Few actors have had stranger, more polarizing careers than Ben Affleck. After bursting onto the scene with a genuinely great movie, his career meandered through action movies, sports movies, and a wide array of other genres. What unifies Affleck’s best work onscreen, though, is its ability to take advantage of his unique combination of good looks and smarm. Sometimes, Affleck finds great ways to direct himself, and other times, he gives himself over to someone else’s vision. What unites each of these movies, though, is that Affleck is excellent in them.
Without further ado, here’s our list of the best Ben Affleck movies.
Possibly the most personal movie that Affleck has ever starred in, The Way Back is a deeply emotional film about a former high school basketball star who returns to that school as the film’s coach. Although the movie follows a few conventional sports movie beats, it’s much more interested in exploring the story of Affleck’s character’s alcoholism and the ways it ripples through the rest of his life. Affleck is genuinely wonderful in the film, which is refreshingly unusual in spite of its many familiar trappings.
The movie that launched by Affleck and Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting is much more focused on Damon’s star power than it is on Affleck’s. Even so, Affleck plays such an emotionally intelligent, supportive friend that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. Affleck’s character even gets closer near the end of the movie when he realizes that his friend, an actual genius, has finally left his small life behind and is moving on to bigger and better things. It’s a bittersweet moment, and one that Affleck captures absolutely perfectly.
No movie harnesses Affleck’s energy more perfectly than Gone Girl, which takes advantage of the darkness that seems to be lurking behind so many of his most well-known characters. Affleck plays Nick, a man who becomes the lead suspect in his wife’s sudden disappearance. The twists and turns of Gone Girl are best left unspoiled, but Affleck is perfect as the midwestern everyman who may or may not have just murdered his wife. The fact that you root for Nick even while kind of hating him is part of the movie’s brilliance, and part of the reason it deserves this top spot.
If you’re looking for more great movies, we’ve also got lists of the best Brad Pitt movies, the best George Clooney Movies, and the best Jake Gyllenhaal movies.
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