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Top Ten Movies Starring Ryan Gosling

Updated on July 7, 2014

Mr. Ryan Gosling


"Lars and the Real Girl" Movie

1.) "Lars and the Real Girl"

When I saw a preview for this all I could think was that it sounded creepy. It's a story of a guy named Lars - played by Ryan Gosling- who is lonely and orders one of those weird life size sex doll things to be his make believe girlfriend. After watching it one night after finding nothing else interesting on Netflix, I never once felt creeped out by the story. I felt sad throughout it, but never grossed out. The fact is the idea of this story seems like it would be scummy, but it's not. Lars isn't sexual. He's an emotionally immature man who still has his blanket from when he was a kid that his mom made him. He wants to have a relationship though despite this. So he orders a life size doll and treats her as if she was alive. In his mind she is alive. He reads to her and speaks to her and cares for her. He has kind of an old fashioned relationship with her. This scares his brother, who has his brother see a psychologist who says to let Lars continue having his delusion since he isn't hurting anyone. This movie is intensely sad. It's an exploration of how people want to belong and want to have companionship. It's a very lonely and isolated movie. This role seemed like Ryan Gosling's way of distancing himself as far as possible from his romantic role in "The Notebook". He gained weight for this role and is almost unrecognizable. While this isn't something to watch again and again, if you like movies that are different and more dramatic give this a view.

"Lars and the Real Girl" Trailer

"All Good Things" Movie

2.) "All Good Things"

This movie is based on a true story with fictionalized names for the characters. Ryan Gosling's plays the character David Marks. He's a man of an extremely wealthy and very powerful family, and he hates it. There's obviously something a little off about him. He meets Katie- played by Kirsten Dunst ("Marie Antoinette")- and they fall in love. He deliberately distances himself from his family once they marry by opening up an all natural food store called 'All Good Things'. These days of their lives are full of happiness. He's forced to return to working for his father's business however and their lives begin to downward spiral until Katie suddenly goes missing right before they were on the threshold of divorce. The police try to figure out where she is. To this day the real life woman who Katie is based on was never found. This is another role where Ryan Gosling is nearly unrecognizable. You can see that there's something off about his character without anyone pointing it out exactly. It's by his acting alone that you see this about the character. I feel like he should have received much more acclaim for this role. This isn't a pleasant movie and there's many scenes of violence and just plain creepiness, but it's worth seeing Ryan in such a role.

"All Good Things" Trailer

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" Movie

3.) "Crazy, Stupid, Love"

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" follows nearly all the characters' crazy and stupid love situations. The main character is Cal -played by Steve Carrell ("Dan In Real Life")- whose wife cheats on him and wants a divorce. He goes into a big slump and gets drunk every night at a bar. Ryan Gosling's character -Jacob- can't stand what a wuss he's being and teaches him how to own his manhood again and to pick up on women. The other crazy love stories in this movie are: Cal's son is in love with his babysitter, the babysitter is secretly in love with Cal, Cal's wife is cheating on him with David Lindhagen (whose name constantly is said like it's some sort of disease by Cal), and Jacob runs into a girl named Hannah at the bar who he falls for and she begins to change his player ways. The plot just gets crazier and loonier the closer it gets to the end. I thought it was hilarious and cried tears of laughter more than once.

Ryan Gosling isn't a lead in this movie, yet his character in here is so hilarious you can't discredit this role. Again, he's virtually different than any of his other roles in this movie. He must have trained like mad to prepare for this role, because he's totally cut in this. His muscles look like they're photoshopped! (this is something Emma Stone's character says to him.)

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" Trailer

"Blue Valentine" Movie

4.) "Blue Valentine"

This one is a hate/love type of movie. It's a realistic look at a relationship that shows how the beginning can be good and how the end of a relationship can be difficult and painful as you realize it's falling apart. The couple in this movie are portrayed by the actors Michelle Williams ("My Week With Marilyn") as the uptight Cindy and Ryan Gosling as the alcoholic Dean. The movie jumps back and forth from the beginning of their relationship to the decline. At the beginning Cindy and Dean end up dating each other after Dean sees her and decides to talk to her because he thinks there's something different about her. Cindy initially doesn't seem interested in him, but she had a bad relationship right before meeting him and decides to hang out with him. The film flip flops from this time period to the past where Cindy is unhappy all the time and working really hard. She seems to be stressed out by Dean and their little daughter. Dean has become a bit of an alcoholic with a job as a house painter. Ryan and Michelle are both great in this movie. It's worth it to see. It's sad, it's true, it's heartbreaking.

