1. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

IMDB Rating: 7.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Storyline:
Set in the summer of 1983, “Call Me by Your Name” is the transcendent tale of first love between Elio Perlman (Chalamet), the 17-year-old son of a Jewish-American professor, and Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student assisting Elio’s father. The film unfolds in an idyllic Italian setting and is a profoundly moving exploration of passion, innocence, and burgeoning sexuality.

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet’s performance as Elio is nothing short of revelatory. His commitment to beautifully embodying the nuances of a young man dealing with the confusion, excitement, and heartache of first love was universally praised. His eloquent physicality and expressive face communicates his character’s journey better than any dialogue could. Despite his age, Chalamet demonstrated a maturity and depth in his acting that set a high standard for his future roles promoting him to a serious actor on global cinema’s platform.

Beyond his technical prowess, Chalamet’s portrayal of Elio is a celebration of humanity in all its complex emotional hues. This role not only required him to navigate a range of emotions and physical experiences, but to do so in multiple languages. His journey through the film, which ranges from curious innocence to passionate grief, is exceedingly resonant. His performance was so powerful it earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, making him the youngest nominee in that category in almost 80 years, thus underlining the significance of this role in his career.

2. Little Women (2019)

IMDB Rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Storyline:
In the reboot of the classic Louisa May Alcott tale, Chalamet expertly plays the charming and somewhat aloof, Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence. Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the story follows the March sisters as they navigate the challenges of growing up, each battling their own set of unique struggles, with Laurie being a central figure in their lives.

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet’s portrayal of Laurie effectively brings a sense of youthful exuberance, charisma, and depth to a character who has been depicted in multiple adaptations. His striking chemistry with Saoirse Ronan (Jo March), along with his ability to weave between Laurie’s jovial charm and deeper emotional vulnerabilities, gave audiences a fresh and deep look into a cherished character. Chalamet brings a modern interpretation to a classic role that demonstrates his versatility and proficiency in embodying complex characters within a historical context.

Apart from Laurie’s charm, what set Chalamet’s performance apart is his ability to render the character’s darker, more troubled undertones. His portrayal of Laurie’s heartache, recklessness, and eventual maturity gave this adaptation a dreamy, melancholic quality. Chalamet’s exquisite performances take the audiences on an emotional roller coaster ride which leaves a lasting impact. This layered depiction of ‘Laurie’ made Chalamet’s performance standout in a star-studded ensemble, leading him to a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

3. Beautiful Boy (2018)

IMDB Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%

Storyline:
Based on the memoirs of father and son David and Nic Sheff, “Beautiful Boy” tells a heartbreaking yet hopeful story of addiction, recovery, and the unwavering love of a father for his son. Timothée Chalamet plays Nic, a high-achieving student with a troubling addiction to methamphetamine.

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet’s performance as Nic was widely recognized for its authenticity and emotional depth. The portrayal of a young addict is a complex one that requires navigational flexibility within emotional highs and lows and Chalamet does that masterfully. His portrayal goes beyond the physical aspects of addiction, tapping into the human spirit’s struggles under such circumstances. It’s a raw, real, and heart-wrenching performance that once again demonstrated Chalamet’s phenomenal range as an actor.

For Chalamet, Nic’s role required significant physical transformation and emotional turmoil. Johnny Depp’s former agent Tracy Jacobs, who later became Chalamet’s agent said that Chalamet’s understanding of the character was so profound that he embodied the severe weight loss of a meth addict even before stepping into Nic’s shoes. At the same time, his depiction of the struggle for sobriety, the battling relapses, and the desperate attempts to rebuild ruptured relationships genuinely convey the destructive nature of addiction. His balance of tenderness, sadness, and chaos in the portrayal of Nic earned him nominations for both SAG and BAFTA awards.

4. Lady Bird (2017)

IMDB Rating: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

Storyline:
Told through the lens of a rebellious high-school senior in Sacramento, California, “Lady Bird” is a sharp-witted and poignant exploration of adolescence, first loves and the turbulent bond between a mother and daughter. Chalamet plays Kyle Scheible, a brooding musician who becomes a love interest for Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan).

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet’s portrayal of Kyle in this film provides an intriguing insight into his ability to transform and differentiate his on-screen personas. Though he doesn’t have as much screen time as in some of his other films, his performance leaves a tangible impact. He effortlessly embodies the disaffected cool of the self-styled rebel, playing the role with an intriguing mix of nonchalance and emotional depth.

In exploring Kyle’s complexities, Chalamet effectively portrays the troubled and somewhat pretentious side of teenagerhood. His character provides a meaningful counterpoint to Lady Bird’s experiences, serving as an essential part of her journey towards self-realization. Chalamet’s subtle performance and on-screen chemistry with Ronan plays a crucial part in the film’s narrative unraveling, demonstrating his ability to make every character portrayal count, regardless of the screen time.

5. The King (2019)

IMDB Rating: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

Storyline:
Loosely based on several plays from William Shakespeare’s “Henriad”, “The King” tells the story of Hal, wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne who, after his tyrannical father dies, must step into a world of politics and war that he had previously sought to escape. Timothée Chalamet plays the protagonist, King Henry V of England.

