1. The Notebook (2004)

IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%

Storyline

This film is a romantic drama which honestly encapsulates the nature of passionate but unreachable love. It tells the story of Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), two young lovers who meet during a summer vacation in the 1940s. They share an unforgettable summer of passion and desire, but are tragically separated by Allie’s upper-class parents. In the end, they struggle to overcome the class divide, loss, and aging in their own unique ways.

Why it’s a major performance

The Notebook is one of Gosling’s breakout roles, propelling him into the public eye as a charismatic and tender actor. As Noah, Gosling excel in embodying the emotions and desperation of being hopelessly in love, his performance elevating the story from a simple romance into a sublime contemplation of love and loss. He displayed a remarkable ability to carry intense emotional scenes, making the audience feel the depth of his character’s struggle and love.

Gosling’s chemistry with Rachel McAdams is palpable throughout the film, adding a layer of realism to their forbidden romance. With the role of Noah Calhoun, Gosling proved his ability to lead a major Hollywood production, setting him up for a long and successful career in film. It’s a performance that still resonates with his fans and audiences worldwide, marking it as a standout in his filmography.

2. La La Land (2016)

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Storyline

In this beloved musical directed by Damien Chazelle, Ryan Gosling stars as Sebastian, a jazz pianist who falls in love with struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone). As they each pursue their own dreams in modern-day Los Angeles, they find that their aspirations might just tear them apart. A colorful collage of music, dance, and Hollywood dreams, La La Land explores love in its various guises, through both success and failure.

Why it’s a major performance

Gosling delivers a multi-faceted performance as Sebastian, balancing a nostalgic longing for classic jazz with the harsh realities of being a modern artist. He managed to showcase his charm, wit, and depth in this role, making Sebastian relatable and compelling. Whether he was hammering chords on a piano or dancing in the Los Angeles dusk, Gosling brought passion and commitment to every scene.

Gosling’s chemistry with Emma Stone is magnetic, each scene pulsing with energy and emotion. The multiple awards and nominations Gosling received for this role are a testament to his acting prowess, his ability to anchor a major musical film, and his commitment to embodying his character’s dreams and desires. La La Land is a shining example of Gosling’s talent for conveying deep human emotions through complex characters.

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