Every Ryan Gosling movie, ranked by critics

Image
Ryan Gosling has acted in a range of movies. Lionsgate/New Line Cinema/THINKfilm
  • Ryan Gosling is best known for films like “La La Land” (2016) and “The Notebook” (2004). Over the course of his career, he has played love interests, football stars, and historical figures.
  • Films like “Stay” (2005) and “Murder by Numbers” (2002) were critical misfires.
  • Gosling’s highest-rated films include “The Nice Guys” (2016) and “Drive” (2011).
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ryan Gosling has taken on a range of roles, from the swoon-worthy leading man in “The Notebook” (2004) to the comedic buddy-cop in “The Nice Guys” (2016).

Insider looked back on Gosling’s career and ranked his filmography according to critical ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Read on to see how his movies stacked up.

Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change. Films without critical scores were not included.


Gosling’s lowest-rated movie is “Stay” (2005).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘Stay.’ 20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 27%Summary: In the suspense thriller “Stay,” a psychiatric patient named Henry Letham (Gosling) mistakes fiction for fact as his psychologist (Ewan McGregor) attempts to save him from a spiraling psychosis.

Despite the cast of top-billed actors, the psychological drama left most critics unimpressed.

BBC reporter Matthew Leyland chalked it up as a little more than a “head-scratching thriller.”


The actor played Richard Haywood in “Murder by Numbers” (2002).

Image
Ryan Gosling starred alongside Sandra Bullock in this mystery thriller. Castle Rock Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%Summary: In “Murder by Numbers,” a small town in California is rocked by a gruesome murder. Detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) races to connect the dots as evidence points towards local resident Richard Haywood (Gosling).

Critics praised the acting performances in “Murder by Numbers,” but they were less enthusiastic about the story itself.

“Bullock is good, the script is not,” Richard Roeper reviewed.


In “Gangster Squad” (2013) he was Jerry Wooters.

Image
Gosling played a cop working to take down a mob boss. Warner Bros./YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%Summary: In the crime drama “Gangster Squad,” mob boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has 1940s Los Angeles under his thumb until his mafia is undermined by two police officers: John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Gosling).

Critics largely agreed that “Gangster Squad” had the components of a riveting mafia movie, but it floundered in execution.

“‘Gangster Squad’ looks the part, but it’s so superficial it practically evaporates before our eyes,” Tom Charity wrote for CNN.


He was Leland Fitzgerald in “The United States of Leland” (2003).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The United States of Leland.’ Paramount/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 34%Summary: “The United States of Leland” is a drama that centres around Leland Fitzgerald (Gosling), a young man who is convicted for a crime he does not remember. As he retreats within himself, a prison teacher (Don Cheadle) tries to understand his story.

Despite having a stellar cast, “The United States of Leland” was criticised for its lack of relatable characters.

“[Hoge] spends an awful lot of time trying to get us to understand Leland and almost none trying to get us to understand his victim,” wroteChicago Reader critic Mike Ervin.


Gosling starred in “All Good Things” (2010) as David Marks.

Image
‘All Good Things’ was inspired by Robert Durst’s life. Magnolia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 35%Summary: Inspired by the life of Robert Durst, “All Good Things” follows David (Gosling) and Katie Marks (Kirsten Dunst) as their seemingly perfect marriage falls apart under the pressure of David’s father (Frank Langella).

Overall, critics felt like “All Good Things” was rife with interesting material but suffered from an ambling plot.

“There’s a fascinating story here for a bolder filmmaker, but after so much meandering it’s a relief that ‘All Good Things’ must come to an end,” Joe Williams wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


The actor was Julian in “Only God Forgives” (2013).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘Only God Forgives.’ Steven Tweedie

Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%Summary: In the intense thriller “Only God Forgives,” a drug trafficker named Julian (Gosling) sets off on a bloody path to avenge the death of his older brother.

Visually inspired, “Only God Forgives” earned mixed reviews from critics who felt like the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, placed style over substance.

