Ryan Gosling is back on the big screen this week as he teams up with Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale for new film The Big Short, which marks the return of Adam McKay to the director's chair.

The Big Short

The Big Short

Gosling is a bit of a favourite here at FemaleFirst and we always look forward to seeing the latest film offering from the Oscar winner... The Big Short has been winning over the critics and I can't wait to see him in action as part of this exciting ensemble cast.

We take a look back at Gosling's career and some of his finest performances to date.

- Drive (2011)

When it comes to Ryan Gosling movies, Drive really is one of his best performances and one of my favourite of the actor's movies. It was back in 2011 when the film hit the big screen and saw Gosling team up with filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn for the first time.

Drive is based on the book by James Sallis and followed a stuntman and mechanic who gets himself into real trouble when he tries to help out his neighbour and her family.

To say he doesn't speak all that much is a bit of an understatement, and he still manages to create a powerful character that is full of mystery and intrigue. From start to finish, it is just a captivating performance from the actor: he gives more away with a single look that he could ever do with words. This is a very different kind of character and performance from Gosling and he really does excel.

Both Gosling and the director understand the power of silence and use it perfectly in this movie. They make a very exciting movie-making team and they went on to reunite for Only God Forgives and I hope that we see them work together again in the future.

Drive was one of the finest films to hit the big screen in 2011 and it was Gosling's mesmerising central performance that really elevates this film to something more.

While Drive was a critical hit, it is a film that should have received far more awards attention than it actually did; why it was overlooked for a Best Picture Oscar nod is anyone's guess.

Drive

- Half Nelson (2007)

Hard to believe that it is almost ten years since Gosling starred in Half Nelson. While Gosling was no stranger to the big screen at this time, Half Nelson really was a movie that showed off a very different side to him as an actor.

Gosling took on the central role of Dan Dunne, an inner-city high school teacher who struggles with a drug habit. Dunne strikes up an unusual friendship with one of his students when she discovers his secret.

Half-Nelson sees Gosling deliver a wonderful performance and he was rewarded with his first Best Actor Oscar nomination; he lost out to Forest Whitaker for his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.

Director and writer Ryan Fleck, delivers a gritty and interesting script that Gosling well and truly gets his teeth into. There is a truly raw and real feel to Half-Nelson and that is what makes it such a powerful and rather emotional watch.

Through Gosling's performance, Half Nelson becomes an interesting and complex character study of a self-destructive teacher who tries to stop one of his students making the same mistakes as he has. These two characters may have been brought together by rather dark circumstances, but their central relationship is what truly shines in this film.

I love that this is not your usual and clichéd inspirational teacher movie as Fleck and Gosling are keen to tell a very different story that is engaging and thought-provoking from start to finish.

Half Nelson

- Blue Valentine (2011)

Derek Cianfrance returned to the director's chair for only the second feature film of his career in 2011, as he teamed up with Gosling and Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine. This was to be the first collaboration between the director and Gosling; who would work together again on The Place Beyond the Pines in 2013.

Blue Valentine marks the ups and downs of the relationship between David and Cindy over several years. The movie moves back and forth charting how they met, their years of marriage, the failure of that marriage, and the role both of them played in that failure.

What I love about Blue Valentine so much, is it is not your love conquers all Hollywood romance story. While there are elements of romance in the film, the director shows that there are ups and downs in every relationship, love can break your heart, and love can leave a scar. It really is quite a brilliant and bold breathe of fresh air.

Both Gosling and Williams deliver powerful and compelling performances and have brought to life complex and rounded characters that are people we can truly relate to. Blue Valentine is a touching and rather sincere portrait of the collapse of what was once a loving relationship; showing that real life and real love is not always the fairytale that you hope it will be.

Gosling and Williams are just magnificent together as they capture the passion, the love, and the hate that exists between this couple at different stages in their relationship. The chemistry between the pair really is fantastic and they both deliver knockout emotional punches that will truly break your heart.

Blue Valentine

- The Ides of March (2011)

2011 was a hugely successful year for Gosling and in the autumn, he teamed up with George Clooney for The Ides of March. The movie was the fourth feature film of Clooney's directing career; he also starred in the film alongside Gosling and penned the film's screenplay.

The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate's shot at the presidency.

I love a good political thriller and The Ides of March is one of the best in recent years, in fact, it was one of the best films of 2011 for me. You get caught up in the underhand dealings of the politicians and the people around them from the opening frame - as Clooney shows politics is a game that some will do anything to win.

The Ides of March is a movie that explores themes of loyalty and idealism in what is a provocative, intelligent, and compelling drama.

Gosling delivers another terrific performance as he finds his loyalty to his candidate truly tested as events unfold throughout the film. From start to finish, The Ides of March is a smart chess game as we see all the major players trying to outwit each other to best serve themselves. It truly is gripping stuff.

The Ides of March

Other great Gosling movies include Lars and the Real Girl, The Notebook, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Crazy Stupid Love.

The Big Short is released 22nd January.


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