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Ranking 20 Ryan Gosling’s Films from Worst to Best

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Ryan Gosling's Films

Presented here is a comprehensive ranking of 20 feature films starring the talented Ryan Gosling, from the least impressive to the absolute best. Throughout the 21st century, Gosling has proven to be one of Hollywood’s most dependable actors, showcasing an impressive array of skills, including singing and dancing, in his performances. Starting as a predominantly dramatic actor, he has now evolved into a prominent figure in both comedy and musical genres, leaving a lasting impact on recent cinematic history.

At 43 years old, Ryan Gosling has graced the screen in numerous iconic and beloved movies, alongside some of the most critically-acclaimed films of our time. Notably, his portrayal of Ken in the 2023 blockbuster hit, “Barbie,” exemplifies his growth and versatility as an actor, solidifying his status as a true Hollywood star. From his early works to his latest endeavors, Gosling’s filmography spans over two decades, capturing the hearts of audiences and cementing his place as a bona fide movie star.

All Good Things (2010)

All Good Things (2010)

In the crime mystery drama “All Good Things,” Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst portray romantic interests in a story loosely inspired by events in the life of Robert Durst. Gosling takes on the role of David Marks, a man who comes under suspicion for the disappearance of his wife, played by Dunst, in 1982. Despite their stellar performances, the film is not without its shortcomings.

Gosling and Dunst deliver compelling performances that truly shine in this chilling thriller, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. However, the movie suffers from frequent flaws, including forced dramatic moments and occasional awkward scene transitions, which prevent it from reaching its full potential. As a result, “All Good Things” is considered one of Gosling’s less impressive movies, despite the talents of its lead actors.

Murder by Numbers (2002)

Murder by Numbers (2002)

In the movie “Murder By Numbers,” Sandra Bullock is paired with Ryan Gosling in a crime and mystery story that, unfortunately, falls mostly into the realm of unremarkable. Gosling takes on the role of a high school student turned murderer, who becomes the subject of investigation by Bullock’s character, a homicide detective. The premise holds some promise, and both actors deliver strong performances. However, as the story unfolds, “Murder By Numbers” succumbs to conventional plot twists and relies on cheap narrative devices, ultimately making it one of the less impressive entries in Gosling’s otherwise stellar career.

Stay (2005)

Stay (2005)

“Stay,” which premiered in 2005, has achieved cult classic status over the years. In this mystery thriller, Ryan Gosling delivers a standout performance as a paranoid psychiatric patient struggling to grasp his reality. The movie also features Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, and in many respects, serves as a time capsule, reflecting the styles and sensibilities of a post-Matrix Hollywood in the mid-2000s.

The film’s psychological elements have earned it acclaim from fans of the thriller genre, contributing to its cult following. However, despite its popularity with audiences, “Stay” didn’t receive the same level of appreciation from critics upon its initial release. Nevertheless, over time, the movie has found its place as a celebrated gem in the thriller genre, with Gosling’s gripping portrayal adding to its enduring appeal.

Song to Song (2017)

Song to Song (2017)

“Song to Song” offers a contemplative portrayal of two intersecting love triangles set amidst the vibrant music scene in Austin, Texas. Directed by Terrence Malick, known for his unique filmmaking style that prioritizes evoking emotional and dreamlike states over presenting a straightforward narrative, the film carries the risk of alienating some audiences. It takes viewers on an intriguing journey, but its thematic and aesthetic similarities to Malick’s other works, like “The Tree of Life,” may have impacted its reception with critics. Despite its interesting premise, “Song to Song” might have fared better with reviewers had it carved a more distinct path apart from Malick’s previous creations.

The Slaughter Rule (2002)

 The Slaughter Rule (2002)

“The Slaughter Rule” stands as one of Ryan Gosling’s early performances that showcased his potential as a leading man in Hollywood. In the film, Gosling takes on the role of a high-school quarterback who grapples with complex issues surrounding masculinity and sexuality, making it a compelling and thought-provoking theme throughout the movie.

Gosling’s portrayal in “The Slaughter Rule” is regarded as one of his finest works from before he achieved international stardom. His compelling performance adds depth and authenticity to the character, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

With its progressive themes and Gosling’s standout acting, “The Slaughter Rule” offers an excellent viewing experience. It remains an important and intriguing piece of Gosling’s filmography, showcasing his early potential as a talented actor on his journey to becoming an international superstar.

Gangster Squad (2013)

Gangster Squad (2013)

“Gangster Squad” boasted an impressive cast, including Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn, which raised expectations for a great movie. However, the film fell short due to its cartoonish portrayal of a film noir set in 1940s Los Angeles. Despite having stylistic and action elements that make it visually engaging, the movie’s weak story lurked beneath the surface.

While “Gangster Squad” attempted to capture a significant piece of history, it couldn’t escape the feeling of superficiality. The film’s attempt at being fun and entertaining didn’t leave a lasting impact, making it a forgettable entry in Gosling’s filmography. Despite the star-studded cast, “Gangster Squad” ultimately failed to live up to its full potential, leaving audiences with a watchable yet unremarkable movie experience.

