Canadian actor Ryan Gosling has become one of Hollywood’s most recognized stars and biggest heartthrobs. Starting his career at a young age, Gosling appeared in Disney Channel’s The Mickey Mouse Club, Are You Afraid of the Dark?and a television series based on RL Stine’s goose bumps. He went on to appear in both independent films and major blockbusters over the years. After more than two decades on screen, Gosling has established an impressive resume and dedicated following.
Director Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has cast Gosling in the role of Ken. While Gosling has been recognized for his work in films such as drive, The Nice Guysand Blade Runner 2049, he has also been remembered for his involvement in many romantic films. The charm and the good looks he brought to his roles will never be forgotten. Here are Ryan Gosling’s best romantic movies, ranked.
5 The Notebook
Released in 2004 and based on the 1996 novel of the same name, The Notebook resulted in a major boost to Gosling’s stardom. The romantic drama had Gosling in the main role of Noah “Duke” Calhoun opposite Rachel McAdams’ Allison “Allie” Hamilton. The Notebook was an American production, but its two leads were Canadian actors who were both born in the city of London, Ontario. The titular “notebook” referred to a notebook Duke used to reflect on his love story, which took place in the 1940s. There were some interesting twists, but overall The Notebook was riddled with an abundance of film clichés. Nevertheless, it still succeeded in being both romantic and surprisingly sad. Most of the viewers who were able to look past the cheese, were able to find something to love about this movie.
4 Crazy, Stupid, Love
Cal Weaver (played by Steve Carell) was a man in his 40s who seemingly lived a happy life. Unfortunately for Cal, he later discovered that his wife had been having an affair and wanted a divorce. Following their separation, Cal experienced great difficulty navigating his new single life. However, a ladies’ man named Jacob Palmer (Gosling) arrived quickly to save the day. It took on the task of teaching Cal how to be more successful with women. The energy of the duo was hilarious. The film balanced romance with comedy, while simultaneously not undercutting its more serious moments. Elevated by solid performances from a cast that included Julianne Moore and Emma Stone, Crazy, Stupid, Love was one of the most fun and memorable romantic films of the 2010s.
3 Lars and the Real Girl
The 2007 romantic comedy-drama, Lars and the Real Girl, received critical acclaim despite its financial failure. Unlike many of Gosling’s other roles, his character, Lars, was socially inept and unable to allow people get close to him. Lars was a man who struggled to deal with the guilt surrounding his mother’s death at childbirth. As someone needing but lacking a deep human connection, Lars ordered a lifelike doll named Bianca on the internet. Lars treated Bianca as if she was a real person, though he was never interested in a sexual relationship. The rest of town treated Bianca as if she was a real woman, helping Lars overcome his guilt and eventually open up to the world. Lars and the Real Girl managed to avoid cheap laughs and entering what could have been very vulgar territory. Fortunately, it was a funny, sweet, and original film about learning to deal with trauma.
2 Blue Valentine
before Marriage Story portrayed a marriage falling apart, there was Blue Valentine, which released nine years prior. The film was presented in a non-linear format, jumping between the different stages of the main characters’ relationship. Blue Valentine told the story of Dean Pereira (Gosling) and Cindy Heller (Michelle Williams), who were initially in love. Their marriage was unable to withstand the great difficulties that came their way. The film was depressing, but also felt refreshingly emotionally honest. There was no sugar coating tied with a happy ending. Not every romantic relationship was meant to last, and that’s what Blue Valentine portrayed. For his performance in the film, Gosling received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.
1 La La Land
La La Land was a dream project for Whiplash director Damien Chazelle. The film won many awards, including a record-breaking seven awards from seven nominations at the 74th Golden Globes. Gosling played a struggling jazz pianist, Sebastian “Seb” Wilder, who crossed paths with aspiring actress Amelia “Mia” Dolan (Emma Stone). While audiences who watched La La Land did not necessarily pursue a career in the arts like Seb and Mia, the film carried themes that were universal. Viewers connected with Seb and Mia’s struggle to make their dreams come to fruition, and how the film portrayed life not going exactly as planned.
Even with the fantastical musical numbers and colorful costume design, La La Land remained thematically grounded in reality. That blend of dreamlike fantasy and reality was what made the film so unique and charming. Seb and Mia successfully landed their dream careers, but at what cost? Script, direction, production design, cinematography, music, performances — everything came together in La La Land seamlessly. What Chazelle, cast, and crew achieved was nothing short of extraordinary.