Scritto da: Lucia Senesi
Michelangelo Antonioni, L’eclisse v/s Terrence Malick, Song to song
I want to say something about Ryan Gosling and why he’s such a great actor. After seeing Song to song I understand it completely. Here is the fact with Ryan Gosling, his acting is based on what he decides not to do. Consider this: Blue Valentine, on the bridge. Michelle Williams says she’s pregnant. “Is it mine?” he asks. The answer: “I don’t know”. “You don’t know?” In that situation, actors could scream or get crazy, but not Ryan Gosling. He has his own reactions: anger, disappointment, fragility, love, everything at a glance. Ryan Gosling is never under or over the line, but in his elegant, personal dimension. You can understand the power of his “calm” acting only later, years later, when you think about a certain film and you reconnect it to him, because you remember him more than the rest.
Again: Song to song, kitchen. Rooney Mara says she had sex with another man. “How many times?” he asks, again his own reaction: frustration, impotence, desire, everything in small amounts, small movements, and his expressions. Ryan Gosling’s acting is all in his face and in his body, not because he’s beautiful but because he’s authentic. You look at him and you know that he knows; it’s not about acting, it’s about life. He knows what working means, what it means not to fight against people who give you work because you need it to survive. Ryan Gosling renounces from being a hero to being a normal guy, but better, because also if his characters are constantly disappointed, by love, by work, by life, he accepts that. He learned how to master the experience of defeat. And actors much older than him can’t do that. Ryan Gosling is extremely mature, in a way you can’t expect from a celebrity or a sex-symbol, and that’s why you need years to understand him. Everything is natural in him, but behind that, there’s a huge technique that allows him to always be different. Ryan Gosling is faithful to Ryan Gosling but not to his characters, even when they’re very similar. He can say such stupid things like “You’re beautiful” or “You’re the only one I love”, and you trust him, you feel he’s telling the truth. No way you can listen to other actors saying that stuff, but again, he’s Ryan Gosling. There’s not a moment of pretense with him, never.
He doesn’t consider himself handsome, he can’t look at the girl he likes in the eyes, he’s not afraid to show his fragility. So he’s more handsome, more sexy, so when he finally looks at her, the audience is disoriented and unprepared, and feel that moment as unique.”Do you have a boyfriend? What’s his name?” he asks, walking behind Rooney Mara, the way Marcello Mastroianni, in Fellini 8 1/2, says “Claudia, di chi sei innamorata, con chi stai, a chi vuoi bene?”.
Ryan Gosling works in subtraction, he’s a minimalist, so he allows his partners to shine in their oscar performances, but the truth is they win the Oscar because of him. He doesn’t win the Oscar also because his acting is not american at all. If we want to refer to someone, we have to come back to the old european cinema: Marcello Mastroianni, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Alain Delon. Discretion and elegance, this is Ryan Gosling, and this is the reason why it’s basically impossible not to love him.