic drama. It may be one of his lower rated movies, but 54% is still nothing to scoff at.

Stay (2005)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 26%

Gross: $3.3 Million

Now I understand this movie probably isn’t for everyone, but in no way do I think it deserves a 26% rating. There are entire forums and conspiracy theories devoted to trying to explain what this movie was about. In my mind, Stay was a movie about a guy (Ryan Gosling) who was in a terrible accident and is trying to whether he wants to fight for his life and live or give up and die. The movie is filled with a series of thoughts and stories that are in Goslings head that he’s creating with the two people who are at the scene of the accident with him trying to save him (Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts). If that sounds a little trippy, it’s because it probably is. But if you enjoy stuff like Lost, it’s an interesting movie to watch.

Half Nelson (2006)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%

Gross: $2.6 Million

The second highest rated Ryan Gosling movie, Half Nelson had Gosling play an exceptional teacher working in an inner city school. While he had a knack for helping students in school, he struggled with drug addiction outside of it. This character required Gosling to have a lot of range, and the grittiness and reality of it all earned him an Oscar nomination.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%

Gross: $5.8 Million

Lars and the Real Girl takes a real turn from Half Nelson and Gosling goes from playing a complex teacher to a socially inept, kind, romantically disconnected man who falls in love with a sex doll. As ridiculous as this sounds, it actually is done incredibly well, and it’s because of how well Gosling plays the role. He has this ignorant charm and truly believes this doll is a real person. The great part is how the small town comes together to support him and embrace the sex doll as a real girl.

Fracture (2007)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%

Gross: $39 Million

A courtroom thriller that pits Ryan Gosling against Anthony Hopkins, I actually have not seen this movie, but it did look pretty interesting. Gosling has a role as a young ambitious district attorney, which is a much more mainstream role after Lars. It’s also one of his bigger commercial successes, making $39 million at the box office, which compared to actors like Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio, is still pretty small.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%

Gross: $9.7 Million

Probably my favorite Ryan Gosling role, the only word that justly defines Blue Valentine is raw. The movie is shot in a way where you feel as if you’re in the room with the actors, watching their marriage fall apart as you simultaneously see their relationship begin. The chemistry between Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling is incredible, probably because the director had them living together for a month before they started shooting the movie. Gosling really nails the part of a man who loves his kid and loves family, but can no longer make things work with his wife.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%

Gross: $78.5 Million

I think when it comes out on DVD, I’m going to watch Lars and the Real Girl and Crazy, Stupid, Love back to back, and just laugh at the complete difference between Gosling’s two characters. Where he is a literal hopeless romantic in Lars, he is a complete ladies man in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Also, you see a nice range of his character between his relationships with Steve Carell and Emma Stone over the course of the movie. This movie was funny, sweet, sad, and full of actors I loved, but Gosling really held all the stories together.

Drive (2011) September 16th

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%

Gross: —

Although it hasn’t opened yet, critics have already made Drive the highest rated Ryan Gosling movie to date. Having seen a festival screening of it, I can completely back up the critics. The first ‘action’ movie Gosling has really done, my favorite part of this movie was the lack of action. Gosling is a stunt car driver that works as a getaway driver for heists and robberies. After a really intense opening scene, the rest of the movie is a slow, intense build of action, and it works so well. Instead of just explosions and gunfire for 2 hours, Drive picks the right points to bring in action and spends the rest of the time setting up the story and letting the suspense rise.

The Ides of March (2011) October 7th

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%

Gross: —

The third of Gosling’s three starring roles this year, he takes on the role of a press secretary during a presidential race, and becomes involved in a political scandal that could change everything. The hype behind this movie and Drive have started the conversation of Gosling having two potential Oscar nominated movies, which is actually tough because he can only get nominated once per category.

From heart throb to getaway driver to balding father to drug addicted teacher, Ryan Gosling has really showed audiences he can take on any role. Although he’s been in all these roles, Will Smith grossed more money with Hancock than Gosling has in all his starring roles (this is not counting Remember The Titans since he was a minor character).

When will Ryan Gosling get the credit he’s earned? If the hype of his next two movies is any indication, I’m sure he’ll be all over the place by the end of next month.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s