“There’s no joy or folly or transcendence,” wrote Wesley Morris in his review for Grantland. “It’s a one-dimensional video game of death, with Gosling as its star.”


In “Song to Song” (2017) he was BV.

Image
Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara in ‘Song to Song.’ Broad Green Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 44%Summary: Set in Austin, Texas, “Song to Song” details the relationship of four aspiring musicians: Faye (Rooney Mara), BV (Gosling), Cook (Michael Fassbender), and Rhonda (Natalie Portman).

Uniquely filmed and plotted, sometimes to a fault, “Song to Song” received criticism and admiration alike.

“There are some inspired visual flourishes and it is a film with its own weird stamina and momentum: sometimes exasperating, sometimes mesmeric,” Peter Bradshaw wrote for the Guardian.


He starred opposite Rachel McAdams in “The Notebook” (2004).

Image
‘The Notebook’ is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel by the same name. New Line

Rotten Tomatoes score: 53%Summary: Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, “The Notebook” is a romantic drama about Noah Calhoun (Gosling) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), a pair of star-crossed lovers who were kept apart because of their class differences.

The story itself left something to be desired, but critics couldn’t get enough of Gosling and McAdams’ chemistry.

“The movie may be highly disposable, but the individual scenes of Gosling and McAdams just acting and just connecting are wonderful to watch,” Joe Baltake wrote for the Sacramento Bee.


Gosling appeared as himself in the documentary “My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn” (2015).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.’ ‘My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn’/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%Summary: In the documentary, “My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn,” filmmaker Liv Corfixen details the making of her husband’s directorial drama “Only God Forgives” as they live and work in Thailand.

Gosling appeared in the documentary as himself.

“My Life Directed” reflected Refn’s artistic process and also served as a glimpse into the filmmakers’ marriage, but some critics weren’t sure if it warranted a full-length picture.

“Too uncomfortable to be a mere bonus feature and too slight to feel relevant outside of those curious about Refn, perhaps it will just represent a stepping stone for Corfixen as she reclaims her own creative endeavours,” Nicholas Bell reviewed for Ion Cinema.


The actor narrated “ReGeneration” (2010).

Image
Ryan Gosling narrated ‘ReGeneration.’ Anonymous Content/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%Summary: In the documentary “ReGeneration,” Gosling narrates commentary on the unique sociopolitical issues younger generations face while they use social media as a tool for change.

Critics largely enjoyed the documentary, even if some felt that several of the questions it raised weren’t fully fleshed out.

“Could certainly use some honing of intent and argument, but it still paints a commingled ghastly and hopeful portrait of early 21st century America,” wrote film critic Brent Simon.


In “Fracture” (2007), he played Willy Beachum.

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘Fracture.’ New Line Cinema

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%Summary: In “Fracture,” ambitious prosecutor Willy Beachum (Gosling) is blindsided by a manipulative defendant (Anthony Hopkins) who turns a seemingly easy court case into psychological warfare.

Despite the film’s safe, and sometimes silly, choices, the lead actors gave noteworthy performances.

“Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling go at each other with so much gusto that their performances bring a lot of fun to material that is actually quite preposterous if you stop and think about it,”Michael Compton wrote for the Bowling Green Daily News.


He was Alan Bosley in “Remember the Titans” (2000).

Image
Ryan Gosling played a member of the football team. Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%Summary: Set in in 1970s Virginia, Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) is tasked with coaching the football team of a recently integrated high school.

Gosling appeared as football player Alan Bosley, alongside castmates like Donald Faison and Wood Harris.

Predictably plotted but charming nonetheless, “Remember the Titans” was warmly received by most critics.

“The film is quite lightweight for the subject matter, but Washington and company make it watchable,” Bob Grimm wrote in his review for the Sacramento News & Review.


Gosling played another football player in “The Slaughter Rule” (2003).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Slaughter Rule.’ Cowboy Pictures/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%Summary: Small town teenager Roy Chutney (Gosling) grapples with the loss of his distant father as he’s taken under the wing of football coach Gideon Ferguson (David Morse) and recruited to a six-man team.

