hugh jackman the fountain

Crying Like a Man in The Fountain (2006)

Some actors are far too reserved when their characters should be bawling their eyes out. Hugh Jackman isn’t one of those actors. He holds nothing back in The Fountain – when the love of his life dies, he straight-up ugly cries. When he’s by himself, applying his first tattoo, he looks like a guy who’s been completely and utterly destroyed. He looks like a man who has lost the love of his life. The character is completely alone and helpless, and Jackman makes it all the more upsetting by not being afraid to lay himself emotionally bare. (Jack Giroux)

hugh jackman the fountain 2

That Look of Wonder in The Fountain (2006)

The Fountain is a raw and sensitive movie, the cinematic equivalent of an unseen emotional wound. It’s the kind of film that comes very close to biting off more than it can chew, a film that could fall apart instantly if any involved winked. But in Hugh Jackman, director Darren Aronofksy found a leading man ready and willing to take on the absurd with a straight face. There’s bravery in looking to the unknown and expressing wonder. Because wonder isn’t cool. It’s a little silly. It’s being overwhelmed in the presence of something you cannot comprehend. It’s being a little afraid. And the ending of The Fountain, where Jackman embarks on the “road to awe,” finds him completely surrendering to the moment. Do not let the instant meme-ability of this moment dilute its power. (Jacob Hall)

The Final Scene in The Prestige (2006)

There’s a lot to unpack in the final moments of The Prestige (and spoilers ahead, if you haven’t seen this movie), where the two, or rather three, magicians at the heart of the film have their final confrontation. Christian Bale’s Alfred Borden is executed for a murder he did not commit…only for his twin brother, who has been hiding in the shadows all these years, to show up and shoot Hugh Jackman’s Robert Angier in the gut. First, there’s that twin reveal. And then there’s Jackman’s death, where he looks his rival in the eye and continues to spit venom with his final moments of life. And finally, there’s Jackman’s devastation over his signature trick, where he uses science fiction human replication created by Nikola Tesla to create a copy of himself. Is he even the real Angier? Or is he a copy of copy of a copy, a shell of his former self? There’s so much to take in, so much plot to absorb, so many odd and bitter pills to swallow…and Bale and Jackman sell it, keeping the movie grounded even as it teeters on the edge of the deep end. (Jacob Hall)

hugh jackman scoop

The Attempted Murder in Scoop (2011)

Hugh Jackman can play the nice guy. There’s no question about that. He can also play a pretty good villain and he deserves more credit for that. Jackman has stretched himself enough as an actor to never get typecast, but he still has the image of the nicest movie star walking planet earth. So it’s nice to see that twisted on the big screen now and then. Woody Allen used that image to his advantage with Scoop, casting Jackman as a cold-hearted murderer with an awfully good smile.

Jackman is funny as a romantic leading man in Scoop, but he’s even funnier when the character is revealed as the killer. He turns Allen’s low-key jokes into big laughs, like when he talks about his relationship with Scarlett Johansson’s character coming full circle before nonchalantly adding that he’s going to kill. There’s no passion or anger in his voice – Jackman’s unwavering tone is hilarious. He makes this pretty good Woody Allen movie more memorable and it’s not the first time or last time his performance has elevated a movie. (Jack Giroux)

“Who Am I?” in Les Miserables (2012)

Les Miserables is a weak adaptation of a great play, a botched opportunity and one of the most disappointing prestige films of the past decade. But no one tell Hugh Jackman, whose performance as Jean Valjean transcends the movie around him. Singing “live” (rather than performing to a pre-recorded track), Jackman is breathless and improvisatory, choosing to speak key lyrics and sing others. The emphasis is more on performance than melody and the result is something that is remarkable when viewed in a bubble: a character breaking into song to express the depths of his despair and guilt rather than to entertain an audience. Does that fly against the purpose of a musical? Maybe? I’m not sure. Les Miserables isn’t good enough to make an argument for it. But Jackman’s Jean Valjean really is magnetic, especially when he’s wondering if he should turn himself in for his past crimes after an innocent man is accused in his stead.

Continue Reading The 15 Greatest Hugh Jackman Moments >>

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