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet’s portrayal of King Henry V showcases his impressive capability to undertake demanding historical roles, revealing yet another facet of his acting range. Not only does he successfully embrace the difficulty of a period character with its requisite Shakespearean English, but he also brings a depth and understanding to a character thrust into leadership with all its associated burdens. His instinctive performance adds a layer of realism to the movie.

Beyond linguistic mastery and character understanding, Chalamet also excels at embodying the physical trials of King Henry V, from grueling battle scenes to violent 1:1 combat, demonstrating his commitment to the role. His nuanced execution of the young king’s emotional battle of reconciling with the choices he has to make conveys the profound inner torment of the character excellently. This performance, exhibiting Chalamet’s multi-faceted acting range, firmly establishes him as a versatile and dedicated actor who can handle a diverse portfolio of characters with aplomb.

6. A Rainy Day in New York (2019)

IMDB Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 2%

Storyline:
A Woody Allen film, “A Rainy Day in New York” is a romantic comedy about a college student Gatsby Welles (Chalamet) and his girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) whose plans for a romantic weekend together in New York City are dashed as quickly as the sunlight turns into showers.

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet takes on the character of Gatsby, a cynical and witty young man with a knack for winning poker games and a distaste for his parents’ high-society lifestyle. He provides a refreshingly sarcastic and slightly neurotic approach to the character, resulting in a comically delightful performance. Chalamet’s ability to pull off a comedic role sets him apart as a versatile actor.

Though the film received a mixed critical response, Chalamet’s performance was widely considered to be a bright spot. His interpretation of Allen’s neurotic character coupled with his ability to deliver dialogue with natural ease showcased another dimension of his acting abilities. His on-screen chemistry with co-actors like Elle Fanning and Selena Gomez also adds to his character’s charm and makes him relatable and genuine. Regardless of the overall reception of the film, Chalamet’s performance contributes to the diversification of his acting repertoire.

7. Hostiles (2017)

IMDB Rating: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Storyline:
“Hostiles” is a Western drama that tells the story of a U.S Army officer who is assigned to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family to their tribal land. Chalamet plays Pvt. Philippe DeJardin, a member of the escort party.

Why it’s a major performance:
Even though Chalamet’s screen time in the film is brief, he manages to leave a lasting impression. His portrayal of a young and vulnerable soldier in the brutal atmosphere of the American frontier captures the audience’s attention and proves that Chalamet also has a capability to adapt to any character that comes his way despite screen time.

While many might overlook this short yet impactful performance, it’s important to note that Chalamet’s role in “Hostiles” came at a crucial time in his career. It allowed him to step into an ensemble cast alongside seasoned actors like Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike. It once again demonstrated his caliber as an actor, where he held his own amid an experienced cast and managed to stand out with his performance.

8. Miss Stevens (2016)

IMDB Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Storyline:
In “Miss Stevens”, a drama-comedy film, Chalamet plays Billy Mitman, a high school student with behavioral issues whose emotionally charged monologue in a high school drama competition forms one of the film’s most intense moments. His teacher, Miss Stevens (Lily Rabe), takes him and two other students to a drama competition out of town.

Why it’s a major performance:
Chalamet’s portrayal of Billy, a troubled teenager bordering on emotional instability, was a standout performance in the film. He captures the spirit and the emotional turmoil of his character with an intensity that’s both heartfelt and powerful. Chalamet’s portrayal displays a range of natural adolescent mannerisms combined with the complexity of deeper mental health issues, displaying his versatility even early in his career.

Chalamet brings with him an improvisational quality to his character, delivering a realistic portrayal of teenage anxiety, maturity, and the quintessential feeling of being misunderstood that encompasses many young adults. Taking on such a nuanced role demonstrates Chalamet’s commitment to exploring intricate characters and has received immense critical acclaim for it.

9. Hot Summer Nights (2017)

IMDB Rating: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%

Storyline:
Set in the summer of 1991, “Hot Summer Nights” features Chalamet as an awkward teenager, Daniel, who gets in over his head dealing drugs with the neighborhood rebel while pursuing his new business partner’s enigmatic sister.

Why it’s a major performance:
In this film, Chalamet delivers a performance that is at once vulnerable and self-assured, capturing the contradictory elements of his character with an evocative intensity. The film introduced us to a different facet of Chalamet’s acting prowess – his ability to balance the innocence of first love with the darker shades of the underworld.

Despite the film’s mixed reviews, Chalamet’s compelling performance makes it worth watching. His unique flair for channeling the angst of young characters combined with his ability to portray a resonating transformation into a more worldly, damaged individual is noteworthy. Chalamet’s distinct facial expressions and body language used to portray the unnerving situations Daniel gets himself into demonstrate his dedication to embody every nuance required for his character.

10. Interstellar (2014)

IMDB Rating: 8.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Storyline:
In Christopher Nolan’s science fiction film “Interstellar,” Chalamet plays Tom, the son of Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot. Set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive, the film follows Cooper’s interstellar voyage to find a new home for mankind.

Why it’s a major performance:
Only 17 when filming, Chalamet gives an understated but impactful performance as Tom – a character who embodies both hope and despair. His controlled portrayal of a young man facing an uncertain future on a dying earth nestled alongside seasoned actors make his role noteworthy.

Though it was a relatively small role, “Interstellar” was his first major feature film and introduced him to a wider audience. It was a significant step for his acting career as he got to work under Nolan’s direction with a star-studded cast. This role showed his potential to become a promising young star that he eventually turned into.