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Ryan Gosling’s Best Performances

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We are amid Barbie-mania, which along with Oppenheimer has created one of the biggest cultural phenomenon in recent memory. Academy Award-nominated writer/director Greta Gerwig tackled one of the biggest IPs of all time, and she inserted Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken. Today, I look at Ryan Gosling's filmography and share my favorite performances.

Ryan Gosling burst onto the acting scene in 1997 with Frankenstein and Me, and in 2000 with his role as Alan Bosley with Remember the Titans. However, it was in 2004 that he played Noah Calhoun in the film adaptation of The Notebook. His performance alongside Rachel McAdams put Gosling in the spotlight, and he has since never looked back.

Before we dive in, this ranking does include my watch of Barbie, but I don't think his performance warrants amongst his best. That said, I did think the Kenergy was Kenough to let you know that you should check out the film just for his performance of the song “I'm Just Ken.”

Ryan Gosling's Best Performances

La La Land – Sebastian Wilder

“City of Stars, Are you Shining Just For Me?” If you know me, you know that La la Land is hands down one of my favorite movies. It's a gut-wrenching beautiful story of chasing your dreams while falling in love and things not always turning out as you planned. Gosling and Emma Stone are incredible in this together.

The Nice Guys – P.I. Holland March

One day someone will explain why Nice Guys didn't turn into a Lethal Weapon or Rush Hour of this generation with multiple films. Gosling and Russell Crowe are so funny in this film together, and it is easily one of the best comedies of this century.

First Man – Neil Armstrong

We've seen the romantic comedy Gosling (Notebook), the action comedy Gosling (Nice Guys), and the singing/dancing Gosling (La La Land), but Gosling's performance as Neil Armstrong showed a side of Gosling we had yet seen on the big screen. It was such a vulnerable and subtle turn that Gosling had to act with his words, eyes, mouth, and facial expressions. It might be the best work of his career.

Drive – The Driver

If I were to pick a favorite performance of mine of Gosling's, Drive is probably at the top of the list. He plays a mechanic/stunt double/driver by day and criminal by hire getaway driver by night. One day I want to watch this movie and see how many words Gosling actually says in the film because The Driver doesn't say much but uses his facial expression and actions to tell his story. It's such an incredible film.

Crazy, Stupid, Love – Jacob Palmer

Ryan Gosling plays Jacob, a womanizer who loves having a new girl in his bed every night until he meets Cal, played by Steve Carrell, a middle-aged man on the verge of getting a divorce. Jacob feels bad for Cal and decides to help him get the ladies. Gosling shows off strong comedy chops opposite Carrell, and the Dirty Dancing scene with Emma Stone is noteworthy all on its own.

The Place Beyond the Pines – Luke Glanton

This film gets far too much hate, and quite frankly, it's one of my favorite films of the last twenty years. Gosling did a great job of creating this empathy in the role of Glanton because although on the surface it felt like it, he wasn't that bad of a person. It's such a strong performance on many levels.

Honorable mentions: Dan Dunne/Half Nelson, Stephen Meyers/The Ides of March, and Julian/Only God Forgives

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Ricky Valero
Ricky Valero
Ricky Valero is a movie/TV critic whose favorite movies are The Departed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Fast Five, and La La Land. Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, while not watching movies, he is either enjoying the latest Stand-up Comedy special or another dating reality series. He is also a member of the Critic Choice Association, the Hollywood Critics Association, and the Music City Film Critics Association.
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