The Best Adam Driver Movies You May Have Missed – Collider.com Leave a comment

The always-entertaining actor has played a number of memorable characters in films that were criminally underseen.
Within the past decade, Adam Driver quickly transformed from the scene-stealer on HBO’s Girls to the actor Martin Scorsese himself once cited as the best of the generation. He’s not the only great filmmaker who has taken notice of Driver’s exciting screen presence. Driver is frequently called upon by the best in the industry, and shows a dynamic versatility in the roles he selects. Adept at bth comedic and dramatic parts, Driver’s projects range from micro-budgeted indies to some of the highest grossing films ever made.
Driver is having another exciting year in 2021, and could land himself in the middle of the awards race once more thanks to a duo of collaborations with Ridley Scott. Driver shed his affable inherent charisma to play the detestable Jacques Le Gris in The Last Duel, and he’ll next be seen as Maurizio Gucci, the wealthy heir to the iconic fashion empire in House of Gucci.
Driver is a two time Academy-Award nominee and known to an entire generation as Kylo Ren, but some of his best work isn’t as well-known. Make sure to check out these seven Adam Driver movies you may have missed.
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Driver would go on to receive some of the best reviews of his career for Marriage Story, but his relationship with idiosyncratic writer/director Noah Baumbach is longstanding. Baumbach first cast him alongside Greta Gerwig in her breakout vehicle Frances Ha, and Driver took on a more prominent role in Baumbach’s next feature While We’re Young. Driver and Amanda Seyfried star as Jamie and Darby Massey, an upbeat, forward thinking younger couple that form an unusual bond with their middle-aged neighbors Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) Srebnick.
In an amusing study of generational differences, the dull older pair begins to adopt the traits of their younger companions before realizing that youthful ignorance has its downsides. Jamie also proves to be more nefarious than his open-hearted nature would suggest; a successful documentary filmmaker, he reveals himself to be more interested in sensationalism than accuracy. Jamie’s deceits are gutting, but Driver doesn’t turn him into a monster; even Josh reflects that “he’s not evil, just young.”
If there’s a talented ensemble to breathe life into the material, a formulaic family dramedy that hits all the right notes can feel like a breath of fresh air. That’s exactly the case with Shawn Levy’s criminally underseen This Is Where I Leave You. The film follows adult siblings Judd (Jason Bateman), Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll), and Phillip (Driver) as they return to their hometown after their father’s unexpected passing.
There’s not a note in This Is Where I Leave You that hasn’t been seen in countless other family dramedies, but the eclectic ensemble crafts an earnest, heartwarming intimacy to the sibling sparring. Phillip is undeniably the scene-stealer, arriving late to his father’s burial in a sports car and getting his siblings high during an emotional church service. It was a more outwardly goofy role than Driver had ever attempted previously, yet Phillip’s wacky antics don’t dilute the more dramatic moments of the story.
Jim Jarmusch’s minimalistic, seemingly aimless storylines might not be for everyone, but those interested in a more heartwarming tale from the idiosyncratic auteur might want to check out Paterson. Jarmusch typically explores the everyday reality of his characters’ lives, and the characters in Paterson are well worth spending time with. Driver stars as a bus driver in the city of the same name who writes poetry during his long working days.
Paterson isn’t ambitious and rarely shares his work with anyone other than his wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and their dog, Marvin. He enjoys listening more than talking, and observes the conversations of the daily commuters he transports. Paterson simply spends a week in its characters’ lives, and Driver’s routines are charming in their humble earnestness.
Driver got the chance to work alongside the director who praised him in a passion project that took Scorsese decades to bring to the screen. Andrew Garfield gives the performance of his career as Sebastião Rodrigues, a 17th Century Jesuit priest who travels to Japan alongside his companion Francisco Garupe (Driver). They search for their lost mentor, Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), but the mission is highly dangerous due to the persecution of Christians under the strict feudal regime.
The crisis of faith at the center of Silence is Garfield’s story, but Driver’s performance is critical to supporting and later isolating his character. Rodrigues and Garupe are equally committed to their search, but they’re shocked with the brutality they encounter watching the brutal torture of Japanese Christians. Garupe provides a reasoned nobility that grounds Rodrigues into a plan of action, and his shocking exit is absolutely devastating.
Steven Soderbergh referred to Logan Lucky, the spiritual sequel to his iconic heist trilogy Ocean's Eleven, as “Ocean’s 7-11," and the unofficial title is more than appropriate. The film offers a fresh perspective on the caper adventure. It follows the recently unemployed West Virginian construction worker Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), who struggles to take care of his young daughter and siblings Millie (Riley Keough) and Clyde (Driver). Jimmy realizes his knowledge of the tunnels below Charlotte Motor Speedway could allow them to stage a robbery during a major race, and recruits the idiosyncratic conman Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) to help his family pull off the job.
The Logans aren't motivated by greed, but desperation, and Driver in particular is very sympathetic. A veteran of Iraq who lost his arm in combat, Clyde is unable to find regular work and faces cruel insults on a daily basis. Driver served in the U.S. military before launching his acting career and treats Clyde’s experiences respectfully. However, he also epitomizes the comic bluntness that makes Logan Lucky so consistently hilarious.
Scott Z. Burns’s examination of the C.I.A.’s torture program is stagelike in its meticolous attention to detail. While it contains hallmarks of 1970s anxiety-inducing classics like The Parallax View or Three Days of the Condor, The Report doesn’t sensationalize its events and centers entirely on the assembly of facts and critical conversations that follow. Driver stars as Senate staffer Daniel Jones, who investigates post-9/11 practices and compiles a detailed 6,700-page report for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
There’s a specificity to the dialogue that could easily ring false if not delivered properly, yet Driver is at ease with the technical material. Jones isn't particularly expressive, but behind each revelation and confidential source meeting is his unflinching commitment to holding his government responsible. The emotional impact of The Report comes from the titular study itself more than any one person, but Driver characterizes the bravery of a man who comes under fire simply for asking questions.
Driver delivered one of the performances of his career in Leos Carax’s wild musical Annette. Featuring the music of Sparks, Annette follows the tragic romance between chauvinistic stand up comedian Henry McHenry (Driver) and soprano opera singer Ann Defrasnoux (Marion Cotillard) as they prepare for the birth of a child. Anyone familiar with Carax’s style knows things only get weirder from there.
Driver is a terrific singer, but he’s also giving an eccentric character performance amidst the musical numbers. Henry is pompous and self-obsessed, and Driver captures the mix of arrogance and ignorance that make Henry divorced from reality. Henry’s parental anxieties are well captured, and Driver leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether or not they’re also sympathetic.
KEEP READING: Why the Underseen 'Paterson' Is Adam Driver's Best Performance So Far
Nothing better than choosing between two great opportunities!
Liam Gaughan is a film and TV writer at Collider. He has been writing film reviews and news coverage for eight years with bylines at Dallas Observer, About.com, Taste of Cinema, Dallas Morning News, Schmoes Know, Rebel Scum, and Central Track. He aims to get his spec scripts produced and currently writes short films and stage plays. He lives in McKinney, TX.

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