Well-acted and well-directed, “The Slaughter Rule” was received as an imperfect drama that was still worth watching.

“The movie has a bred-in-the-bone sense of place, and a willingness to take big emotional risks,” David Ansen reviewed for Newsweek.


The actor had a starring role in “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’ Focus Features

Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%Summary: In the crime drama “The Place Beyond the Pines,” the lives of two young fathers – Luke Glanton (Gosling) and Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) – collide after a string of bank heists.

With a free-floating camera and switching perspectives, “The Place Beyond the Pines” wasn’t for every critic, but it wowed most.

Film critic Katie Smith-Wong wrote, “Great performances, interesting narrative, although unevenly structured, ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ is very much a character drama.”


In the ensemble comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011), he was Jacob Palmer.

Image
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%Summary: After his wife Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) asks for a divorce, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) tries to win her back with the help of a suave playboy (Gosling).

The setup may sound predictable, but critics said the film was ushered along by fun dialogue and a fantastic ensemble cast.

“For long stretches, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ is a sharp, decidedly superior romantic comedy whose top-rate performers and fizzy dialogue go a long way to overcoming its tired set-up,” Sukhdev Sandhu wrote for the Daily Telegraph.


He played Lars in “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007).

Image
His character introduced a life-sized doll as his new girlfriend. MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%Summary: Lars (Gosling) surprises his older brother (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law (Emily Mortimer) when he introduces a mannequin as his new girlfriend.

A few critics thought it was a smidge off-kilter, but “Lars and the Real Girl” was mostly received as a sweet, honest, and well-performed drama.

“The film is often very funny,” Liz Hoggard wrote in her review for the London Evening Standard. “The acting is first-class, especially Gosling, who never patronizes his character.”


Gosling was in “The Believer” (2002) as Danny Balint.

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Believer.’ Fireworks Pictures/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%Summary: In “The Believer,” Jewish New Yorker Danny Balint (Gosling) becomes radicalized as a neo-Nazi while he leads a gang entrenched in racism.

Intense and breathless, “The Believer” pinned critics to their seats.

“[Gosling’s] combination of explosive physical energy and convincing intelligence helps create a complex, unpredictable character,” wrote Globe and Mail critic Jennie Punter.


The actor played Stephen Meyers in “The Ides of March” (2011).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Ides of March.’ Sony Pictures/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%Summary: In “The Ides of March,” press secretary Stephen Meyers (Gosling) has positioned his candidate (George Clooney) for a landslide victory, but a single meeting with the opposing campaign manager (Paul Giamatti) changes the course of the election.

A political drama that ticks away with suspense, “The Ides of March” earned rave reviews from a number of critics.

Little White Lies critic Jonathan Crockerdescribed it as, “A dark drama that gleams with pure quality.”


In the documentary “Seduced and Abandoned” (2013) he appeared as himself.

Image
Ryan Gosling spoke about the film industry in this documentary. Transmission Films/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%Summary: To secure funding for an upcoming film, James Toback and Alec Baldwin travel to the Cannes Film Festival.

Gosling and other actors, like Jessica Chastain and Diane Kruger, commented on their experience working in the industry.

Critics enjoyed the banter between the two filmmakers and the energy they brought to their endeavour.

“Baldwin and Toback make a snappy comic duo, and half of their talks with a line-up of luminaries focus on the art of filmmaking rather than the business,” Dave Calhoun wrote for Time Out.


He portrayed Neil Armstrong in “First Man” (2018).

Image
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in ‘First Man.’ Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%Summary: “First Man” traces the incredible careers and trials of Neil Armstrong (Gosling) and his colleagues as they train for their unprecedented Apollo 11 spaceflight.

With its inventive cinematography and immersive nature, “First Man” blew critics away.

