Academy-Award winning screenwriter and Oscar-nominated actor-producer Matt Damon turns 50 today! On his birthday, we celebrate this actor from a humble background who continues to make us laugh, cry, and empathize with his portrayals of men with varying personalities. Here are 7 of his best performances:
The Bourne Series (2002-2016):
An amnesiac spy, a story that goes around the world, hidden motives, and a conspiracy that won’t stop unraveling. What more does a movie need to keep your eyes widened and your heart racing? Matt Damon. His portrayal of Jason Bourne through all four movies has never let down fans nor critics. He truly gave it his all, including learning boxing for six months, so he could walk like a boxer and another six months of learning martial arts compiled with hundreds of hours of gun training. Balancing a character who is highly trained in combat but also worried about the ambiguity of not just his future, but also his past is a rare feat to achieve, and yet, Matt Damon does it seamlessly.
Ford v Ferrari (2019):
Caroll Shelby was once asked what his favourite car was. He replied, “The next one.” Shelby was confident yet cautious, smug and witty, yet kind. Matt Damon made sure he inculcated these defining traits into his acting in addition to making the character his own. His brotherhood with Christian Bale’s character, Ken Miles, and the competitive energy like two magnets repelling each other with Ferrari is a treat to watch.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999):
A psychological thriller that begs the question, how far would you go to become someone else? It’s an obsolete question to ask an actor, however, it’s a relevant question to ask an actor playing a character who sinks deeper and deeper into the lies of his identity. Matt Damon made sure that you felt sorry for Mr. Ripley who only wished to live a luxurious life but had to kill everyone he ever loved and forego everything he knew to do so.
The Martian (2015):
It can be difficult to help the audience relate to an astronaut stuck in outer space, unaware of how he’ll make it back home. But, it’s not difficult for Damon. As you watch Matt Damon’s character, Mark Watney, realize he’s left behind in an alien land, you get the familiar feeling of being too far from home, left to your own devices, and struggling to not lose hope. You will find yourself dejected by the times his attempts to achieve communication fail and cheer on when you know he may make it home.
Sports can unite people. Perhaps, no story can say it better than the story of the South African team winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup in midst of racial tensions and injustices. On-screen, Morgan Freeman, who plays Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon, who plays Francoise Pienaar, the rugby team’s captain, perfectly represent the unconquerable faith the two have in the team, in each other, and in unity. Invictus’ story of competitive spirit, forgiveness, and faith won hearts and earned Matt Damon an Academy Award nomination.
Good Will Hunting (1997):
The 1997 drama that won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay is not just a story of an unrecognized genius discovering his potential. It’s a story of acceptance, redemption, and the transactional nature of human kindness between a stubborn man and his unorthodox therapist. Damon’s acting had audiences cry as they recalled the feeling of understanding your shortcomings and letting go of comfortable stability for growth. Even after two decades, Good Will Hunting is a classic, fan favourite.
Ocean’s 11 (2001):
If you’re ever in the mood for laughs coupled with an exciting glee for what’s to come, watch Ocean’s 11. The classic heist movie with its ensemble cast of Damon along with the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt was an instant success for itself and its sequels to come. Watching Damon’s character Linus Caldwell, the young and talented pickpocket is a great way to begin your Matt Damon Marathon for the actor’s birthday.
Filmfare Middle East wishes Matt Damon a very happy birthday!
(Contributed by Sakshi Prabhu)