It’s Hugh Jackman‘s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are five performances from the acclaimed comedic and dramatic actor. Check some of these out!
Bad Education (2019)
Hugh Jackman has played a wide variety of roles, and with those characters he’s been able to show audiences his considerable range, but rarely, if ever, has he played a character as slimy as Frank Tassone. As the man at the centre of the largest school embezzlement scandal the United States has ever seen, Jackman absolutely owns the screen whenever he’s on it, and masterfully crafts a performance that reads as thoroughly charming and indefensibly loathsome.
Hopefully Denis Villeneuve works with Jackman again at some point in the future, because the work they were able to do together here is second to none. Jackman plays a tormented father pushed to the edge of his morality by circumstances beyond his control, supported by a truly stellar cast including Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Viola Davis. It’s essential viewing, and that’s before you get to the breathtaking Roger Deakins photography.
The Prestige (2006)
Some would argue this is Christopher Nolan’s best film, and while I don’t know how anyone could possibly say that when they’re so spoiled for choice, how about this for an argument: Robert Angier is Hugh Jackman’s best character. An obsessive illusionist with a score to settle, a point to prove, and a chip on his shoulder, Angier allows Jackman to bring everything to the screen from flamboyant showmanship to berserker rage. That’s before taking the character’s secret into account, or acknowledging that Jackman gets to play his own alcoholic doppelganger, so there’s a little comedy thrown in there too. What could could possibly compete?
The Fountain (2006)
A metaphysical, metafictional journey through love and loss via space and time with the best Clint Mansell score ever (sorry, Moon!) The Fountain isn’t for everyone, but the people that it’s for? It’s really, really for. Few films scratch this particular itch, and it very nearly didn’t get made. It almost didn’t star Hugh Jackman at all. The incarnation before Jackman was cast alongside Rachel Weisz was double the budget and set to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. A script rewrite and a recast saved the project, so this is quite literally a film that likely wouldn’t exist without the birthday boy.
After defining his career for the better part of two decades, the X-Men series finally provided Jackman with the solo Wolverine film that he deserved. Director James Mangold puts some distance between Jackman’s swansong as the character that made him a household name and any previous X-Men stories the audience might remember by setting the film in a slightly more distant future and elegantly calling the continuity of those into question. This is an X-Men story, it’s a Wolverine story, but it stands alone. It’s interesting to see the director of The Wolverine flip from making that — the run-of-the-mill superhero movie he presumably felt obliged to make, and a much more wonky schlockbuster — to fighting for something a lot closer to his heart, an homage to Shane, with a sci-fi edge. It’s a stunning end result, and a miracle of a movie.
Those are five Jackman films I recommend you check out sometime. Now what are some of your favorite films to feature birthday boy Hugh Jackman?