Friday, January 28, 2022

Beyond Peter Parker: Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield is certainly no stranger to enchanting audiences onscreen, as his movie and television career now spans 15-years. Garfield is most recognized for wearing the famed Spider-Man suit in three separate films, most recently in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where he surprised audiences with his return. Garfield’s career, however, is full of emotionally moving performances and a strong screen and stage presence that have awarded him with an ever-growing list of award nominations and wins.

To celebrate the adoration Garfield has been receiving recently; we wanted to explore some of the brilliant performances he has given outside of Peter Parker.

tick, tick…BOOM!

Netflix

Garfield has received increasing attention in the last couple of months since tick, tick…BOOM! premiere on Netflix on November 12, 2021, due to his performance as the late Rent creator Jonathan Larson. Audiences and critics alike seem to agree that Garfield not only delivered an impressive performance in his first musical, but that he was able to embody Larson in such a beautiful and impactful way. Garfield delivered an emotionally moving performance consistent with his history in the industry, and clearly awards season is off to a great start in proving that.

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As I mentioned, tick, tick…BOOM! marks Garfield’s first musical theatre performance, and in my opinion, proves the dedication that Garfield puts into his career and every single one of his projects. Although clear from his performance that Garfield possessed a previously undiscovered innate ability for musical theatre, Garfield worked extensively with famed vocal coach Liz Caplan and took piano lessons to prepare for the role. His sheer dedication to the role resulted in an amazing and moving performance which has already awarded him with his first Golden Globe Award.

Hacksaw Ridge

Summit Entertainment

Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of an American soldier from Virginia, Desmond Doss, during the Second World War who served during the Battle of Okinawa. Doss became the first soldier in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a single shot for saving 75 men at the battle. Garfield stars as Doss in the movie directed by Mel Gibson, and every single moment he is on the screen is a true gift.

While watching this movie it is clear that Garfield gave everything he had to his role as Doss. Garfield consistently pays his respect to the real-life people he portrays, and his portrayal of Doss is no different than any of his other real-life roles. Garfield is charming and delightful as Doss straight away and wins audiences over as he navigates young adulthood, finds his beloved wife, and ultimately enlists in the Army. Doss’ resolve never wavered when it came to his religious and moral beliefs, and Garfield is able to show this on-screen beautifully. Garfield shows the struggle Doss faced both internally and from his peers throughout the film in a way that truly honors Desmond Doss and immortalizes the heroic actions taken on the ridge.

The Social Network

Columbia Pictures

The Social Network has maintained a strong and positive reputation since its initial release in 2010 and is commonly cited as one of the best films of the decade. The film is a biographical drama film about the founding of social media giant Facebook and the resulting lawsuits. The Social Network was adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires and stars Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in addition to Garfield. The movie has been able to keep hold of audiences and its positive reputation due to incredible performances from the cast, a memorable and relevant screenplay, and its continued real-world implications.

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Garfield’s performance during the famed “lawyer up” scene is one that is regularly brought up to this day in interviews and across the internet. In the climactic scene, Garfield’s character Eduardo Savarin visits the Facebook office in California, where he learns he’s being pushed out of the company he helped create. He immediately confronts Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) and Sean Parker (Timberlake) in front of the rest of the company, resulting in a smashed laptop before delivering some of The Social Network‘s most memorable lines.

Mainstream

American Zoetrope

If you’ve ever wanted to see Garfield in the role of a douchey influencer, Mainstream is the movie for you. Mainstream follows the story of a struggling young filmmaker Frankie (Maya Hawke) in West Hollywood who finally achieves success after meeting the eccentric Link (Garfield) – a strange and outspoken man living off the grid. Link and Frankie end up in an odd love triangle with Frankie’s co-worker Jake (Nat Wolff) while the three try to navigate internet-stardom and preserve their identities during the fast-moving internet age.

Mainstream is definitely supposed to be a cautionary tale, warning audiences what can happen and what they will have to deal with should they decide to pursue viral fame. The movie seeks to open eyes to the cruelty of certain internet stars, and once Mainstream establishes that purpose it is immensely enjoyable and introspective. The satirical movie takes a while to get to that point, but once it’s there you will be left asking yourself many questions (some you probably don’t want to even ask) about the internet age we are currently experiencing.

Breathe

BBC Films

After contracting polio at the young age of 28, Robin Cavendish is confined to bed and given only months to live. However, with the help of his wife Diana and her twin brothers, and the unbelievable ideas of inventor Teddy Hall, Cavendish emerges from the hospital despite his paralysis and devotes his life to helping fellow patients and the disabled. In yet another real-life inspired story, Garfield stars as Robin Cavendish in Breathe, which marks the directorial debut for Andy Serkis.

Garfield’s performance, as expected, is emotional and at times eerily accurate in the ways he is able to portray a man with polio trying to master the art of living in the world with his new condition. The story is beautiful to watch as audiences watch Robin overcome adversity and refuse to give up even when the odds are not in his favor, yet the film manages to not be too emotionally heavy.

Silence

Paramount Pictures

Set in the 17th century, Silence follows two Portuguese priests on their journey to Japan to track down their mentor, who has allegedly committed apostasy and to propagate Catholicism. Silence is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by  Shūsaku Endō. In the time period, the film is set in, the Tokugawa shogunate has banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact, so naturally, the priests are not welcome in the country. The film reflects on the state of an individual when they are crying out/praying for help only to be met with crumbling emptiness when no answers are given to them.

This film was a passion project for Scorsese and ultimately released in 2016 after over two decades of planning and executing. The passion Scorsese felt while making the project is certainly projected onto the screen, and Garfield was naturally a good choice for his role due to the passion he brings forth in everything he does. The movie is somber and quiet, yet deafening with the questions it will raise: questions about faith, selfishness, and pride all come to mind but are ultimately unanswered.

Up Next

Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven is an upcoming crime drama miniseries based on the non-fiction (more real-life based work for Garfield) novel of the same name by Jon Krakauer. In the series, the faith of a Mormon police detective is shaken while investigating the murder of a woman that seems to involve the Church and one of Utah’s most esteemed families. Garfield will star as Pyre, the detective, alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sam Worthington, and Wyatt Russell. Under the Banner of Heaven is under production from FX and was originally planned as a movie but changed to a miniseries to have more storytelling room.

Brideshead Revisited

First published in 1945, Evelyn Waugh’s beloved novel Brideshead Revisited follows Oxford undergraduate Charles Ryder and his complicated friendship with the wealthy Flyte family. The book was adapted into an acclaimed series by Granada Television in 1981, which starred Jeremy Irons, and is now getting remade by the BBC. Brideshead Revisited explores some heavy themes, which can be expected of any work Garfield is attached to at this point in his career, most notably being dated class-system nostalgia, Catholicism, and homosexuality. Call Me By Your Name director Luca Gaudagnino is adapting the series for BBC.

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