Child actors are an interesting phenomenon. Oftentimes, they burn out on acting quickly after losing that child-like charm. The ones who don’t transition into adulthood well can often be seen having many problems, including drug or alcohol abuse. Occasionally, child actors can find their niche and continue acting long after their initial pre-pubescent roles run out. Ryan Gosling might be known for his film roles now, but he was a child actor at one point, starring in many television shows including the Mickey Mouse Club, Breaker High, and Young Hercules. Perhaps the reason for his continued success is due to his boyish charm following him into adulthood. Still, Gosling has taken a few breaks in his acting career to refocus his efforts. This week’s two films highlight some of Ryan Gosling’s diverse roles.
Length: 123 minutes / 2.05 hours
Ryan Gosling’s foray into film started soon after his television career finished. For a few years, his work mainly consisted of independent films, which is why his appearance in The Notebook is considered by many to be his breakout role. Of course, this would only be the first of a few different romantic films for Gosling, which ran the gamut from the socially awkward Lars and the Real Girl (2007), to the divorce drama Blue Valentine (2010), to the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011). Similar to his Notebook co-star, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling is Canadian, took a brief hiatus in the middle of his career, does extensive role research, and was mostly known for his role in the film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel until other, future roles started getting more attention and recognition.
On a sweltering June day in South Carolina, Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) tries to impress a girl he’s got his eye on. While he shows off for her at a carnival, Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) falls for him, despite her parents’ displeasure with the affair. When her parents take her away from the country town, Noah writes her every day, but to no avail. When World War II hits, Noah goes off to war, only to return home to a few surprises. One is that he now has the finances available to fix up an old house he had promised Allie. The second is that Allie is now engaged to a rich southern gentleman. Despite this second surprise, Noah fixes up the house in the hope that it would attract Allie back to him, which it does. As they reconcile, they learn that it was Allie’s mother keeping Noah’s letters from her. She now has to make a decision which she will live with for her entire life.
Length: 100 minutes / 1.67 hours
For the women who might be drawn to a film starring Ryan Gosling because of his performance in the aforementioned The Notebook, they should be warned that there are quite a few of his films which are quite violent. In fact, Ryan Gosling’s films provide a great compromise for couples. Every time a guy is required to watch The Notebook, he should get to watch a film like Drive. While this film was his first foray into action films, he’s since performed in other thrillers including The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) (directed by Derek Cianfrance, who also directed Blue Valentine (2010)) and Only God Forgives (2013) (directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who also directed Drive). The only unfortunate aspect of Drive is that Gosling’s quiet, soft-spoken protagonist seems to follow him into his other works as well.
The day jobs of Ryan Gosling’s unnamed main character are merely a cover for his evening job of driving getaway vehicles, for which he will give the criminals five minutes to perform their crimes. Fortunately, since these day jobs are around cars, either repairing them or driving them as a stuntman, the Driver is skilled at escaping from crime scenes. When he gets involved in a few different mafia altercations, the Driver finds himself helping out his neighbor by driving the getaway car for a pawn shop heist that goes south. As he gets patched up at the auto shop, he learns that both interactions with the two different mafias are actually linked to the same man: Nino (Ron Perlman). Now the Driver is out for revenge, hunting down each member of the mafia connected to the crimes as he himself is hunted by a larger, New York mafia.
2 sum it up, 2 films, 2 great Gosling performances
Bacon #: 1 (Crazy, Stupid, Love / Kevin Bacon)