5 Underrated Jake Gyllenhaal Movies

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Oscar-nominated Jake Gyllenhaal is the star of many blockbuster films, including Oscar winner Ang Lee Brokeback Mountain and Richard Kelly’s cult classic Donnie Darko. A method actor dedicated to his craft, he’s been known to undergo crazy makeovers for his roles and dropped 30 pounds to play Lou Bloom in Dan Gilroy. Somnambulist.

Gyllenhaal is best known for the films above, but with a career spanning three decades, he’s starred in many other gems that often get overlooked. At Miguel Arteta’s the good girl at Bong Joon-Ho Okjathese are the Jake Gyllenhaal films that fans may have missed.

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“As a girl, you see the world as a giant candy store full of sweet candies and such. But one day, you look around, and you see a prison, and you’re on death row” – thus begins the dramatic comedy of Miguel Arteta The good girl, which is anything but fluffy. Dark and depressing, it follows Retail Rodeo employee Justine (Jennifer Aniston), a 30-year-old Texan who is fed up with her monotonous life and her stupid husband Phil (John C. Reilly). Entering into an affair with her young colleague Holden (Gyllenhaal), Justine begins to live out a fantasy, but can it sustain itself?

Gyllenhaal’s most underrated film, the good girl divided mainstream audiences but received critical acclaim. As it stands, the dramedy has a 6.4 rating on IMDb and an 82% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience score of 59%. Positive reviews stand out for Jennifer Aniston’s performance — which is surely one of the best of her career — and Arteta’s darkly comedic characters. Gyllenhaal’s melodramatic and creepy Holden may be the funniest, but Cheryl, who has nothing to do with Zooey Deschanel, and Mike White’s Bible-bashing Corny, offer strong competition.

Another dramatic comedy with grain, that of Jean-Marc Vallée Demolition follows a banker, Davis Mitchell (Gyllenhaal), mourning his recently deceased wife. In the midst of a nervous breakdown, Davis becomes inconsolably angry at a broken vending machine and begins sending complaint letters to the machine’s manufacturer. this altercation brings him into contact with customer service representative Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts) with whom he forms a deep platonic relationship.

Demolition offers an interesting portrait of grief that is metaphorical and authentic. As Davis mourns and goes through the five stages of grief, Gyllenhaal does his best impression of each, giving his all in anger. Known for playing chaotic characters, the actor is well-suited to play Davis, who smashes and smashes things in one instant, and kindly offers advice to Karen’s wayward son Chris (Judah Lewis) in the next.

Originally created with Eminem in mind, Antoine Fuqua’s brand left-handed is a sports drama with a lot of heart. Here, Gyllenhaal plays the lead role of boxing champion Billy Hope, who loses his zest for life when he loses his family. At rock bottom, Billy meets veteran Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), who inspires him and sets him on the path to reviving his career and regaining custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence).

Although Gyllenhaal wasn’t the first choice for the role, it’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing him. As he did with Somnambulist, the actor completely transformed to play Billy, gaining 28 pounds of lean muscle to achieve the boxer’s buff physique. And not only that, but his trainer Terry Claybon also trained him as a boxer. As the actor tells Bodybuilding, “You can’t play a boxer and just look like a boxer, you have to believe you can exist in this world.” Prior to this gig, Gyllenhaal showed a similar level of dedication with the crime thriller End of guard tourspending five months accompanying LAPD officers.

Directed by Bong Joon-Ho, who would later win multiple Oscars for his film Parasite, Okja tells the story of a young girl, Mija (Seo-Hyeon Ahn), and her beloved “super pig” pet Okja. One of many, Okja is declared the best super pig by zoologist Dr. Johnny Wilcox (Gyllenhaal) and is taken away by pseudo-ecologist Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) to be made into meat. En route to New York, Okja becomes the target of Jay (Paul Dano) of the Animal Liberation Front, who teams up with Mija to free the pig.

A cross between Ace Ventura and Steve Irwin, Johnny is unlike any character Gyllenhaal has played before; utterly bizarre and unhinged, he’s the embodiment of a fever dream, and it’s a delight every time he’s onscreen. With his screaming voice, exaggerated movements and “eclectic” fashion sense, Johnny provides comic relief for audiences and a lot of delight for the actor, who seems to be in his element playing him.

Based on Jeff Bauman’s 2014 memoir of the same name, David Gordon Green’s Stronger stars Gyllenhaal as Jeff, an ordinary man who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. Here he co-stars with Tatiana Maslany, who plays Jeff’s girlfriend, Erin Hurley, a marathon runner. Affected by the bombing in different ways and harboring grievances towards each other, the film sees the couple trying to mend their relationship as Jeff rebuilds his life from the ground up.

Gyllenhaal delivers an incredibly raw and emotional performance here that does justice to Jeff’s true story. While the film is inspiring, it doesn’t romanticize Jeff’s struggle, and while he’s a hero, the character isn’t without its flaws. A victim of circumstance, he spends much of the film angry at the world and at Erin, whom he was only at the marathon to support. His words, “Do you show? Do you show? I’m fucking coming, for you“, which are said in a fit full of rage, are a punch for viewers who sympathize with both sides and the acting in this scene is something to behold.

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