The Gray Man (2022)

The Gray Man (2022)

In “The Gray Man,” Ryan Gosling takes on the role of the lead action hero, directed by the Russo brothers. With the added star power of Chris Evans and a whopping $200 million budget, expectations were understandably high for this Netflix film. However, despite the promising pairing of Gosling and Evans and the impressive ensemble cast, the movie struggled to maintain its quality consistently.

While “The Gray Man” wasn’t necessarily bad, it fell short of reaching its full potential. Some viewers may have expected a top-notch action film given its star-studded cast and substantial budget, but the final result ended up feeling rather plain and lacking the expected impact.

In the end, “The Gray Man” didn’t quite live up to the high expectations set for it, leaving audiences with a film that, while not terrible, failed to fully capitalize on its considerable potential.

The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook (2004)

“The Notebook” is undoubtedly a classic love story from the 2000s, widely known and cherished by many. For a significant number of viewers, this film might have been their introduction to Ryan Gosling as an actor, setting the stage for his rise to A-list status in Hollywood. The movie’s popularity played a crucial role in propelling Gosling’s career forward.

While “The Notebook” holds a special place in the hearts of its fans, it has also faced criticism for its perceived cheesiness, especially when compared to the original book it was adapted from. Like many book-to-film adaptations, some audiences felt that the movie didn’t quite capture the same depth and nuance present in the source material.

Nevertheless, “The Notebook” endures as a beloved classic, and Ryan Gosling’s performance in the film played a significant role in solidifying his popularity as an actor. It remains a cherished romantic drama that has left a lasting impact on audiences, and its status as a classic has undoubtedly contributed to Gosling’s enduring popularity.

The United States of Leland (2003)

The United States of Leland (2003)

“The United States of Leland” stands as another early Ryan Gosling film that has garnered a dedicated fan following despite receiving underwhelming reviews from critics. The movie delves into the story of Gosling’s character, a young man confined within the juvenile detention system due to committing a horrifying murder. As those around him try to unravel the motives behind his actions, they uncover the young man’s tragic perspective on the world.

The film’s highly original and thought-provoking premise sets it apart, and Gosling’s portrayal of a rare villainous role adds to its intrigue. While it may not have been embraced by critics, “The United States of Leland” has found a special place in the hearts of its fans due to its compelling narrative and Gosling’s powerful performance.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” boasts a fantastic ensemble cast, including Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and Kevin Bacon. The film cleverly blends the feel-good elements of buddy movies and romantic comedies, resulting in a timely and thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience.

Gosling’s portrayal in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” played a crucial role in solidifying his status as a Hollywood heartthrob. His charismatic performance showcased his versatility as an actor, contributing to the movie’s charm and appeal. Additionally, the onscreen chemistry between Gosling and Emma Stone was palpable, laying the foundation for their later collaboration in one of the best musical films of all time.

The film’s engaging storyline and the dynamic performances of its talented cast make “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” a delightful and memorable rom-com that resonates with audiences. It not only showcased Gosling’s talent but also set the stage for a successful onscreen partnership with Emma Stone that would continue to captivate viewers in the future.

Fracture (2007)

Fracture (2007)

“Fracture” brought together Ryan Gosling and the masterful actor Anthony Hopkins in a gripping courtroom thriller. The film was skillfully crafted, featuring stellar performances that helped solidify Gosling’s ability to hold his own alongside one of Hollywood’s most notable actors. The onscreen chemistry between Gosling and Hopkins is a standout aspect of the movie, making it a compelling and memorable watch.

Despite occasional difficulty in maintaining a steady pace, “Fracture” remains deeply compelling, drawing audiences into its intriguing narrative. The film’s strengths, particularly the dynamic between Gosling and Hopkins, make it a gem worth celebrating and rewatching even to this day.

As Gosling showcased his talent as a co-star with an acting legend like Anthony Hopkins, “Fracture” played a significant role in further establishing him as a versatile and accomplished actor in Hollywood. It stands as a testament to the power of exceptional performances and an engaging storyline, making it a thrilling and satisfying courtroom thriller.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

“Lars and the Real Girl” marked a daring and rewarding performance for Ryan Gosling, showcasing his willingness to step outside the conventional box of roles. In this eccentric film, Gosling takes on the character of a delusional man who forms a deep emotional attachment to a life-size doll he purchased online. This role was a departure from his typical romantic interests or dramatic leads, and it offered a glimpse into the softer and stranger aspects of his acting talent.

Gosling’s portrayal of the quirky and vulnerable Lars laid the groundwork for his exploration of other comedic and off-center roles in his later career. The movie allowed him to display a different side of his acting abilities, proving his versatility and willingness to take on unique and unconventional projects.