"Blue Valentine" Movie

"Half Nelson" Movie

5.) "Half Nelson"

This is a movie that defies stereotypes and racism. It shows how no matter who a person is or what they do for a living it does not make them either a good or bad person. Ryan Gosling plays the main character: Dan Dunne. He's an inner city school history teacher, the school basketball coach, and he's fairly well liked by the students. The students are engaged in his class and listen to him for the most part. He's also a drug addict. One day he is caught in the school locker room about to smoke crack by a student of his: Drey (Shareeka Epps, "American Milkshake"). Drey is surprised and disappointed that her teacher was using drugs. She doesn't report him though. The movie then jumps to Drey's life and away from Dan's life. The movie shows how she lives with her mom, her brother got busted for something involving drugs and is in prison, her father is absent from her life, and a man in her neighborhood keeps offering to help her out. Dan begins keeping an eye out for Drey out of guilt that she caught him and notices the man that's Drey's neighbor at one of Drey's basketball games cheering her on. He doesn't like him and attempts to keep Drey away from him, while the man in turn tries to keep Drey away from Dan.

What makes this movie great is Dan is never pictured as a saint just because he's the caucasian teacher to a bunch of inner city kids the way so many movies make such a teacher out to be. Yes, he's a teacher and his students like him but he is a drug addict. His life is not glamorized like "Wolf on Wall Street". His life is bland, sparse, solitary. He rarely sees his family, his girlfriend cleaned up and broke up with him, and he doesn't treat women well likely because he's on drugs most of the time. Dan's attempts to keep Drey safe aren't even a way to make him seem like the good guy. The audience is able to admit it's nice of him to want to help Drey out, yet there's so much negative about Dan's life that you still can't love his character. The man in Drey's neighborhood (he's African American) also want to help Drey out though, but he's a drug dealer. He also does nice things like help Drey out and try to be friendly to most of the people in their neighborhood, but he's still a drug dealer. I get the feeling he only does it for the money since he never seems to be using drugs. He still provides a toxic kind of friend for Drey to have even though he doesn't seem to be an addict. So this movie neither stereotypically singles out African Americans as the bad guys or makes the caucasian teacher into the good guy. Neither Dan or Drey's neighbor are good or bad. They're both human. Drey is shown to be aware of the negative and positive sides of both men. She's my favorite character in this movie. She's a bit of an observer. She sees all and knows all that's going on and is at that point where what she decides to do based on these people being in her life could ruin her life forever or make her grow and rise up above it. You hope throughout the movie that she will rise up, because she seems like a smart and sweet girl just surrounded by bad influences. She teaches Dan quite a bit about himself and makes him want to be a better person. In the very end it's implied that her being his friend begins to make him move toward bettering himself.

This movie is definitely something that should be seen by anyone. It would even be an interesting movie to be shown in a race or culture class or in a health class during a segment on learning about the dangers of drug use.

"The United States of Leland" Movie

6.) "The United States of Leland"

This is a movie that came out pre "The Notebook" fame for Ryan Gosling. This movie is an open perspective of why people commit the crimes they do. Ryan plays the main character named Leland. He stabs an autistic boy and ends up in juvenile hall. The question everyone is asking is: Why did he do it? It's revealed that the autistic boy is the brother of a girl he was in a relationship with and they've broken up. It's also revealed that Leland comes from a broken home and rarely sees his father. These things are brought up and questioned if this has made Leland the way he is, but did it and is it fair to consider if these were factors?This movie has the actors: Jena Malone ("Catching Fire"), Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine"), Kevin Spacey ("American Beauty"), Don Cheadle ("Iron Man 2"), Kerry Washington ("Django Unchained"), and Chris Klein ("Wilfred"). It's a sad, reflective movie. It's painful to watch in some moments, but there's messages in it that anyone can take something from. Based on the recent shootings and stabbings in United States schools and public places on the rise, watching this movie made me a little uncomfortable yet it made me wonder if this was how those shooters or stabbers felt. And if so this is a problem that really needs to be addressed. For that reason alone I think more people need to see "The United States of Leland" and if they know someone like Leland try to help them before things cross the line.

"The Ides of March" Movie

7.) "The Ides of March"

Press spokesman Steven (Ryan Gosling) works the cut throat campaign of a potential president nominee (George Clooney, "The Men Who Stare At Goats". He's also the director). Based on the real life experiences of a spokesman who worked on the Howard Dean's 2004 failed presidential run. The role of Ryan's makes you experience exactly what the character does. The audience can feel his emotions, his confidence, frustration, anxiety, and panic. I'm glad Ryan got this role because he's perfect at displaying his emotional turmoil. This movie will leave a sour taste in your mouth at seeing the stuff that rarely sees the light of day about politics. You also learn those timeless words of wisdom: Don't screw the intern.