“It’s a movie where the technique matches the ambition, one that moves from tragedy to grandeur to personal drama without becoming bombastic or even worse, falsely patriotic,” Paul Byrnes wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald.


Gosling starred opposite Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine” (2010).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘Blue Valentine.’ The Weinstein Company

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%Summary: Dean Pereira (Gosling) and Cindy Heller (Michelle Williams) fall in and out of love over the course of their turbulent marriage in “Blue Valentine.”

“Blue Valentine” was decidedly dark and somber in critic’s eyes, but it refused to shy away from showing the harsher aspects of love.

Denver Post critic Lisa Kennedy wrote that the drama “comes on like a bittersweet cautionary tale.”


The actor was Jared Vennett in “The Big Short” (2015).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Big Short.’ Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%Summary: In “The Big Short,” Wall Street trader Michael Burry (Christian Bale) bets against the housing market in 2008, pulling the attention of banker Jared Vennett (Gosling) and hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum (Carell).

“The Big Short” was praised by critics as an electrifying, humorous, and riveting look into the housing market crash.

“Adam McKay’s raucous comedy… manages the unlikely feat of being wildly entertaining while telling a complex and ultimately depressing story,” Geoffrey Macnab wrote in his reviewfor the Independent.


In “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) he was K.

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘Blade Runner 2049.’ Alcon Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%Summary: Set in the near future, “Blade Runner 2049” centres on a mercenary known as Officer K (Gosling) who uncovers a secret that could destroy what little remains of society.

Critics praised “Blade Runner 2049” for its immersive world-building and stunning special effects.

“Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins give us staggering new visions of the future, ones that confound and trance and mystify in ‘Blade Runner 2049’ even while making rich cinematic senses,” Bob Mondello wrote for NPR.


Gosling starred as Dan Dunne in “Half Nelson” (2006).

Image
Ryan Gosling was nominated for best actor in a leading role at the 2007 Oscars for his performance. ThinkFilm

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%Summary: History teacher Dan Dunne (Gosling) finds an unlikely friend in a student (Shareeka Epps) as his addiction to drugs and alcohol threatens to undermine his teaching career.

“Half Nelson” was praised for its notable filmmaking style and impressive performance that earned Gosling an Oscar nomination for best actor in a leading role.

“It’s a thoughtful character study with Gosling simply tremendous as the functioning addict,” wrote theeditorial staff of the Mirror.


He played Sebastian in “La La Land” (2016).

Image
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in ‘La La Land.’ Summit Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%Summary: In the musical drama “La La Land,” aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) falls for jazz pianist Sebastian (Gosling) under the sparkling stars of Los Angeles, but different career ambitions strain their relationship.

Critics were dazzled by Stone and Gosling’s chemistry and Damien Chazelle’s direction.

“It has a powerful message that lifts you from your chair, pulls you by the ears and forces you to continue with the task of fulfilling your dream,” Ricardo Gallegos reviewed for Pólvora.


Gosling was in Holland March in “The Nice Guys” (2016).

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Nice Guys.’ Warner Bros./YouTube

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%Summary: A beleaguered private eye named Holland March (Gosling) and a hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) strike up an unlikely partnership as they track down a missing woman (Margaret Qualley).

A funny throwback to the 70s, critics across the board had a blast with “The Nice Guys.”

“Who knew Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe would make such a side-splitting pair?” Laura Bradley wrote in her review for the Daily Beast.


He played the titular driver in “Drive” (2011), his highest rated film.

Image
Ryan Gosling in ‘Drive.’ FilmDistrict

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%Summary: The film follows a nameless driver (Gosling), a Hollywood stuntman by day and criminal getaway driver by night, after a heist gone-wrong threatens the safety of his neighbour (Carey Mulligan).

“Drive” impacted reviewers on a deep level and garnered praise, admiration, and awe.

“In ‘Drive,’ a film directed by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, we find an ingenious mix of the best of road cinema from the 70s and neo-noir criminal intrigue,” Yasser Medina wrote in his Cinemaficionados review.