There aren’t many male actors in the 21st century that are able to command such a level of both mythic quality and steely gravitas as Ryan Gosling. With looks of a different era, and a fiercely private off-screen life, Gosling’s aptitude for playing hard-hitting, steely and visceral characters on the silver screen has thrust this old-school actor firmly into the limelight.
Well on his way to superstardom, Gosling can play suave and silent just as well as he can comic roles – a diversity evident in his catalogue so far. So let’s take a look at the actor’s top five films, each role another step to becoming a Hollywood household name.
Say what you will about this sentimental epic, The Notebook was the film that sky-rocketed Gosling to fame and cemented him as an international sex symbol. This was where the cult of Gosling came to life and, from here on out, the actor used his fame to cherry-pick whichever role he wanted. The Notebook, some twelve years after its initial release, is still a strong topic of conversation amongst both women and men everywhere.
2011’s Drive was the first time Gosling was able to channel some of that Clint Eastwood swagger he was dying to showcase. Given a standing ovation at Cannes that year, and with themes of gang activity and urban menace that would soon define Gosling’s film choices, this was the film that finally put the cuddly heart-throb from The Notebook to bed, and woke up cool Ryan.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Gosling’s role in Place Beyond the Pines cemented him as the go-to guy when it came to crime thrillers with an emotional crux. With an all-star cast including Bradley Cooper and Gosling’s now-wife Eva Mendes, the film is an in-depth exploration of a motorcycle stuntman who fathers a child whom he had not known existed, and follows the life and times of a couple fighting against whatever their complicated lives throw at them.
The Ides of March
Gosling won the serious acting points he needed with tense political thriller The Ides of March. Co-starring and directed by fellow gentleman thesp George Clooney, this is a film about the dirty underbelly of American politics – and gave Gosling the platform he needed to prove he could do more than play edgy heart-throbs.
La La Land
Ryan Gosling’s recent cinematic accolade, La La Land, arguably tops this list. The Hollywood satire chirps along with a catchy score that co-stars Gosling’s popular sidekick Emma Stone.
An interesting route for the actor to go down at this point in his career, and arguably his most celebrated performance yet, Gosling showed he could play a desirable and funny, but also sad character – and learned to play piano like a maestro in three months.