With “Lars and the Real Girl,” Gosling demonstrated his ability to tackle challenging and unorthodox roles, cementing his reputation as an actor who isn’t afraid to push boundaries and embrace diversity in his filmography. The film remains a standout example of his willingness to take creative risks and embrace the more unconventional aspects of storytelling.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine (2010)

“Blue Valentine” is a gut-wrenching and emotionally impactful film that features Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as onscreen romantic partners. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, the movie showcases raw and genuine performances by Gosling and Williams, which feel incredibly rare and brutally realistic.

In their portrayal of a deeply troubled relationship, Gosling and Williams deliver performances that are unafraid to delve into the most painful aspects of love. The film acts as a poignant meditation on the complexities of love and doesn’t shy away from exploring the difficult and challenging aspects of a relationship.

The Believer (2001)

The Believer (2001)

“The Believer” is a gripping and intense film, based on a true story, where Ryan Gosling takes on one of his darkest and most challenging roles. He portrays a racist K.K.K. member who is later exposed as being Jewish by a New York Times reporter. In this powerful and unique narrative, Gosling delivers a tour de force performance, showcasing his exceptional acting abilities.

Through “The Believer,” Gosling demonstrates his innate gifts as an actor, bringing depth and complexity to the character he portrays. His portrayal of this passionate and disturbing individual is both haunting and compelling, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

The film’s powerful messages and exploration of profound themes add to the weight of Gosling’s performance, making “The Believer” a memorable and thought-provoking experience.

Barbie (2023)

Barbie (2023)

In 2023, “Barbie” became a massive box office success, largely due to the outstanding casting of Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie. Gosling’s portrayal of Ken was a standout, demonstrating his charismatic and self-deprecating charm as the character who lives in Barbie’s shadow.

As Ken, Gosling showcased his intelligence as an actor, fully immersing himself in the role. His performance highlighted not only his acting talent but also his singing, dancing, and comedic abilities, proving his unmatched versatility as a performer.

The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys (2016)

“The Nice Guys” is undoubtedly one of the standout comedies of the 21st century, showcasing Ryan Gosling’s impressive comedic chops. Teaming up with Russell Crowe, Gosling portrays one of the two private investigators in this enjoyable and hilarious film set in 1970s Los Angeles.

Gosling’s performance in “The Nice Guys” allowed him to emerge as a skilled comedic actor, proving his versatility once again. The chemistry between Gosling and Crowe adds to the film’s charm, making it a delightful and entertaining watch.

The Big Short (2015)

The Big Short (2015)

“The Big Short” is undoubtedly one of the best and most innovative corporate comedies ever produced, serving as a defining work for director Adam McKay’s signature filmmaking style. The film features an outstanding ensemble cast, including Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale, coming together to create an energetic and engaging portrayal of the 2008 housing crisis.

Despite delving into a not-so-exciting topic, “The Big Short” triumphs in captivating and educating its audience about the complexities of the financial crisis. The film doesn’t shy away from exploring the intricacies of the incident, making it one of the most original and exceptional entries in Gosling’s filmography.

La La Land (2016)

 La La Land (2016)

La La Land” indeed became an instant classic upon its release in 2016, enchanting audiences with its musical love letter to Los Angeles. The film brilliantly showcased Ryan Gosling’s abilities as a pianist and singer, further establishing him as a leading actor in Hollywood with a wide range of talents.

The movie’s captivating storytelling, outstanding original score, and exploration of intimate themes resonated deeply with viewers, especially artists chasing their dreams. “La La Land” beautifully portrayed the sacrifices that accompany the pursuit of ambitious goals, making it relatable to many.

Gosling’s performance in “La La Land” is undeniably a shining moment in his career. His portrayal of the character was authentic and emotionally captivating, earning him widespread praise and accolades.

The film’s enduring charm and Gosling’s stellar performance have solidified “La La Land” as one of the most celebrated and cherished movies of its time, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of audiences and further cementing Gosling’s status as a talented and versatile actor.

Drive (2011)

Drive (2011)

“Drive” indeed became Ryan Gosling’s claim to fame in the early 2010s and remains a beloved cult classic. In this immensely stylish film, Gosling takes on the role of a cool yet enigmatic protagonist with a penchant for violence. The movie is a masterclass in suspense and action, delivering pure cinematic adrenaline and enjoyment.

Gosling’s performance in “Drive” is iconic and has become one of the most recognizable staples of his entire career. He effortlessly embodies the character’s mysterious and compelling nature, leaving a lasting impact on audiences. The film also showcases the visionary directorial abilities of Nicolas Winding Refn, who brought a unique and captivating visual style to the movie.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

“Blade Runner 2049” is indeed an innovative and revolutionary science fiction film that stands as one of the finest sequels in cinematic history. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the movie is a tour de force with its magnificent score, breathtaking cinematography by Roger Deakins, and innovative use of sound.

The film’s layered and thoughtful story, along with its exploration of philosophical themes, adds depth and complexity to the narrative. “Blade Runner 2049” successfully pays homage to the original “Blade Runner” while forging its own path, creating an authentic and seamless continuation of the beloved franchise.

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