Whilst Ryan Gosling may be more recognisable to audiences through his role as the lovelorn Noah in the above-average romantic drama The Notebook, Gosling is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the finest actors of his generation.
His performances in both Half Nelson and Blue Valentine were almost painful in their honesty. In his Oscar-nominated performance as Dan, a drug-addicted teacher in Half Nelson, Gosling perfectly captured both the private and public life that Dan had initially so seamlessly created for himself, flawlessly capturing the difficultly Dan increasingly experiences in keeping his drug taking separate from his career.
Gosling’s performance as Dean in Blue Valentine displayed a growing maturity within his work. As Dean, Gosling is heart-wrenchingly raw; his increasing desperation as he clamours to save his marriage is almost unbearable to watch, guaranteed to stay with the viewer long after its completion.
His Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (2009) was wonderfully animalistic, capturing the cruelty depicted in Brontë’s novel, which is so often diluted once depicted on screen. Hardy’s Heathcliff was guttural, calculating and devious, and yet, in spite of this, Hardy was able to ensure that Heathcliff was consistently attractive to the viewer. The viewer could understand Cathy’s attraction, despite the callousness of his acts.
With the success of Inception along, with his engaging performance, Hardy is set to receive even greater attention with the announcement of his involvement in The Dark Knight Rises.
Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in Winter’s Bone was hugely impressive, especially considering that it was her first major role. Earning her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, her portrayal of Ree Dolly was both wonderfully mature and simultaneously vulnerable, as the young Ree is forced to find an inner resilience in aiding her family’s plight.
Lawrence arguably has a rather considerable burden of viewer expectations to contend with. A lesser actor may shy away from the anticipation that will surely attach her next film role, but the assured and confident nature of her performance ensures that her Oscar nomination is surely the first of many.
Jerry Bruckheimer work aside, Arterton has proven herself to be a fine actress both on screen and on stage. Her Tess in the BBC’s adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles was tragically naive. Arterton flawlessly captured Tess’s almost chronic innocence, made all the more heartbreaking by Arterton’s affecting performance as we see Tess transform from pure youth to world-weariness.
Arterton is ever engaging, even in lacklustre affairs, such as Tamara Drewe, her performance remains a joy to watch. Arterton truly is a delight to watch, regardless of the often questionable quality of her films.