thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Posts Tagged ‘drive’

The Allure of Ryan Gosling: Drive

In gender, Uncategorized on February 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

Sarah S.

Where did Ryan Gosling come from? I mean, I know he was a Mouseketeer and that he turned a couple heads in The United States of Leland and The Notebook. Even still, he seemed to come out of nowhere with Half Nelson, having undergone a foggy transformation from burgeoning boy-wonder to serious thespian. He has since been cultivating a persona built upon a precious (pretentious?) commitment to avant-garde idealism, a dryly humorous willingness to mock Hollywood, and an outrageous-yet-dapper personal style. Also, abs. His counterparts are James Franco and the late Heath Ledger. Yet while Franco’s antics seem more and more annoying (and Ledger’s death more and more tragic) Gosling’s star continues to rise and rise and rise. So, again, where did Ryan Gosling come from? Wherefore lies his particular allure?

Gosling has been slowly perfecting a unique filmic masculinity that hearkens back to Clint Eastwood and John Wayne while feeling entirely fresh and new at the same time. His characters are usually reticent, incapable of or unwilling to be expressive, to share their inner souls. He specializes in blank, enigmatic looks that make you want to swoon-scream: “What are you thinking?” Even his extraordinarily verbose husband in Blue Valentine seemed to speak only because he desperately wanted to know what his wife was feeling and yet equally desperately could not hear what she said. He seems untouchable, un-get-at-able. He’s the opposite of the tortured, emo, vampire boys, the Louises and Edwards and Bills and Stefans, with their obsession with endlessly reporting their tortured, eternal angst. Yet like them he also seems out of time, specializing in films that look set in an earlier time but aren’t (Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, Drive). Gosling’s filmic masculinity hits its apex in Drive, with a character so mysterious he does not even have a name; he’s only know as Driver. Read the rest of this entry »