Barbie and its titular protagonist might have rebuffed Ryan Gosling’s attempt as Ken, but no worries, he has already found approval in other films. There’s a whole slew of Ryan Gosling movies that prove his acting chops, especially now that he’s reportedly being considered for a Best Supporting Actor award thanks to his Barbie performance.
He’s the right man for just about everyone. Ladies want Ryan Gosling to ‘hey girl’ them, while gentlemen prefer to be addressed as ‘literally him’– presumably. Those yearning for more Ryan Gosling movies might want to take a look at the best of his filmography to prove once and for all that he’s more than Kenough for a Mojo Dojo Casa House (whatever that is).
It’s not often a Hollywood heartthrob gets to play a silent psychopath whose warm and approachable exterior betrays his villainous tendencies. And it takes a certain type of subdued acting to portray that kind of protagonist in Drive.
For that matter, Ryan Gosling fits into the role like a glove. It was his most iconic character before Ken took the internet by storm and some fans even likened it to other icons such as Robert de Niro’s Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver– for better or worse.
In this film, Ryan Gosling assumes the role of a stuntman who moonlights as a criminal getaway driver by night as he gets entangled in a violent and treacherous plot involving a lovely single mother and a chance at a new life. The premise is simple enough, but the execution is a hyper-stylistic trip coated with neo-noir drama and synth-wave.
La La Land (2016)
Adding more color and range to his portfolio is the romantic musical La La Land which competed fiercely during the 89th Academy Awards– and won in several categories.
It’s about a couple of aspiring celebrities– played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who were drawn together by the commonality of their love for art and music. A love affair ensues while the two chase their dreams of hitting it big, but their goals soon get in the way.
It’s a poignant tale of growing apart, explored in an artistic and musical commentary about the struggles of suffering artists and their dreams.
Blue Valentine (2010)
Before La La Land even drew a casting call, Ryan Gosling was already used to portraying the other half in a crumbling relationship. His role as Dean in Blue Valentine has already made him a tragic romance movie veteran.
It explores a seemingly normal and happy relationship between Dean and Cindy (Michelle Willaims)– at least to onlookers. Inside closed doors, however, their marriage was collapsing at the foundation due to Dean’s lack of ambition and Cindy’s entanglements.
This rather disastrous take on a bad romance that happens way too often than not in real life is a cautionary tale for everyone.
Half Nelson (2006)
As usual, Ryan Gosling already had experience with playing male characters who struggle to attain a stable life. Because far back in 2006, he was in the shoes of a struggling high school teacher named Dan in Half Nelson.
There, he was a cool history teacher whose formal facade hid a crippling substance addiction Dan had to straighten out himself after he was compelled to act as a mentor to even more troubled teenagers whose lives are on the cusp of ruination thanks to their unfortunate circumstances.
It’s one of those heartwarming tales of redemption and puts Ryan Gosling in a dynamic and peculiar role that’s distant from the ones he’s usually slated for.
The Ides of March (2011)
On to more esteemed fictional roles, this time around in The Ides of March, Ryan Gosling takes on the role of a press secretary named Stephen Meyer for a governor (George Clooney). The aforementioned governor’s nomination is threatened by his opponent, and his ace was Meyer’s idealistic stance about him.
This alliance would then be ripped apart gradually by Meyer’s unexpected love affair with an intern and the governor’s opponents, all of whom see the secretary’s role as pivotal to the governor’s political victory.
This political drama gives viewers a different look at Ryan Gosling and his character, as this time around, he’s the one supposedly fixing up problems and mopping up after his boss’ mess.
The Nice Guys (2016)
Those who are looking for more Ryan Gosling paired with another older A-lister will find plenty to like in The Nice Guys. It’s a comedy action movie where Ryan Gosling is a private detective while Russel Crowe is a hired enforcer.
Together, the two of them pair up in order to look for a missing woman. The problem is, other people also have a similar idea and are looking for the same person as they are– and they happen to be less civil or morally obligated. So the two contractors now have to rely on each other for results and survival.
At its core, The Nice Guys is a buddy cop movie from a bygone era of entertainment except remade with modern sensibilities.
First Man (2018)
You don’t often see Ryan Gosling in a biopic, and certainly not Neil Armstrong’s biopic during his highlight as the first man on the moon. That’s what First Man is all about.
This dramatization of one of the most significant historical events in the US sees Engineer Neil Armstrong in a risky and bold move to claim an achievement for his country.
It’s one of those Oscar-worthy performances that’s thankfully as well-received as the rest of the film, but with the same director as La La Land, First Man was undoubtedly destined for critical success. Sadly, the film could have done better at the box office if not for a certain flag controversy.
The Believer (2002)
The Believer was one of Ryan Gosling’s earliest roles, and it was highly underrated, especially for its social relevance.
In this film, Gosling is a racist skinhead who leads a gang of neo-fascists that primarily target the Jewish population in their locale. The twist is that Ryan Gosling’s character was Jewish-born, and he’s keeping it a secret lest his whole gang turns against him.
Along with Edward Norton’s American History X, The Believer is one of the strongest and most effective anti-racism movies in the US that also tends to be less popular than it should be. Regardless, it remains one of Ryan Gosling’s most daring performances.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Sex dolls are always a touchy and controversial topic in the Western scene, but Lars and the Real Girl took the bull by the horns and created the least judgmental fiction about it.
This film places Ryan Gosling in the life of the titular protagonist, Lars, who, due to his crippling social isolation and reclusiveness, bought a sex doll for companionship and romance (or lack thereof). His whole small town miraculously saw Lars’ circumstance as a psychological condition and decided to play along until he comes to a realization.
It’s an odd role, and the film didn’t break even at the box office, but it was still lauded for expertly and empathically handling a topic that’s way too easy to mishandle or misrepresent. And, of course, Ryan Gosling’s pure and innocent performance here made that possible.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
One of the longest and most artistically raw movies that Ryan Gosling has ever joined, Blade Runner 2049 also had huge shoes to fill. Ryan Gosling takes the lead role here as a Blade Runner– a person who hunts down replicant or synthetic humans, except he’s also one himself. Eventually, he started questioning his existence and purpose.
This leads to his character’s protracted act of rebellion against the overbearing system commonly seen in cyberpunk epics.
Again, Ryan Gosling takes centerstage here as his android character dabbles into the depths of existentialism and humanism in the most somber ‘Pinocchio story’ (wanting to be human) coated in a cyberpunk flair. And like his character, you’ll be questioning the very fabric of your humanity and identity by the end of the movie.