Ryan Gosling is the greatest thing that ever happened to this world.
This may seem like an exaggeration, but when you really think about it, I speak only the truth.
I will confess, with some shame, that I first fell in love with the man when I watched The Notebook. I’ve never been a hopeless romantic, let alone a fan of Nicholas Sparks novels—two people fall in love despite difficulties, someone usually dies, the end–but Ryan Gosling made it work, made it bearable, made it—dare I say—enjoyable.
It only goes to show just how talented the guy is. Looking at Gosling’s roles throughout his career evinces the versatility of his characters and his adept interpretation of each one. Think back to Remember the Titans. Here he played an awkward, lanky suburban kid trying really hard to integrate into a completely new environment. And he did it so convincingly it was almost painful to watch his geeky attempts at dancing. Then there’s Lars and the Real Girl. I never thought something so innately creepy could be turned into such an incredibly endearing story, but that’s exactly what the man does. You watch him as he descends further and further into the comfort of his own imagination; the psychological trauma is so poignant that when his “girlfriend” passes away you feel like he actually lost someone close to him, but you’re happy to see he’s recovering and returning to the real world. From that he delves into the thriller All Good Things, where Gosling’s stop-at-nothing ambition seriously scares the shit out of you. Inspired by the story of heir-to-be Robert Durst, the film follows a wealthy couple as their relationship falls apart, culminating in the disappearance (and presumed murder) of the wife. It’s difficult to imagine that Gosling could be anything but loveable, but this movie shows an entirely different side to him. This is also the case in Blue Valentine. After The Notebook, my only image of Gosling was the Prince-Charming-Happily-Ever-After-Type, but that’s not at all the case in this story of failed love. It starts off a lot like the familiar cheesy boy-meets-girl plot, but quickly unravels into an all too real tale of a couple wed too young and no longer happy. (Not to mention it features Gosling doing by far the best rendition of “You Always Hurt the One You Love” you will ever hear.) More recently I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love, where he’s transformed from a womanizer into a devoted, monogamous boyfriend. Of course neither the badass ladykiller role or the perfect boyfriend were any stretch for Gosling, but I have never in my life seen anyone look so attractive while eating Sbarro’s pizza. For that alone he should win an Oscar. And finally, there’s Ryan Gosling in Drive. To put it simply, there’s a reason Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 93% rating. Gosling plays a stunt driver moonlighting as a driver for various heists in and around the Los Angeles area. He’s kind of a lone wolf until he meets the girl next door, a single mother whose husband is in jail. After he starts spending more time with her and her son, his life takes on a newfound purpose. Then shenanigans ensue, there’s a lot of violence, and Gosling sacrifices himself to save the woman he loves. As I said, awesome has finally found its physical embodiment.
But wait there’s more! A few months ago video surfaced of two men in New York City fighting on the street. About halfway through, the pair are interrupted by a third man trying to pull them apart. That third man, ladies and gentlemen, is Ryan Gosling. The woman recording can be heard saying (very excitedly) to her friend, “That’s the guy from The Notebook!” He breaks up the fight, picks up his bags, and calmly walks away as if he wasn’t emanating more swag in his right thumb than the entire cast of Entourage (not that I have anything against them).
As if all of this weren’t enough, he also has a band. The result of a collaboration with friend Zach Shields and the children’s choir of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, Dead Man’s Bones produces darker, drawling, indie rock. We could go on for hours about his career as a singer (he first started on the Mickey Mouse Club alongside Justin Timberlake), but listening to him on tracks like “Name in Stone” or “Lose Your Soul” is sufficient to make anyone fall head over heels for Gosling.
Whether it’s his innumerable talents or his everyman persona or being quoted as having said, “I’m in a relationship with Disneyland,” the man can simply do no wrong. Everyone loves Ryan Gosling, and with good reason. Ryan Gosling is perfect; Ryan Gosling is the embodiment of cool; Ryan Gosling is everything everyone has ever wanted to be. Simply put, Ryan Gosling is a god come down from the heavens to grace us with his presence, the greatest thing that ever happened to this world.