If you're curious about the process of politics this is a good movie to see. The cast besides Clooney and Gosling includes some great talent. Some of the other outstanding actors include: Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote"), Paul Giamatti ("The Illusionist"), Marisa Tomei ("My Cousin Vinny"), Evan Rachel Wood ("Across the Universe"), and Jeffrey Wright ("Quantum of Solace").

"The Notebook" Movie

8.) "The Notebook"

While some may disagree with this one being on this list you have to admit that this role is very unlike most of what Ryan Gosling has done and proves how versatile he is. "The Notebook" is about an old man reading a story from a notebook to an old woman in a nursing home. The story he reads takes place in the 1940s before, during, and after World War 2. Ryan Gosling's character- Noah- is one of the people in the story. He falls for a rich girl named Allie (played by Rachel McAdams, "Sherlock Holmes") who is spending the summer in his small town. The two spend the summer together and are in love, until her parents decide to leave early to distance the two of them from each other as they don't approve of the much poorer Noah. Noah tries to get her back than falls into a depression, joins the military to fight in World War 2 then comes home and builds their dream house that they talked about with money he got from the government and from his dad selling their old house. Allie's character comes across Noah's picture in the paper of him standing in front of his house that he's trying to sell. She's engaged to be married to someone else. yet decides to see Noah. This movie isn't everyone's thing. I think it's hands down the best Nicholas Sparks movie adaptions of them all though, as many of them are way too mushy or unbelievable. I can believe that a love story like this might have happened in the 1940s and it's not too mushy. It's a story about love, but there's also other things going on including World War 2, family struggles, and a look at how different incomes can affect how someone might see you. Ryan Gosling isn't in a lot of romantic leading man roles so this is unique to see.

"The Notebook" Trailer

"Stay" Movie

9.) "Stay"

This isn't a movie I'd ever heard of until I decided to put this list together and was looking over all of Ryan Gosling's movie in my spare time. It's a psychological thriller type of movie. It's about a psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor, "Big Fish") who has a patient an art student who was the sole survivor in an accident (Ryan Gosling) who tells him he is going to commit suicide on the Saturday of that week. The psychiatrist tries to find a way to save his patient before he goes through with it by looking for clues in his patient's past as to why he wants to commit suicide and by enlisting the help of his formally suicidal girlfriend (Naomi Watts, "Diana"). He begins to lose his own hold on reality as he looks for clues into his patient's past. This movie definitely didn't get the attention it deserves. It's similar to "Fight Club" or "The Prestige" with a bit of a twist ending, which is all I'll say about that. As for Ryan Gosling's performance in this he's really excellent as this dark, mysterious character. I really think he's going to be like Christopher Lee someday by continuing to play dark characters when he is older if he stays in acting because he's great in dark roles similarly to how Christopher Lee is great in dark roles. Both of them can create a presence that can make you scared in the depths of your mind, yet both of them can switch it up and be alluring or attractive. Maybe Christopher Lee did that more when he was younger. Hey don't judge. Look back on some of Christopher Lee's younger year movies. He was a really good looking guy that was both dark and intimidating and yet attractive. Which is something that Ryan Gosling has done in many of his roles.

"Stay" Trailer

"Gangster Squad" Movie

10.) "Gangster Squad"

"Gangster Squad" is set in 1949 Los Angeles. Two cops (played by Josh Brolin, "True Grit" and Ryan Gosling) lead a squad that are trying to take down the mob leader Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn, "Milk"). "Gangster Squad" is not as good as many other cops and mobsters movies, but it still sticks to that style. What I like about cops and mobsters movies is how typically the cast is very memorable looking. You remember exactly what each of the characters looks like. The each have a unique thing about them that you remember, such as a mole, or a hairstyle, or a certain article of clothing, or a big nose, or a big forehead. "Gangster Squad" was no exception to this and made sure to cast plenty of very memorable faces. Josh Brolin stole the show in this movie, but Ryan Gosling is still good in this. Some people I know complained that his voice is different in this, yet I think it proves that he wants to immerse himself into a character. He doesn't want to be himself when he acts (what actor does really?) so he takes chances with his characters and changes their voices. He actually does this in several movies even if the movie doesn't call for an accent. He just changes the pitch of his voice from his natural speaking voice to change into the character. In "Gangster Squad" his voice is a little higher in pitch and I really didn't feel like I was listening to Ryan talking but to his character talking. The other thing I like about this movie is Emma Stone ("Easy A") and Ryan Gosling's characters' scenes together. They work really well together (just like they did in "Crazy, Stupid, Love). While yes "Gangster Squad" is not the best movie ever if you like action movies with that old school mob and cops theme it's worth it to see.

"Gangster Squad" Trailer

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